April 20, 2024 /

A World Torn Upside Down – November 2023

I write to you during an uncertain moment in the life of our people. As I write this note, we are now 18 days after the horrific massacre that took place on October 7th. I pray that by the time you read this note, the conflict in Israel will have been resolved and the message “outdated.” Unfortunately, I believe that if this note is “outdated,” it’s because the war has gotten worse. There are many things that I struggle with during this crisis. At the time of writing this, 1400 Israelis have been killed, and 222 people have been kidnapped. We have congregants who know people who were killed and/or kidnapped. The atrocities that were committed on October 7th can only be described as horrific and something unseen since the Shoah. The brutality that was performed was an act of pure evil.

I am also deeply concerned with the loss of innocent civilian lives on both sides of the conflict, and I fear that we are only going to see those numbers rise.

I am equally horrified by the public response either in favor of Hamas or, perhaps worse, choosing to stay silent and not rise to the moral challenge of condemning what occurred.

Israel is at war with Hamas, a terrorist organization whose founding charter stipulates that one of its goals is to kill as many Jews as possible. Israel must protect its citizens from such a threat. At the same time, Israel needs to make sure that as it defends itself, it does so in a moral way.

As this war progresses, I want to encourage you all to make sure that you get your news from reputable, unbiased sources. I listed some of those sources in a previous email to all of you. Please know that my door is always open to you and your families if you need to speak to someone about what is going on. May we all pray that peace comes soon to our world.

Prayer for Peace by Rabbi Karyn D. Kedar
Shaalu sh’lom Y’rushalayim,
We pray for the peace of Jerusalem,
may those who love you be at ease. (Psalm 122:6)

Shelter us, O Holy One,
as we wander the streets of Your holy city,
as we walk upon the mountains and valleys of the land.
We pray for the peace of Israel,
may those who care for you be at ease.

Guide us, O God,
as we search for the way to understanding
that our children should know laughter and tranquility.
We pray for the peace of our people everywhere,
may those who love them be at ease.

May compassion be our strength,
and the light of Torah be our guide,
and the song of hope be forever on our lips.
May we be a free people living in our land
under a canopy of eternal peace.