As the rockets and air strikes intensify between Israel and Hamas and its allies in Gaza, our thoughts and concerns go to everyone in Israel, but in particular our Reform Jewish brothers and sisters who live in the area and whose lives are now threatened.

The congregation in the Sha'ar HaNegev region is literally on the Gaza border.  We understand that everyone in these communities has been in the bomb shelters, and with the surge in violence over the past 24 hours, they are evacuating the children from the area.

The next closest congregation to the conflict is Yuval in Gedera.  Gedera is also threatened by rockets from Gaza; a Grad rocket hit Gedera in March 2012.  The community reports that Tzur Hadassah in the Judean Hills, a little more than seven miles west of Jerusalem, will be streaming a live feed of Shabbat services and is inviting everyone to join them virtually.  

Tzur Hadassah and other Reform communities are also arranging accommodation for guests from Sha'ar HaNegev and Gedera. They are offering a festive Shabbat, good food, companionship and a safe, quiet weekend in a scenic location for everyone seeking to leave those areas within range of Gaza's rockets.

ARZA will continue to keep you apprised of all developments as we receive further information from the IMPJ and the affected congregations and will let you know what you can do to help. We ask you to join us as we send hopes for peace and prayers for safety to all of our brothers and sisters in Israel. All people deserve to live without fear of rockets landing on their homes and killing their families.

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