הרפא לשבורי לב we recite each morning in Psalm 147, “God heals the broken hearted.” How very great, indeed, is the work that lies ahead for the Divine this Shabbat as we stand with shattered souls in the aftermath of Hamas’ catastrophic incursion into Israel last Saturday. Click here to read more.
Last Monday, I found myself painting pumpkins with my family upstate. That day, following a horrific Simchat Torah, we took our pre-planned family vacation that it didn’t make sense to cancel, both because we needed some family time and also because things would be just as terrible – arguably more so – when we returned two days later. Click here to read more.
My first visit to Israel was in December 2001 during the second intifada, just two months after September 11. I traveled with a small group of teens from our chapter of HaZamir, an international Jewish teen choir. At that time, we were the only American group touring Israel. We didn’t go to the shuk or Ben Yehuda Street for safety reasons. Instead, we traveled around the country meeting Israelis and giving concerts. Click here to read more.
Life post-10/7 feels like being surrounded by reflections of the horrors of that day. I find the terror almost inescapable. In a perfect world, I’d ration how much I see and yet, I also feel a responsibility to witness what happened in Israel. Click here to read more.
We were honored to welcome Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, during Shabbat morning services on 10/21/2023 who gave the sermon about the events of the past two weeks in Israel. Read his sermon here.
Rabbi Rafi Rank: Moral Courage and the Blessing of Abram the Hebrew, Times of Israel
Uri Cohen: Noah’s ark in New Haven, eJewish Philanthropy
Sending money is an essential and significant way of both expressing moral support and providing tangible aid at this time when it is so badly needed. While we often feel a strong urge in these moments to organize collection drives, what we hear from organizations on the ground is that money is more useful than supplies for logistical, security, and efficiency reasons. The Jewish Funders Network is updating and maintaining a list of trusted agencies and non-profits in the US and Israel. Organizations we particularly recommend are listed below. Many companies also will match employee donations to 501(c)3 organizations. We recommend checking with your company if they will match.
Urge Them to Speak Out Against Antisemitism
Reported and documented cases of antisemitism here in the US are on the rise, and it is even more important for our elected officials to take action. Click here for an AJC website and script to help contact members of Congress.
Insist They Release the Hostages
Take action now to urge the UN and Congress to demand that Hamas release the 239 hostages currently being held by Hamas in Gaza. Writing your members of Congress only takes 15 seconds through this online portal organized by AJC.
Ask For Continued Support
It is also essential that our community continues to contact elected officials more broadly to make sure that Israel is getting the support and resources it needs during this critical time:
Show your public support of Israel through lawn signs available for pick-up at the synagogue office. And grab a blue ribbon on Shabbat morning as TIC joins so many other organizations participating in the Blue Ribbons for Israel campaign. Post on social media using #BlueRibbonsforIsrael.
The World Zionist Organization recognizes the need to find temporary housing for families who overnight became refugees in their own country. If you have a vacant apartment, or if you know apartment owners from Israel or the Diaspora whose apartment is vacant in the coming months, please contact us or recommend that the apartment owners participate in this important project.
All of the project details and registration methods can be found here.
For parents and grandparents it can be difficult for us to find the correct words to talk to our children about times of crisis and war. The list of resources below will help give you the tools to speak to your children and grandchildren in an age appropriate manner.
Tips for Talking with Kids About the War in Israel – Midrash Manicures
How to Talk to Children About Israel Today – Jewish Education Project Webinar
Talking to Your Children About Israel in Times of Crisis – Jewish Education Project
Talking to Teens About Operation Iron Swords – Jewish Education Project
Resources for Talking About Israel with Children with Cognitive Disabilities – Matan via Jewish Disability Inclusion News
Facing Israel in Crisis: Talking with Our Grandchildren About Difficult times – Jewish Grandparents Network
Is Anyone Prepared for These Questions? – Hartman podcast series, Perfect Jewish Parents
Our college kids are under particular assault these days as campuses, increasingly, are becoming a hostile place for Jewish students. Click here for a letter sent by Rabbi Tucker to our young people. (Special thanks to Rabbi Michael Safra of B’nai Israel Congregation for allowing us to use many of his words in crafting this communication.)
In times of crisis, it is traditional to include passages from the Psalms and other special prayers in our personal and communal worship. In particular, individuals may wish to recite prayers for Israel, the IDF, and the redemption of captives — all of which are included in this packet. USCJ is also keeping a communal list of anyone affected by the war in Israel that we should keep in our joint thoughts and prayers. Feel free to add a name here.
The war in Israel is difficult for all, but especially children. To help boost morale during this time, we are collecting cards for Israeli children. Please support us by making cards, writing letters, or drawing pictures. Bring your cards to Temple Israel Center to be sent to Israel. For more information, please contact Benjamin at email@example.com.
TIC has an opportunity to help an Israeli family (two adults and four children under 10 years old) looking to come to the immediate White Plains area next week. We are looking for an apartment or home they can rent, ideally furnished, for one or two months. Please contact Jeremy Zucker with any questions or leads.
We are grateful that the hostage for whom we’ve been praying, Ditza Heiman, has been returned to her home. In the meantime, our hearts continue to break for those still in captivity and we add our collective prayers for their safe return. If you’d like to add additional prayer requests, please click here for suggested insertions.
We have designated a chair in our Milstein Sanctuary with a tallit draped over the chair, the Prayer for the Missing on the chair for people to recite, and the word “נעדרים” (missing) printed and posted on the chair.
As Cantor Rabbi Hillary Chorny expressed, “This ritual gives a visual to the pain of someone’s absence: We wish they could be here, eating with us, celebrating with us, reassuring us that they are ok.”
We add to this a reminder that until we can all come to synagogue together, to pray together, we are not ok.
In this time of pain and sorrow, may we continue to support and strengthen one another.