Coming Together for Israel

    04.09.24 | Stories, News, Articles

    Last Sunday was a solemn milestone for Jews around the world as we marked six months since the October 7 attacks. In these six months, the people of Israel, alongside our Temple Judea community, have  grappled with grief, a longing for peace, and a desire to offer - and to find - meaningful support. As part of these efforts, Rabbi Aaronson spearheaded a solidarity mission to Israel, which just concluded. For those of us who could not join him, we followed along with the journey (in our "Mission to Israel" Instagram story) as Rabbi Aaronson and 20 participants listened to stories of survivors, engaged with journalists and scholars, and participated in initiatives aimed at bringing comfort and support to affected communities. 

    Simultaneously, halfway around the world, thirteen teens from Los Angeles, including four from Temple Judea, embarked on a solidarity trip of their own. Gathering in New York with Jewish-identifying teens from across the US and Israel, including areas directly touched by the attacks, these dedicated musicians participated in the annual festival of HaZamir: The International Jewish Teen Choir. Amidst moments of learning, harmony, and shared celebrations with their Israeli peers, the teens delved deeply into themes of Jewish resilience, solidarity, and peace. The emotional culmination of their journey was a stirring chorale performance at Carnegie Hall, featuring moving renditions of familiar prayers and songs, including We Came to Sing in Israel (featuring TJ soloist Abby Wissot) and the Acheinu prayer, which since October 7 holds special significance in our TJ Erev Shabbat service. Particularly resonant was Am Yisrael Chai, conducted by L.A. chapter's Dor Kaminka, serving as a declaration of Jewish endurance and a fervent wish that “soon our dear ones will come home.” As one TJ teen eloquently expressed on the plane home, the heart-rending silence that followed that line and the subsequent standing ovation “felt like the world both falling apart and coming back together” - a testament to the enduring impact felt by both participants and audience members alike. 

    In times of adversity, journeys such as these serve as important reminders of the unwavering bonds of support and hope that unite Jews throughout the world, transcending geographic boundaries and reaffirming Temple Judea's commitment to cultivating a brighter future for all. 

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