Dear B’ShERT family,
Since the news broke on Saturday morning, shortly before our Sh’mini Atzeret/Simchat Torah Festival Morning and Shabbat service, that a massive terrorist attack on Israel by Hamas had been launched from Gaza, I have been feeling horrified, helpless, and worried. I know that many of you have too.
This attack on Israel is unprecedented. On Simchat Torah/Sh’mini Atzeret and Shabbat, terrorists invaded kibbutzim and cities in the south of Israel, going from house to house slaughtering and kidnapping people of all genders and ages—from small children to elderly grandparents. In its suddenness and violence, many are comparing its impact on people in Israel to the impact of 9/11 on us.
I know that we have a range of opinions about Israel and its policies in our community—what our relationship as practitioners of Judaism in the US is or should be with Israel; what we think of the Israeli government and its various policies; where we stand on Zionism. I certainly have many criticisms of the Israeli government.
According to yesterday’s news, more than 700 hundred Israelis have been killed, hundreds kidnapped, and thousands wounded, and over 400 Palestinians have been killed. In this time of crisis, I urge us all to stand together with Israel against the attackers and put aside the differences among us for now, as we did in the US in the wake of 9/11.
Many in our community have relatives and loved ones in Israel, including active soldiers in the army and soldiers who have been called up in the reserves. We fear for the safety of all of these family members and loved ones, and we grieve for those whose lives have already been taken, or who are missing.
UJA-Federation has set up an emergency fund for Israel. If you choose, the donation link is here:
If you’d like to donate to a different organization, there are a number of suggestions here.
I’d like to offer an opportunity for us to gather for a vigil for Israel. Tonight, on Monday, October 9 at 7:00 pm, I invite you to join me in person in the B’ShERT sanctuary or on Zoom to sing, pray, and share our feelings about what is happening. Our strength lies in our community— let us strengthen each other.
Here is the Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 893 2324 4064
There is also a vigil co-hosted by URJ at Dag Hammarskjold Plaza (2nd Ave at 43rd St) on Tuesday at 5 pm. Information is here — note that for security reasons, no backpacks will be allowed into the event.
We are invited by our shaliach, Elad Bar-Ilan, to attend a webinar about the current crisis at noon tomorrow, Tuesday, October 10:
This zoom seminar will be led by renowned speaker Neil Lazarus from Awesome Seminars, and will delve deep into the complexities of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. This seminar promises to offer a unique and comprehensive understanding of the events unfolding in this volatile region.
In this seminar, you can expect to gain invaluable insights into the historical context, the current state of affairs, and the future implications of the Israel-Hamas conflict. Neil Lazarus will provide a balanced perspective that encourages critical thinking and fosters open dialogue.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 836 5388 8562
If you would like to talk privately, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me.
RabbiIsrael Rally Flyer