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Our Hearts are with Israel

Dear Chaverim, As a Jewish community we are ohavei tzion - lovers of Zion, passionate about our deep and enduring connection with Israel. We join in mourning the hundreds of lives taken; our hearts and prayers go out to the victims’ families and communities; and we pray for the welfare of the hostages and their loved ones. Today, all of us feel the stinging truth of Yehuda Halevi’s timeless words: לבי במזרח ואנכי בסוף מערב- libi bamizrach, va’anochi b’sof ma’arav – “My heart is in the East, but I am at the ends of the West.” Our hearts are breaking and it seems that all we can do is look on from afar. On Simchat Torah, it is a tradition to parade around the sanctuary seven times with our Torahs to put our love of the Torah into action. I want to share seven things each of us can do at this time: 1. Stay informed: Now is the time to stay engaged with the unfolding events in Israel.  Find one or more trustworthy news sites to keep abreast of the news.  If you are unsure of where to look for news, please reach out to the BSO office for assistance. 2. Be an advocate: Write an email, send a text, or make a phone call to your elected representatives. In your community, classroom, or social media platform – let the world know that you stand with Israel. 3. Show Up: There continue to be rallies and demonstrations of support on behalf of Israel. Show up.  Let Israelis know that they are not alone in their hour of need. We will keep you updated about future gatherings. 4. Give: There are a wealth of organizations raising money to offer relief to the Israelis so deeply affected by the situation. Your support is both substantively and symbolically critical.  Please give at the level you are able. If you are unsure of where to give, please contact the BSO Office. 5. Put Politics Aside: Our community is constituted by a membership with a range of political views both in America and Israel. Now is the time to set our differences aside and stand united in support of Israel’s safety and security. 6. Reach Out: Many of us have family and friends in Israel (or friends with family in Israel). While we cannot remove someone’s pain, the act of letting someone know that they are not alone is an important gesture.  Send a text or email letting them know they are in our hearts. 7. Pray: Prayer is how we give expression to our hopes for our world and tilt God’s will towards making those hopes a reality. The shattered soul of Israel needs our prayers now more than ever. At home, in the synagogue, wherever you are – now is the time to pray. You can find A Prayer for the State of Israel and the IDF from the Masorti Movement’s Siddur here. I also want to recognize that there are many in our BSO community with loved ones, family and friends who are experiencing these events, suffering loss and trauma in Israel in real time. If you are carrying the story of relatives and friends, we want to know. Our community will share in carrying that story with you. Please email Rabbi Nagelberg at rabbi.nagelberg@bnaishalomofolney.org with the names of those you are holding in your heart. We will add them (and you) to our daily prayers.  And as always, I am here to offer support and comfort to you and your family. B'yachad - together, we stand with the citizens of the State of Israel, today, and in the days to come, with love, concern, compassion, and care.  With a heavy and homesick heart, Rabbi Jesse Nagelberg

Sat, June 15 2024 9 Sivan 5784