Reflecting on the 4-Month Anniversary of October 7: It's Your Monthly February B'tzelem Newsletter

    02.07.24 | Stories, Articles, Israel, Btzelem

    Dear friends,

    Today marks four months since October 7. Since that day, I have found it difficult to make sense of the world precisely because we are in the midst of an unfolding horror. In these past four months, I have thought deeply about the meaning of October 7, for myself and our people. As much as I have read, as many people as I have listened to, as many discussions as I have been part of, as many articles as I have written, and as many sermons as I have given, I have felt something is missing –- and one missing piece is a trip to Israel.  

    In this spirit, I would like to extend a personal invitation to you to travel with me as part of the Temple Judea Solidarity Mission to Israel. Though I have been to Israel many times - as I imagine most of you have been - all of us will be traveling to an Israel we’ve never visited: an Israel deeply scarred and traumatized by October 7. I feel keenly the need to be there, to see for myself an Israel I’ve never seen before, to help me make sense, if possible, of the most traumatic event for our people since the Holocaust. I think many of you feel similarly.  

    This mission to Israel will be unlike any other trip. We will visit with soldiers, with families who have fled their homes in the Gaza envelope, with families of hostages and those murdered. We will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Israelis for a few hours preparing supplies to be used by reservists. And we will learn from Israeli journalists and scholars about the situation on the ground as it unfolds in real time.  

    Those joining me will need to depart for Israel no later than Sunday, March 31 in order to be in Tel Aviv by late afternoon on Monday, April 1, when our mission's formal programming will begin. Monday evening through Thursday afternoon, April 4, will be filled with learning, with visits to the site of the Nova Music Festival, meeting with survivors, families of hostages, wounded soldiers and much more. For those who can stay, I invite you to join me and Rabbi Goor for Shabbat dinner on Friday evening, April 5.

    I know this is a lot to ask of you. I know I’m asking you, on short notice, to take time from your busy schedule to travel halfway across the globe. But I also know this: the Temple Judea Solidarity Mission will be the most meaningful and inspirational trip to Israel you’ve ever experienced. You will participate in what might be the most sacred mitzvah in Judaism: being present for those who need to be comforted. We will be together, with our people, in the most profound Jewish communal moment of our lifetimes. Please, join me


    Rabbi Joshua M. Aaronson
    To learn more about Rabbi Aaronson's mission to Israel and to reserve your spot, please click here.


    The California Presidential Primary Election is just a month away: March 5, 2024 to be exact!  And, while there are no easy solutions to the myriad of challenges facing society, it is clear that we have a responsibility, both as Jews and citizens, to participate in this vital election to select leaders, policies, and programs that will impact the lives of every single one of us -- with local, national, and international implications. In fact, Jewish wisdom teaches, “You do not need to finish the work, but you are not free to desist from it.” At Temple Judea, we encourage all of our members of voting age to register and make a plan to vote in this election using this year's LA Voter's Guide.

    STEP 1: Make sure you're registered to vote! You can register, check your status, or update your name, address, or political party registration at The deadline to register for the election is February 20, 2024. In a Presidential Primary Election, if you are registered with a political party you will receive that party’s ballot. If you are registered as "No Party Preference," you will receive a nonpartisan ballot, but it WILL NOT contain any presidential candidates unless you request a party's ballot. Click here to learn more.

    STEP 2: Make a plan to vote! You can review the current and upcoming election information and your voting options at If you plan to vote-by-mail, look for your vote-by-mail ballot after February 5. Vote-by-mail ballots can be returned at various drop-off locations (which will open on February 6) or by mail (postmarked on or before March 5th and received by March 12). Or, if you plan to cast your vote in person, early vote centers will open starting on February 24, or you can vote at your polling place on Election Day.

    Every individual has a role to play in this election, and we hope you'll take the time to ensure you're able to fulfill this mitzvah by registering to vote!

