Dear Friends,

The news from Israel is heartbreaking and frightening. 

At our Shabbat and Festival service this morning, we replaced Hallel, our psalms of joy for the holiday (Psalms 113-118), with singing a single verse from Psalm 122:7 over and over:

יְהִי־שָׁל֥וֹם בְּחֵילֵ֑ךְ שַׁ֝לְוָ֗ה בְּאַרְמְנוֹתָֽיִךְ׃

May there be well-being within your ramparts, peace in your citadels.

It is times like this that being together is important. We have made some changes to our programming tomorrow, described below. 

As a community, we have already had a particularly hard couple of weeks with tragic deaths that have affected so many. Please know that you can reach out to any of your rabbis and cantors for conversation and resources. 

Now our collective anguish does not get a reprieve as we learned about the attacks in Israel that turned the celebration of Simchat Torah into a day of wailing. 

Tomorrow, on Sunday morning, we are postponing the talk between an astrophysicist and myself about creation. Instead, we will gather at 10:00 am in Margolis Hall (and live streamed) for prayers, singing, and conversation about what is happening in Israel. With appreciation to the Brotherhood, we will have a complimentary brunch. 

A group of us had planned to gather Sunday night at Rachel’s and my home to talk about Israel. We are canceling that event so we can all be together in the morning. We are grateful for all who contributed to the people and organizations supporting our values in Israel.

On this Shabbat and last day of our Fall holy days, Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah, it is a rare thing to send an email to our community. Nearly all Jewish organizations are doing so today.

As we brace for the days to come, our collective prayers are with all who have been taken captive, who are wounded, the families and friends of people killed, communities in Israel still controlled by terrorists, all Israelis, and people visiting Israel right now.

My prayers are also with you.

Bivracha, with blessing,

Adam Stock Spilker, Rabbi