Day #2: Thoughts from the Board of Rabbi's Mission to Israel, by Rabbi Emeritus Don Goor

    11.28.23 | Articles, Israel

    Today’s journey was difficult and painful. Wearing flack jackets and helmets, we visited Kfar Aza, one of the hardest hit kibbutzim. People, young and old, were murdered in their homes. We heard heroic stories of individuals holding off terrorists for hours until they had no strength left. Currently the Kibbutz is a ghost town – all it living inhabitants have been evacuated to hotels in the center of Israel. Walking through homes that had been burned with their inhabitants still inside their pain along with the hatred of the terrorists was palpable.

    A destroyed neighborhood on the Kibbutz

    The gate at Kfar Aza through which the terrorists entered the Kibbutz and through which they took back hostages. Gaza in the background.

    A home destroyed in the terror attack.

    From there, we traveled to an army base where the bodies of soldiers – and in this case, because of the overwhelming numbers, civilian bodies as well – are identified and prepared for burial. The solider who walked us through the facility, shed tears describing the process as he told us what it was like the week after October 7. Judaism teaches the value of Kavod Hamet – that we honor each person who died. This young soldier told us how they saw holiness in tragic and painful role preparing bodies. 

    Room where families say a final goodbye to the children who have died in and after the attack.  

    Today was a day to bear witness, to hear with our own ears and offer support with our hearts. Today we saw the evidence of pure evil.  And yet... 

    We ended our day this evening by joining with Israeli rabbis in song and prayer. Together we lifted our voices for the hostages, for the soldiers, for the state of Israel, for the people of Israel everywhere in the world. May God hear our prayers and help us with our own hands and hearts create a better world.



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