    Then, on Monday, Feb. 26 @ 6:30pm, Temple Judea is co-hosting a virtual Zoom discussion featuring David Bocarsly, Executive Director of JPAC and former director of the CA Legislative Jewish Caucus. David will offer a non-partisan, easy-to-understand introduction to the primary election, with a Jewish perspective. Click here to learn more or register.


    Last month, our 7th graders focused on Civil Rights, impressively tackling difficult topics with respect and maturity. This month, they turn their attention to another challenging unit: climate change. Delving right in, students explored Jewish perspectives on the topic by participating in a yummy and educational Tu B'Shvat seder. Wednesday, February 7, they'll expand on the subject by learning about eco-kashrut and how our Jewish values can fit into today's changing world. Students will wrap up the unit with a meaningful day in nature at a family hike on February 25th. 

    Meanwhile, our 8-9th grade Tzedakah Transformed class  and their Equity, Wellness and Safety Board continue their efforts to raise $7,500 in support of organizations working to promote support for Israel, mental health, kids in sports, and reproductive rights.  They'll be holding a fundraiser on Monday, February 26, at The Stand in Encino. Anyone who makes a purchase and uses the code TEMPLEJUDEA will enable 20% of their purchase to be donated to support their cause. Want to offer more direct support? You can make a direct donation here and select "Teen Philanthropy."

    MITZVAH DAY 2024

    Save the date for Mitzvah Day 2024! B'tzelem's biggest single-day of action all year will take place on Sunday, May 19. Join us for a variety of activities, as well as presentations by our Religious School 7th graders. Not to be missed! 

    Do you have a passion for social action? Temple Judea is looking for someone to co-chair Mitzvah Day with Emily Burg. Mitzvah Day planning meetings start March 5 @ 7pm, and continue April 3 and May 1, with the event on May 19. If you're interested in learning more about what's involved, please contact Rabbi Cantor Blum at  .


    Pathways to Citizenship is gearing up for a new year. Saturday, Feb. 10 @ 9am, Our Lady of Grace Church. Who do you know that wants to become a citizen? Help them achieve that goal. Learn More at this upcoming workshop or call Judy Rutt at 213-700-9363.

    Jewish Baking with Caring Community: Bagel Making. Thursday, Feb. 15 @ 10am @ private residence. TJ members and bakers, Linda Zimring & Ilene Blok will teach bagel making at Ilene's home kitchen! Space is extremely limited! Learn More

    Donate sack lunches to support hungry neighbors. Monday, Feb. 19 (Gelsons),  Mar. 4 (TJ) @ 10am. Pack sack lunches at home (every first and third Wednesday of each month) for our hungry neighbors at Hope the Mission. Bring them to the designated location and our volunteers will deliver them!. Learn More

    Non-partisan introduction to the primary election with David Bocarsly, Executive Director of JPAC. Monday, Feb. 26 @ 6:30pm on Zoom. Join JPAC Executive Director, David Bocarsly for a non-partisan information workshop about the primary election. Learn More

    "The Stand" for Justice - JTJ Restaurant Fundraiser. Monday, Feb. 26, The Stand in Encino. Enter Coupon Code TEMPLEJUDEA when you place your order with The Stand App or online at, and 20% of your purchase will be donated in support TJ's Teen Equity, Wellness and Safety Board. Learn More

    A brave space for LGBTQ+ Teens.  Monday, Jan. 8, Jan. 22, Feb. 5 @ 6:30pm. Jewish teens are invited to meet for connection, reflection, support and fun. Learn More 

    Mitzvah Day Planning Meeting. Tuesday, Mar. 5 @ 7pm. Help us plan Temple Judea's best Mitzvah Day filled with Tikkun Olam. Learn More

    Ongoing Initiatives



    All of the work we do aligns with initiatives and policies supported by the Union of Reform Judaism both nationally and in California. Every day, we are inspired by the thousands of volunteers in all of these different areas who work tirelessly to make a difference. YOU could be one! Learn more and get involved!

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