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October 10, 2023

Dear Maharat Rori,

The reality of the past few days has been heart-wrenching for all of us throughout our Jewish community here in St. Louis and around the world. Since the unfathomable violence began on Saturday, which was also Shabbat and the holiday of Shemini Atzeret, more than 900 Israelis have been killed. Some 2600 are wounded, 600 of whom are still hospitalized. In addition, approximately 5,000 rockets fired at Israel and an estimated 150 Israelis being held hostage in Gaza. While there have been some military skirmishes in the North, so far there have not been full-scale battles outside of the areas surrounding Gaza and in the south of Israel. 

We all mourn the tragic and unspeakable loss of life in the past four days, and will continue to hold space for everyone to both process events as they unfold and to get the support they need. All of us in our St. Louis Jewish community have friends and loved ones who have been impacted, whether they be displaced from their home, called into the army, fleeing to shelters, traumatized by bombs, or even harder to hold, killed or kidnapped. It is impossible to hold all those suffering today, but we want to acknowledge our own Missouri native, Deborah Matias z”l, and her husband, Shlomi z”l, who were killed in Israel protecting their 16-year old son, Rotem. Our deepest sympathies go out to their family and loved ones, and to all of those mourning the loss of so many innocent lives. We are all wondering what to do to help, and while we cannot individually end the violence, there are things each of us can do.

In the body of this email are ways to support Israel and come together with other community members in solidarity. Additionally, I encourage you to reach out to friends, colleagues, family, and neighbors, both here and in Israel. People may not be able, or have the energy, to reply right away, but knowing that you care and are aware of the tragedies happening in Israel is essential and heartening.


The JCRC is also working with all our partners to collect and share resources so that people can be directed to the credible, accurate information about the current situation in Israel. Things do change rapidly, however, and while we will work to share new information, we will not be able to update everything in real time. Below, you can see a number of resources and we will share more as we get them.

Whenever there are heightened tensions in Israel, we see a rise in antisemitism across the United States. Our community is working tirelessly to ensure that all of our Jewish communal institutions are safe and we are in touch with our partners at schools to provide them resources to respond to any bullying or harassment our students might face. If you do learn of or experience an antisemitic incident, please do not feel that you need to respond on your own. Reach out to us at the JCRC, report it to the ADL, contact our Community Security Director Scott Biondo, and of course, notify law enforcement.

Most of all, make sure you are taking care of yourself and each other. Our community, our partner organizations, and all of those we have relationships with are our greatest resources in difficult times like these. As we said on Simchat Torah, upon completing the reading of the final words of Torah and taking up the cycle of learning and growing all over again at the very beginning:

!חזק, חזק, ונתחזק

Chazak, Chazak, V’nit’chazek

“Be strong, be strong, and let us strengthen one another.”

Rabbi Scott Shafrin,

Deputy Director and Lee & Milford Bohm Director of Social Justice

Click Here To Read Our JCRC Message of Solidarity

Opportunities to Support Israel

Donate to the Israel Emergency Fund through the Jewish Federation of St. Louis


Donate to the Israel Emergency Fund through the Jewish Federation of St. Louis

100% of your donation goes to support the people in Israel.

Attend the Community Solidarity Gathering at the Jewish Community Center

Wednesday, October 11 | 5:30-6:30pm

The J - Creve Coeur

Call to Action: Urge Officials to Support Israel

Urge your elected officials at the federal, state, and local level to speak out and make a clear and unequivocal statement in support for our ally Israel and its right to defend itself

Click Here To Contact Local Officials

Attend these JCRC Israel Programs:

HaKol Koreh: Everything Happening in Israel

with Rabbi Scott Shafrin, Dr. Ayala Hendin, and Ellen Futterman

Webinar series beginning Wednesday, October 18 at 12:00 pm

Zoom | Click to Register

Join us for the launch of our new monthly Israel series, featuring Rabbi Scott Shafrin (JCRC Deputy Director), Dr. Ayala Hendin (Washington University Israel Fellow), and Ellen Futterman (St. Louis Jewish Light Editor-In-Chief) tackling the current events in Israel, with an inaugural session diving deeply into Operation Swords of Iron.

At this time, HaKol Koreh is intended as a recurring program held the third Wednesday of the month, but may add additional dates in order to present the most up-to-date facts as the war on Israel unfolds.


The Legacy of Oslo with a Presentation from Roots

Wednesday, October 25 | 12:00 pm CST


Over the past thirty years, the consequences of the successes, failures, discussions, and disagreements at the 1993 Oslo Accords have reverberated throughout the lands inhabited by Israelis and Palestinians. Nowhere is this more true than in the spaces where these two peoples live side by side, often in conflict and discord.

Roots is a unique network of local Palestinians and Israelis who have come to see each other as the partners each side needs to make changes to end conflict. Based on a mutual recognition of each People's connection to the Land, they are developing understanding and solidarity despite the ideological differences. Join us as we explore efforts in Israel today to move beyond the legacy of Oslo and into a new future.

Please note that this event was planned prior to the war in Israel and we will update the program and adjust as necessary as the conflict continues to unfold.


Peace, Politics and Plutonium: An Insider’s Look at the Internal and External Challenges Facing Israel and How they Can be Overcome

Sunday, October 29 | 7:00 PM

Jewish Federation | 12 Millstone Campus Drive

Gil Hoffman will analyze the diplomatic, security and political challenges facing Israel at 75 and how they can be overcome. He will go in depth into the dangers Israel is facing from inaccurate and biased reporting about the Jewish state. He will also engage fairly and objectively into internal Israeli divides and put them into the proper proportion. (But he will stay away from divisive American politics). Finally, he will speak about Israel’s successes and why you should be hopeful for its future, in spite of it all.

Co-sponsored by JCRC and the Jewish Federation of St. Louis


A Special Note About JCRC Programs

As news out of Israel continues to develop, JCRC is committed to meet the needs of the Jewish community and will adjust our program schedule as needed. Please keep and eye on your inbox for updates.

Operation Swords of Iron

The War on Israel Continues

On Saturday, October 7, in an act of war, hundreds of terrorists infiltrated Israel at a number of locations and at the same time, massive rocket barrages were launched at Israeli territory.

As part of the attack, which is still ongoing, hundreds of terrorists infiltrated Israeli territory by land, sea, and air, and advanced into Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip. This while indiscriminate firing - of more than 3,500 rockets and missiles so far - was targeting towns and cities in the south, the center of the country, and Jerusalem with the intent of maximizing harm to civilians.

In response, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu released a public statement stating that Israel is at war and later adding that Israeli military would attack Hamas with a force “like never before." The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) continue to neutralized a number of terrorist infiltrators and stand ready on all borders and have cut off electrical and water supplies to Gaza.

At this time, more than 900 have been murdered in Israel (most of them civilians), thousands more wounded, missing, or in hiding. Hamas terrorists also have at least 150 hostages - including women, children, and elderly individuals - threatening to record their execution if their demands are not met.

Relevant Articles

Additional Information

White House Briefing Event,

Today - October 10 at 4:00 pm CST

All are invited to join the White House Briefing webinar on Zoom.

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