Letter to the Congregation: Helping and Praying for Israel

Dear Beloved Shomrei Community,

When we began Shabbat morning services, there were reports of 40 Israelis killed by Hamas; by the Torah service, the number had risen to 100. Today, there are estimates of over 800 Israelis dead, thousands more wounded, and at least 100 hostages – both soldiers and civilians, including children. Fifty years after the Yom Kippur War, more Jews were slaughtered in a single day than on any other single day since the Holocaust.

It is difficult to comprehend the scale of the devastation in Israel. Everyone I reached out to in Israel was directly impacted – they know someone who is injured, missing or killed, their loved ones are being called up to army service, they are housing those fleeing their homes in the South. Ehud’s wife, Rabbi Meirav Kallush is from a kibbutz in the South and several young people from her kibbutz are missing, presumed captured. My brother’s father-in-law went to synagogue in Jerusalem with a young soldier on leave for Simchat Torah; during services, his entire unit was murdered. My former neighbor sent a video of a soldier, in full combat gear, listening to his son’s bris over the phone, as he guards the Southern border.

Last night, I represented Shomrei at the community-wide solidarity rally sponsored by our Metrowest Federation. There were 2,000 people in attendance including elected officials and dozens of rabbis and cantors from area congregations. Dov Ben-Shimon, CEO of the Greater Metrowest Federation, spoke of the need to raise emergency funds to pay for funerals, relocation of evacuees, and trauma counseling. Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill spoke about the power of praying for peace, even as Israel prepares for war. All of us felt this palpable sense of connection as one Jewish People.

Here are some immediate suggestions for what we can do:

  1. Pray for Israel each and every day – A Prayer for Israel in this Time of War.
  2. Reach out to friends and family in Israel and Israelis here in Montclair.
  3. Donate emergency funds to our own Federation campaign or another cause.
  4. Stay informed. Read the news and join in live updates.
  5. Publicly show your Jewish pride and love for Israel.

And please reach out to me and other members of the Shomrei staff or leadership if you have suggestions about what we can do together as the Shomrei community. We are here to listen and support each other, and we invite you to reach out if you want to talk one on one or in a group. And here’s a resource for talking to kids of all ages about what’s happening in Israel.

Please join me in helping and praying for and helping our brothers and sisters in Israel in any way we can.

Rabbi Julie

Editor’s note: This message was originally emailed to the congregation on October 9th.

Rabbi Julie Roth

What do you think?