Reflections on the current situation in Israel from Rabbi Chaya Rowen Baker, Dean of the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary

October 2023

Thank you so much for reaching out … The last 12 days have been overwhelming on every level. We are so deeply sad, and angry, and worried, and scared. The entire country is wounded. Everyone is mourning. Days are filled with funerals and shivas. Everyone is in a frenzy to help in any way that they can and it can be a lot… Whatsapp is exploding with requests for help and initiatives and educational and spiritual materials, and it’s hard to keep up.
My husband Etai was drafted 12 days ago and is on the Lebanese border, and my oldest daughter Adaya, who hasn’t been home since Yom Kippur, serves in a combat unit on the Egyptian border. For the first 10 days of the war her troop was stationed in the Gaza Envelope, guarding and combing the area for terrorists. Yesterday they were sent back to the Egyptian border which is a huge relief, but her wonderful boyfriend, Shmulik, is among the troops preparing for the land invasion. We are so worried for all three of them — it’s hard to focus on anything else. Whenever I get my mind off them and do something else, within minutes the thought of them being in constant danger pops back in and I can’t breathe.
We are crying all the time. Worried all the time. Busy and not getting much done. I’m trying to juggle managing the household by myself with work and kids and worry…and constantly with deep pain for the unimaginable horror story that unfolded during last week. We need your help telling our story, taking on the arena of public opinion, because we are using all our strength just to keep our heads above water in this awful flood. And we need your prayers for the safety of our soldiers and for a swift end to this nightmare with no more casualties.
Your thoughts and prayers and support are so so important. Thank you.
sent to Miriam Hearn, Adat Shalom Women’s League