October 12, 2023

27 Tishrei 5784


Dear Friends,


As we continue to process what happened on Simchat Torah in Israel, our grief grows. Many mourners have not even buried their dead as Israel is now embroiled in the Simchat Torah War. The result is countless other lives, mostly in Gaza, have now been lost and there is no end in sight. After 9/11, there were weeks between the terror attack and our military response. We were able to mourn, to allow the enormity of the horror to sink in, to hear the stories, and to feel united in our response before engaging in the complexities of war. We were not granted that reprieve. Israel’s immediate military response, and the long history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become backdrop of diverse and conflicting analyses and feelings. Please hold space for the complexity of perspectives in this moment, and to support one another. We need each other.


Some things to do:


  1. Fast – Some of you may be participating in A Day of Communal Fasting today to focus our prayers on the hostages. For those fasting to honor the Torah from our Simchat Torah celebration, you may want to extend the fast beyond the 12:30 pm time we had planned.
  2. Social media – Videos on social media are hard to watch. Choose not to. Hamas may be sending disturbing videos. Do not comment or forward. Help kids and teens navigate this time. Also, be aware that commenting or forwarding makes the algorithm boost the post.
  3. Support Israeli friends and neighbors  - Congregant Michael Chauss is organizing the creation of comfort bags of various items on Monday, October 16 (5:30 pm) at Mount Zion. Email him if you want to contribute items or help. machauss1962@gmail.com
  4. Contribute – Many are seeking funds, and there are many options. For immediate impact, here are two suggestions with personal connections.
  5. Mike Hollander, who led our 2006 Israel trip, taught us about European Jewish history during Covid, and will lead our Germany/France trip in 2025, is sending emergency supplies to Israeli soldiers. Read his letter and contribute.
  6. The Reform Movement Kibbutz Lotan in the south of Israel is housing 55 people from a moshav from Gaza. Rachel and Adam have family there. They need funds to help house these Israelis.
  7. Take care of yourselves – Spend time outside, attend services, listen to music, read or listen to Psalms such as Psalm 59 or whatever you need.

Our prayers for comfort for all of us during this time.


With love and blessing,


Adam Stock Spilker, Rabbi

Esther Adler, Rabbi

Jennifer Strauss-Klein, Cantor

Rachel Stock Spilker, Cantor