"She Should Know How Much We Care About Her” Fans Flock to Assembly Hall in Blue in Support of Yarden Garzon
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - A basketball season is full of emotions, but for Yarden Garzon, this season has been an emotional rollercoaster.
Garzon, a sophomore guard from Ra’anana, Israel, has spent the majority of her third semester at Indiana watching the news in terror as her home country is involved in a polarizing war with neighboring Hamas.
Being so far away from family and friends could lead someone like Garzon, an athlete of very few words, into a lonely place; however, the Jewish community at Indiana University has rallied around her from the beginning.
Garzon tallied 14 points on 6-12 shooting and 2-6 from beyond the arc, helping the Hoosiers’ 72-34 rout of the Stetson Hatters on Sunday afternoon. Still, the main story was the continuing support of the Israeli through the difficult times.
Today, roughly 5,500 miles away from the conflict, a large group of students and community members showed their support for Israel and, more importantly, Yarden Garzon. They sat together wearing blue shirts in the south end zone bleachers, cheering for Garzon at any point they could.
“It means the world to me,” said Garzon. “I’m so grateful for that.”
Rabbi Sue Silberberg, the Rabbi for IU Hillel, was the mastermind behind the idea after an idea from a parent of a student about potentially showing their support for Garzon with shirts.
“It’s dangerous when you say a good idea to me,” Silberberg laughed. “I was going to make it happen.”
Silberberg notes that having an ambassador to the Jewish community like Garzon has been essential for students who need help to show their support.
“A lot of times, people don’t know what to do or what to say,” said Silberberg. “Yarden being here and being so visible gives us a way to support and loudly say this is what we stand for.”
It wasn’t until she was the last one left on the bench during the pregame introductions that Garzon realized she was taking Mackenzie Holmes’ spot as the last to be announced by PA announcer Jeremy Gray. The 8,789 in Assembly Hall erupted when Garzon’s name was announced, and those in the blue shirts waved Israeli flags and held up “Shalosh Garzon” signs.
“Oh no,” Garzon chuckled when asked about being the last starter introduced. “I started to walk, but then I realized it was not me.”
There will be many ups and downs throughout the season for Yardon Garzon. Still, one thing that will remain constant is the support from the Jewish community at Indiana University.