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Marty’s Shabbat Message – May 20, 2021

Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),

This has been some week! Unfortunately, as of this writing, the conflict in Israel continues into its second week. Hamas has sent well over 4,070 rockets into Israel killing 12 and injuring hundreds. Israel has countered by attacking Hamas and Islamic Jihad in an attempt to significantly reduce future threats of such rocket barrages on its citizens which now extend into major cities such as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

As a result, to date, there have been 250 Palestinian deaths in Gaza and thousands injured. Israel is focused on severely damaging Hamas’ tunnel networks and their weapon launchers and artillery as well as the terrorists themselves. There is no sign of either side ceasing hostilities. I was in Israel when similar conflicts broke out in 2014 and 2007. I have spent time in bomb shelters in Israel, even as my daughter was doing the same while visiting beloved friends in Rishon Lezion. Sadly, the last bomb shelter I was in was actually Independence Hall itself in Tel Aviv. This was an incredibly surreal moment.

Sunset in Tel Aviv Yafo from my last Israel trip


We have just finished celebrating the holiday of Shavuot. Because of the time of year it is celebrated, it is generally a low key holiday for Jews here in America and also quite unknown. We count the 50 days of the Omer from the second night of Passover until Shavuot, which celebrates the receiving of the Torah. It is therefore one of the holiest Holidays on the Jewish calendar. It is the Torah, of course, that prescribes how a Jewish person is to conduct their life. Many utilize this “road map” in different ways and some Jewish people don’t use it at all. But for thousands of years it has served as a Jewish compass and may very well be the reason such a small people in numbers (perhaps 15-16 million people today) has continued to beat the existential odds.

This week’s Torah portion is Naso (The Sum), the second portion in the book of Numbers, the fourth book in the five books of Moses. For the past few weeks, the emphasis has been on headcounts. Today we focus on the number of brave IDF soldiers who protect the people of the modern day State of Israel. The number of lost lives as well as of those injured on both sides of this conflict. The number of Jewish people as well as others here in Greater Phoenix, in the US and around the world, who feel the pain that our brothers and sisters in Israel are experiencing, as they run in and out of bomb shelters. But make no mistake, when terrorists send rockets indiscriminately into a country with a very clear purpose to kill and hurt its citizens, that country, in this case Israel, MUST defend its citizens from harm.  May Israel continue to be successful in doing so and may we continue to defy the odds of our numbers.

Light candles Friday evening at 7:08pm
Shabbat ends Saturday evening at 8:09pm

Wishing each of you a Shabbat Shalom.


Marty Haberer
President & Chief Executive Officer

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