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Stand with Israel

This has been a difficult few weeks.  I am deeply pained by what is happening in Israel and with people who are friends and relatives, and those who I don’t know but love simply because they are part of the Jewish people and/or are living in Israel.  

Over my career, I have been critical of decisions made by Israel’s government, but let me be 100% clear: when Hamas murders or captures Jews, they do not ask for their political views, religious views, gender, or age.   In this time of conflict, there is no light between the Jewish people who are standing together and being forced, once again, to defend our right to exist.  Political and policy debates will wait until later.

During my visit to Israel in mid-November, I saw the unbelievable horror of what had been perpetrated on the country and its citizens.  I also saw the resilience, strength, and love that the people of Israel demonstrated.  There is a clarity of mission: Dismantle Hamas and return the hostages.  We stand with Israel in those objectives.

There have been many times when I have taught about Judaism’s love for life.  When I think about the thousands of posters, demonstrations, and art installations throughout Israel calling for the return of the hostages, never has there been such a stark distinction to a love of death displayed by radical Islamists. To celebrate the cold-blooded murder of innocents is despicable and reprehensible. The actions of Hamas and their Iranian supporters represent the depths of evil and barbarity. 

In this moment and always, we support the State of Israel to do what it must to defend its citizenry. 

At this moment, Israeli Jews — not just our family, friends, and those who agree with our religious views or politics — need our support, love, and kindness. 

How might we show that love and kindness? 

GIVE TZEDAKAH: I am sure that many of you have seen the lists of items that are being circulated.  In times of crisis, we have a reflexive need to provide that kind of tangible help.  The wonderful thing about Israel is that it has the bedding and toiletries for those who had to be evacuated.  We do not need to send things that Israel manufactures and that would only bog down the airports and people who are needed to facilitate the transfer of very specific needs.

Organizations on the ground in Israel need the FINANCIAL RESOURCES to provide in greater amounts what they are already doing.  I have curated a list of organizations that are accepting financial donations. This is not an exhaustive list; if you know and trust other organizations, I encourage you to give to them.  The organization names are clickable links to their websites where you can donate.  

Greater Miami Jewish Federation Israel Emergency Fund: In conjunction with Jewish Federations of North American, providing wide reaching support through organizations in Israel

Jewish National Fund Israel Resilience Fund: Resources to support evacuation of communities, care packages, firefighting and protective equipment, and psychological treatment

World Union for Progressive Judaism: Our Reform movement in Israel which is providing housing and activities for families who needed to be evacuated from the south.

United Hatzalah: providing emergency medical services and equipment for first responders

NATAL: Israel’s Trauma and Resiliency Center: Offers support to: IDF veterans experiencing emotional and mental distress, families trying to locate loved ones, and parents seeking advice on how to mediate the situation for their children.

Givat Haviva International School: A school of 150 students (50 Israeli Jewish, 50 Israeli Arab, 50 International) who are trying to create a shared society.  My friend Nurit Gery founded the school.  More than ever, we need opportunities to build bridges for the future.

American Friends of Magen David Adom - Israel's "Red Cross"

TWO ADDITIONAL LINKS:

LINK TO PRAYER FOR WELFARE OF SOLDIERS OF ISRAEL DEFENSE FORCES

LINK TO ISRAEL’S NATIONAL ANTHEM: HATIKVAH

As always, the clergy and the staff are available for you to process what is happening and answer whatever questions we can.  

Sha’alu Shalom Yerushalayim - Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem and for the Entire Land and People of Israel,

Rabbi Alan Litwak

Tue, May 21 2024 13 Iyar 5784