Dear Rodeph Sholom Family,

Over the past three weeks, we have felt horror and heartbreak, moving from massacre to war and to increasing antisemitism and abandonment in New York City and around the world. As a community we have stood in solidarity with Israel and each other, ensuring that even in a time of grief and fear we are strong and woven together. Upholding our Jewish tradition as well as the core values of our Congregation, we are also reaching to be lights of purpose, care, and hope. So many in our community have opened their homes and hearts, bringing generosity and devotion to spaces here and in Israel. We have included a round-up of these activities at the bottom of this email.

This generous outpouring and the immensity of need made it clear that we must move from immediate triage into strategies of long-term support and responsibility. The CRS Board of Trustees has formed an Israel Emergency Taskforce that will focus on three main pillars: education, philanthropic impact, and direct support for Israelis here at CRS:

  • Just hours after the Hamas invasion, we focused on communicating and curating educational resources at a time when reliable sources of information are increasingly scarce. Education and information will be an ongoing priority to ensure we have resources available across every medium and platform for every age group and to enable our community to have tools for conversation and understanding. 

  • We are blessed to have many Israeli families within and close to our CRS community, and we are welcoming Israeli families who are seeking refuge. Some of these families are with us while a family member has been called up to the reserves in Israel. We opened Rodeph Sholom School and the Congregation to bring support, care, and direct services to these families, and are preparing to grow and continue this effort for as long as it is needed.

  • With hundreds of organizations bringing philanthropic support to Israel, we are focusing our philanthropy on vetted organizations that maximize our impact. Our Congregation already has a deep relationship with Kehillat Yozma, the Reform Jewish community in Modi’in and largest Reform community in Israel. The Taskforce is working to find ways we can support and partner with them in their work on the ground and we hope to share more details soon.

I encourage everyone to make use of our new Israel page to see our three pillars already in action, and as the work of the Israel Emergency Taskforce unfolds, we will share updates in the days ahead. On the Israel page you can sign up for an email distribution list where we will share timely information about events and ways to act. More than ever, it is our obligation to live the words of our sages: kol Yisrael aravim zeh bazeh – All of Israel is responsible for one another. If you have ideas, or thoughts, please share them with the Task Force at

We pray for Israel, those defending it, and all its people, and for those kidnapped and still held hostage, and for all the innocent people affected by the Hamas attack and war.


Stacy Kanter

President, Congregation Rodeph Sholom


In the immediate aftermath, we came together to show our solidarity and steadfast support of Israel:

Lights of Solidarity – in our Lobby, we have an Israeli flag and lights for remembering both those slain in the massacre and war, and those still held hostage.

You will notice a new sign out front our building showing our pride so everyone who enters or walks by knows we proudly stand in solidarity with Israel.


Our clergy team and educators are engaged in supporting our community:

  • We are reaching out to our Israeli members to provide support.
  • Hundreds of congregants of all ages have reached out to Rabbi Spratt and to all our clergy for pastoral care.
  • Clergy are meeting regularly with our Sholom Discoveries participants (3rd to 7th Grade).
  • We are hosting teen gatherings with ADL and BBYO. Every Thursday from 5:00 to 6:00 PM the Youth Lounge is open to create an inviting space for teens (8th to 12th Grade) to come gather, relax and connect with clergy.
  • Rabbis Spratt and Karol hosted a Zoom for college students, and we have created a WhatsApp group for them to keep in touch.
  • CRS participated in Helping Children and Teens Respond to the War in Israel, a cross-congregational Zoom webinar for parents.
  • Sholom Sprouts (Ages 0 to 4) is emphasizing pride for Israel and creating a warm space for families. 

Education and Advocacy

Our Israel page is updated frequently with resources including a calendar of events, briefings, and classes; video of sermons and songs; resources for families; ways to stay informed, advocate and take action; and opportunities to donate.

Through our partnership with Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies, we are offering Hope in Times of Trouble, a 3-part Zoom series on Sunday November 5, 19 and December 3 from 10:30 AM to 12:00 PM. Together with Pardes scholars in Jerusalem, we will learn from Jewish texts that address the presence of evil in the world and, at the same time, the existence of hope, faith, and resilience despite such adversity. Register Here


CRS is providing open space for ‘Israeli Hug’, a community hub to support Israelis who are in New York and are currently unable to return home, with breakfast for children and parents, educational activities, art projects, workspace and access to Hebrew-speaking social workers.

Rodeph Sholom School has welcomed 19 children across the grades to enable them to continue their schooling. This initiative was highlighted in a JTA article which was syndicated to publications around the world.

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