Memorialization of Oct. 7 Victims Takes Precedence at Study Session

The topic of how to best memorialize the victims of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel took precedence at the June 27 City Council Study Session. When the attacks first occurred, the council took immediate steps to recognize those who were murdered and kidnapped. A Shabbat table in front of City Hall was set with a place for each of the hostages and 1400 flags at Beverly Gardens Park commemorated the lives lost.

“Driving through here when we had all the flags was so emotional and heartwarming,” said resident Mary Rabinovich. “That’s why we need to do this. We need to make this a permanent thing, so people remember what happened and know that it’s just not acceptable.”

Her sentiment was echoed by many of the other residents in attendance at the Study Session, who agreed that a more permanent fixture was needed.

“As a long-time resident, I just want to voice my support for a vibrant and permanent memorial, one that will hopefully be ready by Oct. 7, 2025. I think that any sort of memorial will only enhance the feeling that we as Jewish people are indeed respected residents of the community,” said Shelley Azizi.

Various ideas for what this memorial could look like, both temporarily and permanently, were discussed. Short-term suggestions included reinstalling the flag display in Beverly Gardens Park or creating another temporary display. Permanent ideas included renaming or providing an honorary designation to a city street or creating a memorial near City Hall.

Mayor Lester Friedman noted that the City Council had received over 3,100 emails from residents expressing “overwhelming” support for these plans. One email was read that acknowledged budgetary constraints may be raised as an impediment but argued that the value of a memorial for the city’s residents far outweighs its monetary cost. Other residents agreed with this sentiment, with one suggesting that some of the implementations discussed, like placing flags in the park, are cost effective yet impactful ways to express support to the victims. These would provide a suitable short-term memorialization while a more long-term memorial could be funded through a combination of city allocation and community fundraising efforts.

Councilmembers then discussed forming an ad hoc committee to vet memorial ideas and move forward with implementation, which would be headed by Councilmember John Mirisch and Vice Mayor Sharona Nazarian.

During the Study Session, residents and councilmembers also discussed plans for holiday decorations and menorah lighting for 2024.

Teresa Revis, Associate Project Manager for the city of Beverly Hills, recommended restringing the warm white and blue LED lights so they can have a bigger impact for Hanukkah, at an estimated cost of around $85,000. She also mentioned that LED spheres for the canopy of 80 Ficus trees on South Beverly Drive will need to be purchased and installed, at an estimated cost of $250,000.

Councilmember Mary Wells expressed reservations about continuing the projection mapping display this winter, citing concerns about the high cost of $750,000 plus $115,000 for the associated power upgrade. She noted the unclear benefits given the budget deficit and suggested exploring alternative options that could provide better value. Wells also questioned whether the projection mapping would receive enough media attention for the city, given it will now in its third year.

Other attendees agreed with Wells’ reservations, with several remarking that they would rather the funds be allocated instead to creating a permanent memorial for the Oct. 7 victims.

One resident said, “I love the projection mapping, but I feel a little less festive this year, just because of everything that’s happened since Oct. 7. I would like to save the money and put it into a fund for the Oct. 7 permanent memorial instead—that’s three-quarters of a million dollars right there. I think we could tell our residents or have a sign that informs people that projection mapping this year is not taking place because the city has decided to use the money to develop a permanent memorial for the Oct. 7 victims instead.”

After some discussion, the Study Session concluded with construction updates for the D-Line Wilshire Subway Extension Project. Attendees were informed that construction is ongoing at both the Wilshire/La Cienega and Wilshire/Fairfax stations, and that the building of emergency exits has also commenced. Residents were assured that construction areas will be well lit, and discussions were underway on how to minimize the impact of the construction on local roads.

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