This message was sent to the Rodeph Sholom community on October 7, 2023
The elders are gone from the gate, the youth from their music;
The joy of our hearts has departed, our dancing turned into grieving…
Because of this our hearts are bereft,
Because of these our eyes are fallen.
Lamentations 5:14-15, 17
War. Just yesterday marked 50 years since the inception of the Yom Kippur War as Egypt and Jordan shattered the holiest day of the Jewish year with a surprise attack. In a horrifying echo of this atrocity, this morning Hamas led an unprecedented terrorist attack and invasion into Israel.
As of this writing, nearly 5,000 rockets were fired by Hamas into Israel today, targeting civilians around the country. Graphic accounts from the IDF and emergency relief teams suggest hundreds of Israeli citizens have been murdered, with thousands injured. Elderly people, families, and children were gunned down in their own homes. Simchat Torah parties were massacred. Reports of kidnapping of soldiers and children only amplify the horror of this devastating attack. As reservists and active-duty soldiers deploy across the country, every citizen shoulders this shattering of safety and security.
Last night, at Rodeph Sholom and across Israel, we started Simchat Torah with joyous dancing, singing, and the celebration of a new generation rising with purpose and responsibility. This is a day that was supposed to continue these festivities, to fill the streets of Israel with community, hope, and Torah. Instead, in an atrocious desecration, this day is one of murder and war.
Earlier today, we connected with clergy colleagues in Israel to offer solidarity and support and listen to the devastation emerging from all corners of the country. For our Israeli families within our Rodeph Sholom community and to those of us with family and beloved friends in Israel, this day is felt in the most personal of ways. In horror, in heartbreak, and in heart, our clergy and our entire community are here to be with you in care and support. For all of us, Jewish and not Jewish, whether deeply connected with Israel or not, we hold responsibility as a Jewish community to bear witness and rise in support. We encourage everyone in our congregation to call, to text, to write to those most affected, and knit together a reminder of togetherness in this terrifying time.
Even as we pray for the immediate cessation of this invasion and resolution to this war, our responsibility goes beyond phone calls and prayer. In a gathering this afternoon with leadership from United Hatzalah, we heard accounts of the desperate need for medical supplies all around the region. We encourage our community to bring support to the front lines attempting to save lives and deliver emergency medical assistance. Please consider donations to United Hatzalah, Magen David Adom, and The Jewish Agency for Israel.
As our hearts break, we raise resolve.
כל ישראל ערבים זה בזה
All of Israel is responsible, one with the other.
Babylonian Talmud, Shavuot 39a