Trafalgar Square Vigil: Together in Grief

Published 21 July 2005
with kids and young people at trafalgar square Rally for Israel Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks speech

On Thursday evening 21st July 2005, Rabbi Sacks spoke these words at the vigil held at Trafalgar Square in support of Israel, one week after suicide bombers launched their deadly attacks.


Of the 6000 languages spoken today, only one is universal. The language of tears. Grief knows no boundaries of race or creed or country or class. And grief is what we share today:

For the lives cut short,

For the families bereaved,

For the injuries, physical and psychological, that may last a lifetime.

Within the Jewish community we mourn the loss of Miriam Hyman, Susan Levy, and Anat Rosenberg.

But the victims came from so many faiths, so many communities,

And grief has turned us one community.

Let that grief unite us now.

We stand together here in the heart of London. And that too has a message for us and the world.

London is one of the capital cities on the map of courage.

It had that courage in the Blitz.

It had that courage during the attacks of the IRA.

It had the courage to grieve while staying calm.

It had the courage not to give terror the victory of making us angry, and in our anger lose the values that make us what we are.

Let that courage unite us now.

And yes, London is the home to many races, many religions,

Many cultures, many ethnicities.

Did that impoverish us?

No, it enriched us.

I believe that because every culture is different, every culture has something unique to contribute to the life of this city and this nation.

I believe in the blessing of diversity; in the dignity of difference.

Let that dignity unite us now.

But friends, this violence cannot continue.

No cause in the world – not political, not religious – can ever justify murdering the innocent or targeting the uninvolved.

You cannot get to heaven by creating hell on earth.

Let all of us – Christian and Jew, Muslim and Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist, atheist and agnostic – join hands and proclaim that if anything is sacred, human life is sacred.

Therefore we say: No to terror, whoever it is committed by, whoever it is committed against.

And because terror seeks to divide us, we defeat it by refusing to be divided.

We stand together in grief. Together in faith. May that grief, that faith, unite us now.