SWAMPSCOTT, MASS. (WHDH) - Nearly 900 people came together at Congregation Shirat Hayam in Swampscott Wednesday night to show support for Israel as the country’s war with Hamas rages on. 

The packed synagogue honored the memory of the thousands of lives lost in the violence, which continued Wednesday after Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel over the weekend. 

“There’s fear,” said Rabbi Michael Ragozin of Congregation Shirat Hayam. “There’s real sadness — tremendous empathy. There’s a feeling of, ‘If I were there, those would have been my kids.’”

The violence has hit close to home for Yael Magen, who grew up in Israel. 

Magen just learned her high school friend was among the first people pronounced dead in the attack on Saturday. 

“What went down there was a massacre,” Magen said. “It was a slaughter of people.”

“He and his wife actually saved their son,” Magen said of her friend. “They jumped on their son while the Hamas terrorists were shooting and their son was saved.”

The unknown whereabouts of other loved ones weighed just as heavy in Swampscott Wednesday where community members turned their pain into prayer. 

“My grandmother was a Holocaust survivor,” Magen said. “She went through Auschwitz and I cannot fathom, it is so hard to believe that my children, my family, my people have just gone through the worst day since the Holocaust.” 

“We have not lost so many Jews in one day since the Holocaust,” Magen continued.

Some advocated turning anger into action. 

Those who spoke said this is a pivotal day in Jewish history. They said they were grateful to see so many people show up at Wednesday’s event but said they want people to continue showing up.

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