Our Jewish Family is Mourning

On Shabbat/Simchat Torah, the largest number of Jews were slaughtered in one day since the Shoah.

Over 100 young children, teens, and people of all ages are hostages in Gaza.

Israel is now at war.

These are horrifying realities, and we are bracing for the days and weeks to come.

Yesterday over 400 gathered in person at Mount Zion and online to hear Shai Avny speak personally about his friend who was killed by Hamas and what his family is experiencing in the south of Israel. We sang and prayed and supported parents whose children live in Israel and all who have relatives and friends there. In truth, we all have family there.

There are many momentous challenges that Israel is facing internally and many ways to parse why this moment happened. We have and will openly engage in these conversations based on our shared values. This is a time to stand with family and put disagreements aside. And to make sure that we distinguish between Hamas terrorists and the Palestinians. Too many Palestinians will be victims in the days to come as well.

Four things to do:

  1. Follow updates about what is happening on www.timesofisrael.com.
  2. Engage, don’t disengage, with friends and colleagues who post or speak views different from yours. Assume they are not seeing the same news that you are. Ask questions first. Listen. Support what you agree with. Ask if you can share some other realities. Share this picture of a mother and children who are being held hostage right now in Gaza among the 100 others.
  3. Attend the Minnesota Community Gathering in Solidarity with Israel tomorrow at 6 pm at Beth El.
  4. Support Israel’s Red Cross called “Magen David Adom” or our community Israel Emergency Fund.

Finally, please take care of yourselves. Come to services for comfort or whatever way works for you. I have been listening to Josh Warshawsky’s rendition of a verse from Psalm 59.

B’virkat shalom, with blessings of shalom,

Adam Stock Spilker, Rabbi