Sunday, October 8, 2023 | 24th of Tishrei, 5784
At shul this weekend, we read the words of encouragement spoken to Joshua as he faced a harrowing time when crossing over the River Jordan, facing hostile elements in Israel: Chazak v’Ematz, be strong and have courage. At the same time, reports were trickling in of the atrocities being committed by Hamas in Israel, slaughtering innocent civilians, police and military members, kidnapping young and old, murdering hundreds of attendees at a festival, indiscriminately bombing villages and towns, rampaging through streets and homes, all with a brutality never seen before in modern Israel.
Women’s League for Conservative Judaism condemns these attacks and has signed on to statements from other Jewish organizations expressing sorrow and solidarity. None of those statements can mitigate the utter horror of the acts of Hamas. But in this unprecedented time of attack on the Jewish state and its people, it is important not only to show unity and support, but to let our brothers, sisters, cousins, sons, daughters, and grandchildren in Israel know how much we love them and how this tragedy breaks our hearts. We see these hateful, inhumane acts in the Holy Land against our own and our blood boils with outrage, as tears come streaming from our eyes.
But this is not only a time to express sorrow and solidarity; it is a time to be strong and have courage. It is a time to show support for the State of Israel and its people in every way possible. It is a time to donate (to organizations such as Magen David Adom, JNF, or Friends of the IDF), a time to insist that our elected leaders follow through on their words of support, a time to insist that countries around the word call out Hamas for their war crimes, and a time to reach out to family and friends in Israel to show your concern, your love and support. Our theme for this year is Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh BaZeh, all of Israel is responsible for one another. It is a time not only to stand with Israel in words, but to be side-by-side with Israel as sisters, and to do all we can to support it.
As we read this past holiday, there is a time for peace and a time for war. Sadly, Hamas has made this a time for war. We hope that the threat of Hamas will be destroyed, and that a time for peace can return. We mourn for the Israelis and visitors killed by Hamas in this brutal attack, and we earnestly pray for the recovery of the injured and for the safety and swift release of those who have been kidnapped.
At this fraught time, we want to mention our Women’s League Mothers of Olim, a support group of mothers, aunts and grandmothers who have family in Israel. If you have family in Israel, please connect to that support group which is actively monitoring the situation in Israel very closely at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tomorrow at 1:30 PM ET, Masorti and MERCAZ Olami will hold a briefing with IDF Major General (res.) Noam Tibon, to better understand the current situation in Israel. You can register for that briefing by clicking here.
Click here to download a prayer to end this war written this morning by a member of a Masorti Kehillah.
Also, we already had scheduled an event for this Monday night (8:00 ET), “Torah Fund Stands with Israel,” featuring Yael Hshavit, Israel’s Consul for Cultural Affairs. She was planning to speak on the current dynamics in the Middle East. We hope she can brief us on the latest of the situation on the ground in Israel. Please click this link to RSVP.
Meanwhile, be strong and have courage, and step up to show your support for Israel. Am Yisrael Chai!
Rabbi Ellen S. Wolintz-Fields, Executive Director