A Message from the TJ Clergy about Israel
10.07.23 | Stories, Articles, Israel
Dear Temple Judea Family,
As all of you now know, early this morning Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel from Gaza. The attack began with thousands of rockets being fired into Israel, with perhaps hundreds of Hamas terrorists infiltrating Israel on the ground. More than 250 people have been killed, and close to 1500 people have been injured; both those numbers will undoubtedly rise. Crucially, an unknown number of Israelis have been captured by Hamas terrorists and taken to Gaza. Other Israelis were or are being held captive in their homes in Israel. We can get a sense of the horror of today from Senior Rabbi Emeritus Don Goor writing to us from the apartment he shares in Tel Aviv with his husband, Cantor Evan Kent:
It’s been a horrible day. Sirens went off at 6:30 am and it took a minute for me to actually understand what was going on. Thankfully, we have a safe room in our apartment (Evan is in New York with his mom who has been ill) so I ran into the safe room (a concrete fortified room with steel window shutters and door). Listening to the news made things even more frightening so I stopped doing that quite early in the day... It's quite common to hear the Iron Dome intercept a rocket in the air – it’s a distinct sound. However, unfortunately I’ve also heard other big booms that shook the building – it seems a rocket landed not too far away. Then the day was quiet – and I ventured out to the living room... Then around 8:00 pm the sirens started again and there were many, many Iron Dome interceptions – one that shook the building. I’m set up to spend the night in our safe room... It's frightening. So much is unknown. However, watching the news is really scary. It will take a long time for us to figure out how and why this happened as it did. For now, I’m praying that this is over soon – although I’m not hopeful for that. I think there will be a lot of pain for everyone in the coming days.
This horrific, unprovoked act of terrorism puts to rest the idea that the goal of Hamas is to achieve Palestinian statehood. This attack is not about the rights of Palestinians: how else to explain launching the attack primarily against civilian targets? We must recognize this attack for what it is: a shocking, violent act of antisemitism against the Jewish State and thus, against the Jewish people. While there will be a time to evaluate exactly what happened, this is not the time for recriminations and finger-pointing. This is a time for Jews around the world to unite with our brothers and sisters in Israel. The Rav, Rabbi Joseph Solevitchik, asked how the Jewish people can know we are one people. His answer was that when you pour scalding water on one member of our community, we all feel it. To be part of the Jewish people is to feel the pain of our brothers and sisters in Israel. Today, we all feel it. This evening, as you go to bed, perhaps take a moment to offer this prayer for the State of Israel.
O Heavenly One, Protector and Redeemer of Israel, bless the State of Israel which marks the dawning of hope for all who seek peace. Shield it beneath the wings of Your love; spread over it the canopy of Your peace; send Your light and truth to all who lead and advise, guiding them with Your good counsel. Strengthen the hands of those who defend our holy land, grant them deliverance, and adorn them in a mantle of victory. Establish peace in the land and fullness of joy for all who dwell there. Amen.*
May this be Your will, O God.
*Birkon Atzi, CCAR Press