October 27, 2023 / 12 Cheshvan 5784

Dear CAI Family,

Like so many of you, the war in Israel continues to cause me great pain and anguish. Our pain is compounded by a growing sense of vulnerability as ignorance, anti-Semitism, and anti-Israel attitudes abound both near and far. “I lift my eyes to the mountains, from where will my help come?” (Psalm 121)

In this week’s Torah portion, we learn of the promise God makes to Avram, the first Jew, “I give all the land that you see (i.e. the land of Israel) to you and your offspring forever.” (Genesis 13:15) We also learn of God’s promise to protect Avram, “Fear not, Avram, I am a shield to you.” (15:1) God promises to make the descendants of Avram as numerous as the dust of the earth and stars in the sky. (13:16, 15:5) We also learn of the mitzvah of pidyon shevuyim — redeeming captives — as illustrated through the story of Avram’s military campaign with 318 warriors to redeem his kinsman Lot who had been taken hostage. (14:14) This is part of our familial and moral responsibility not to stand idly by the blood of our fellow. (Leviticus 19:16) God also promises that those who bless us will be blessed and those who curse us will be cursed. (13:3) The words of Torah need little comment or explanation — they echo in our ears as historical antecedents to the current crisis and a call to our moral responsibility in this hour. Of the numerous speeches, articles, memes being circulated, I’ll share just one which has stuck with me. It’s the voice of a mother, calling the world to responsibility for her captive son. It’s not easy to watch, but I think very important to hear with a message not to give in to the easy feelings of hate that are so tempting.

We can find a measure of comfort and strength from our Jewish community. Amidst the anger and sadness, we’ve continued to do the things our people have always done in times of crisis — gather, mourn, pray, sing, and act. In the fellowship of community, we feel less alone and the power to help bring about the world we want to see.

A couple of things I want to bring to your attention:

  1. We’ve created an Israel resource page on our website. It contains a variety of different resources that we hope will be helpful to you during this time including links to other resource pages and donation efforts, messages from our leadership, a copy of prayers you can say on your own, messages from Rabbi Silverstein, and more.
  2. Below you’ll find a letter from Stephanie Bonder, chair of the CAI Israel committee, reflecting on this past weekend’s events supporting Israel and highlighting additional opportunities to strengthen our community’s connection in the coming days and weeks. We’re so grateful to Stephanie and the Israel Committee for all their efforts. If you want to make a difference, one way to do so is to get involved with the Israel Committee.
  3. CAI Rabbi Emeritus Alan Silverstein just returned to NJ from seven weeks in Israel. On Monday, November 6, at 8:00 pm, he will provide a first-hand account of the shocking and turbulent days of Israel at war with Hamas.
  4. The weekend with Rabbi Warshawsky was so powerful — a real balm for the pain we’ve been feeling. It also showed us what we’re capable of when we lift our voices in song together. I’m working with the clergy to think about how we can build on that momentum and energy in our prayer and singing culture at CAI. If you’re interested in helping us start a new monthly Friday night service inspired by Rabbi Warshawsky’s visit, please let me know by emailing me a quick note of “I’m interested” to [email protected].
  5. We’re here for you. Many of you have reached out to process your feelings and express your hopes for Israel at this time. The needs of the community are significant, so we appreciate your patience if it takes us a little longer to get back to you, but we do care about what you’re going through and we’re here to help you through it as best we can. Thanks for being part of what makes this community strong and resilient and for helping each other.


Rabbi Ari Lucas

Senior Rabbi

To Our Dear CAI Community,

Thank you for all of your support during our Israel Solidarity Weekend. We were inspired and enlightened by the music and song led by Rabbi Josh Warshawsky. The concert was an opportunity to be together and amongst our CAI family during this difficult time. We also had an amazing response to our 20th Annual Walk for Israel. The families, friends, and supporters on the street were all there in spirit and solidarity. Thank you for all you have done. We are so grateful to be able to send important donations to Israel at this challenging moment in our Jewish history. Monies will be sent to our focused organizations of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest, the JNF USA, and Masorti Olami. Please note, that we are planning for next year’s walk already, so pencil in November 5, 2024 on your calendars! We invite you to view the highlights from the weekend by watching the video below.

Our Israel support and programming will continue in November. We are hosting a day with Joel Chasnoff, an American comedian and author who made Aliyah years ago and will be sharing the many wonderful aspects of life in Israel. He will also share the resilience of our people under the worst duress imaginable. Come join us on November 29. You can come for a morning cooking event at 9:30 am, or a casual dinner with pizza and falafel, where we will write letters to our many members who have made Aliyah at 7:00 pm, or a “Living Room Salon” at 8:00 pm. Please note the events on the CAI webpage.

We are proud to continue the tradition of CAI as a strong Zionist community. We are here to support our family and friends in Israel. We represent ourselves in our communities and our Men’s Club has sponsored a lawn sign campaign. Please come to CAI to pick up a sign that states, “We Stand With Israel”. Donations are welcome and will be sent to the Israel Emergency Campaign of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest. Details on how to donate are forthcoming.

Thank you for being part of this campaign.

Chazak, Chazak, V’nitchazek! Be strong, Be strong, and together we will strengthen each other,

Stephanie Z. Bonder and the CAI Israel Committee

Weekend of Solodarity with Israel

Weekend of Solidarity with Israel

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