Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
I absolutely could not see this one coming. When I wrote to you last week, I never would have believed that things would have turned so violent, so fast, in Israel. Like so many of you, Israel holds a particularly special place in my heart. Though I did not make my first visit there until I was 26 years old, I now have been there 44 times, and I look forward to many more visits. I never could have predicted that and I’m ever so grateful for each visit. Returning there never gets old and being there is like returning to the Jewish mother ship and always recharges my Jewish batteries. Having gone to Yeshiva for my first 12 years of schooling, many of my classmates now live in Israel. It saddens me to see and hear, via social media, what they are enduring — entering bomb shelters dealing with constant red alerts and fearing for their safety and for the safety of their children, many of whom are now serving proudly in the IDF. Locally, my friend Nachum Erlich had this to say “I was on a video call with my brother Amos Erlich when the rockets started to fall on Tel Aviv. I could hear them as they went down to the shelter, took the dog with them; as I saw them running I felt the fear but I saw no panic.” Nachum’s words remind us all that this is very real for so many of our brothers and sisters.
In the last few days over 1,400 rockets have been fired into Israel from Gaza by Hamas, who are firing from civilian populations and targeting civilian populations in Israel…both war crimes. They have sent rockets towards Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, the airport, Ashkelon and many other cities as well. This has, of course, lead to a military response from Israel killing dozens of Palestinians and hundreds injured on both sides, as of this writing. The words of Peter, Paul and Mary ring in my ears “oh when will they ever learn, oh when will they ever learn”…
This week’s Torah portion is Bamidbar (In the Desert) in the book of Numbers, the fourth of the five books of Moses. In this portion, in the Sinai Desert, Moses counts 603,550 men of “draftable” age (20 to 60 years). Sadly, all these thousands of years later, the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) is currently reinforcing its troop numbers in preparation for a possible ground incursion into Gaza if the rocket fire from there does not cease. 6 people in Israel have already died as a result of this indiscriminate rocket fire. In Nachum’s words “Israel is a strong country. We will survive as we always have survived when others have tried to destroy us. Stay strong Israel. We support you and we love you.”
We send our prayers for the speedy recovery of all those who have been injured.
Light candles Friday evening at 7:03pm
Shabbat ends Saturday evening at 8:03pm
Chag Shavuot Sameach!
President & Chief Executive Officer
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