FROM RABBI BAYAR:
By now we are all familiar with the events unfolding in Israel. It is vital that we all stay informed concerning the situation as the dynamic in the Middle East is fluid and changing hourly.
This afternoon Rabbi Mendel Solomon and I gave a “Lunch and Learn” in Springfield. Representing two different sides of the Jewish spectrum, we spoke about “Issues that Unite Us and Issues that Divide Us.” We started off the learning with a prayer for the State of Israel and both spoke about how important it is for us to look at what brings us together — that is where the strength of the Jewish community lies.
It is clear that one issue that unites us as a community is our concern for Israel. We must stand together and show this support – it is vital to the health of our community and of the Jewish people. As the only democracy in this part of the world, Israel also is the only consistent American ally.
We are currently aware of CBI teens on summer tours in Israel as well as members of congregant families living in Israel. We want to be sure we identify and communicate with all member families who have children or relatives in Israel. If you know of anyone, please let us know by phone or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
No matter what your political orientation, please support some organization that is trying to alleviate the suffering of families and children. The Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ has opened an Israel Emergency Campaign to provide tangible assistance to our brothers and sisters in Israel — 100 percent of proceeds from emergency fundraising go directly to relief efforts. You can find more information here: www.jfedgmw.org.
In addition, below is a link to Tzvika Lev’s Lone Soldier website. He provides support for IDF soldiers who have no support system — and are truly alone. If you do not already have a cause to support, please consider helping them. This is only one of many worthy organizations working at this time to alleviate the crisis.
In the coming days, the CBI Israel Affairs Committee will be passing along additional information.
Here’s what’s been happening, courtesy of Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ:
- More than 3.5 million Israeli citizens, 45 percent of the Israeli population, are under Hamas rockets’ fire range.
- In the last three weeks, hundreds of rockets have been fired over the Israeli population. More than 100 of them were in the last 24 hours.
- Once again, the residents of southern cities such as Sderot, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Be’er Sheva, and our partner communities throughout Israel have returned to the bomb shelters. Locations further north, including Jerusalem, have also been affected.
- Missiles fired at Tel Aviv and other targets have been stopped by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system.
- Israel cannot tolerate a situation in which millions of its citizens are forced to live under a barrage of missiles.
- The main objective of the operation is to restore stability and quiet to the residents of Israel.
- Israel’s actions are measured and directed at the missile launchers and the Hamas and related terror infrastructure.
- In the coming days, many will criticize Israel’s actions while glossing over the necessity for them. As we pray for the safety of the Israel Defense Forces and innocent civilians on both sides of this conflict, we must not be silent. We must know our facts and speak out in Israel’s defense. Israel must not be condemned for doing what any responsible government would do to protect its citizens from terror.
Our well wishes and prayers go to all those in harm’s way — may they come through this crisis safe and may we all become closer through this experience.
Rabbi Steven Bayar