I knew exactly what I wanted to share in this article weeks ago, but sadly that’ll have to be postponed. The topic we all need to talk about, to hear about, is Israel. The minutes, hours, and days since October 7—Shabbat, Simchat Torah in Israel—have been devastating. Just heartbreaking. Along with the nation of Israel, we have moved through shock, anger, deep sadness, mourning, mourning, and more mourning. And we’re now in a new phase, that of standing up for Israel as she defends herself against Hamas in Gaza.
As predicted, public opinion of Israel has shifted pretty quickly from support to criticism, starting with the false media reports about the rocket explosion on the grounds of a hospital. This is what we’ll be facing for the foreseeable future, and it’s maddening. It is also so very important that we not lose interest, that we lose track of what’s taking place and how it’s being reported.
Many of us attended Rabbi Fish’s talk last month—thank you again to our Social Action committee!—and are as attuned as ever to the need for an extra layer of security at Jewish institutions and functions.
The question of our moment is this: What is our role in supporting Israel as she responds to this horrific massacre? What can we do with our emotions, our energy, our love?
I’ve got a short list of suggestions:
- Lean in to our community. We are praying, processing, and discussing this every week, every day. Join the conversation and feel supported.
- Attend our Shabbat of Solidarity.
- Stay informed through multiple news sources—including Israeli news (ynet.co.il, Jpost.com, Haaretz.com, timesofisrael.com)
- Care for your mental well-being… and do your best to avoid pics and videos. They don’t help.
- Attend webinars, events, and classes focused on Israel (watch for my upcoming class on Israel, co-led by Rabbi Wiederhorn of TCS Westport!)
- Participate in a daily 20-minute Prayer For Israel online (12pm Eastern, 7pm Israel time). Register here for the link.
- And of course: Give money. The war costs a lot of money, and so does rebuilding thousands of lives destroyed and uprooted suddenly on October 7. If you have it, now’s the time to give it. And our Federation has the power and connections to get it to the right places.
Israel’s new tag line is yachad n’natze’ach, “together we will prevail”. They will, and so will we.
If you need support or know someone else who does, please reach out. We’ve got each other and together we will prevail.
Rabbi Ita Paskind