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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico community gathers to mourn victims in Israel

Milca Elvira Chacon
Members of the Chico Jewish community gather on Tuesday night at the Chico State Hillel in solidarity.

On Tuesday, a candlelight vigil was held at Chico State’s Jewish Student Union, Hillel, in observance of the tragic Israel-Hamas war.

Outside on the patio, attendees formed a large circle. Candles and tealights were distributed and glowed solemnly in the dusk light.

Gil Klein-Cohen, Chico State Hillel’s President, led the crowd in two prayers: one in Hebrew and one in English. After this, Klein-Cohen shared some thoughtful words of consolation, grievance and hope. The floor was then opened up to anybody who wanted to share

Many people spoke about how these tragic events have affected them, their families and their community. Some in attendance had very personal connections to those in Israel, including loved ones currently in danger of violence.

Student Seth Trachtman shared his experience after going on his Birthright trip during the summer with other students. Trachtman formed a close bond with Israeli soldiers that accompanied them on the trip and has kept in contact with them. 

“They’ve been able to fill me in on what’s going on with them and it’s really heart-wrenching to hear their sides of it,” said Trachtman.

Though not everyone had a personal connection to the tragedies unfolding or were of Jewish faith. Several attendees showed up because they empathized and wanted to show support during this time.

“I’m Christian, but Jews and Christians are all family to me. What happens to you happens to me. What matters is we are all human, we all deserve love and safety, and God blesses all of us,” said student Trinity Saucer.

Several people shared their thoughts in the circle, followed by periods of pensive silence while the candles flickered.

“Don’t let this keep you from living your life. Find ways to spread joy, spread love and be happy. By doing this we don’t let them win,” Trachtman said. 

As the wind picked up, several of the candles blew out. Attendees were steadfast to relight their neighbors’ flame.

As the vigil ended, several attendees stuck around and embraced. “Chico has a really strong Jewish community and it was great to see them show up tonight and be together,” Klein-Cohen said.

Trachtman also emphasized the importance of awareness. “Just educate yourself. Don’t be ignorant. It’s not about Israel versus Palestine,” said Trachtman.

Student Ruth Amar shared the importance of unity in these times. “Support everyone in your community because this isn’t just about, like, Jewish people or the people of Israel. It’s affecting so many other people around us and even in our own communities all around the world,” Amar said.

In response to the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, Chico State President Stephen Perez sent out an email acknowledging those affected, offering support and calling for compassion.

Students who are struggling with mental health can call the WellCat Counseling Center crisis hotline 1-855-530-6802.


Kit Beauchamp and Milca Elvira Chacon can be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributors
Kit Beauchamp, Reporter
Kit Beauchamp is a Communications Major at Chico State University. Originally from Fairfax, CA, he transferred to Chico from Santa Barbara City College following the Covid-19 pandemic. Kit has always been interested in writing and journalism, and this is his first semester writing for The Orion. He hopes to use his platform to give voice to all facets of the student body, shed light on interesting and relevant topics, and present the unbiased truth. In his spare time, Kit enjoys music, fried foods, run-on sentences and looking at colorful birds.    
Milca Elvira Chacon is a journalism major with a minor in Broadcasting. She was a contributor for The Orion last semester, but is now officially working for the student-led newspaper. She hopes to strengthen her writing skills and contribute to stories that will positively impact the community. Outside of journalism, she enjoys hanging out with her friends and working out.

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