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Responding to the Crisis in Israel and Gaza: Support, Programs and Action

Find a place with our Bnai Keshet community to take action, learn, or offer support and comfort during this challenging time.

Read messages to the community from the rabbis and presidents
Our Hearts are with Israel
Holding Each Other as a Community
Responding To Silence and Rebuilding Relationships

Below is a list of opportunities and events  If you have more ideas or would like to join this committee contact Mel Comerchero or Betsy Tessler


To find out when the next Israel Committee meeting will be held, click here to visit the BK Calendar.

Opportunities:

A Land for All
Sunday, February 11th at 4:00pm

We invite you to hear from A Land for All Co-Executive Directors, Dr. Rula Hardal and May Pundak, as they speak about their vision and practical work toward a future of support and cooperation in Israel/Palestine. 

In the aftermath of October 7th and the ongoing war in Gaza, imagining a shared political solution in which Israelis and Palestinians survive and thrive is an act of faith and hope. A Land For All has been working for more than a decade on developing paradigm-shifting practical solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As a shared movement of top Israeli and Palestinian policy analysts, researchers, journalists, and jurists, ALFA offers a path forward from this unspeakably shattering moment into a truly better future.


Dr. Rula Hardal is a research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Van Leer Institute, and the Forum for Regional Thinking. She has taught political science and social work at Al-Quds University in East Jerusalem and is an activist in several initiatives to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a board member of Adalah – the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, based in Haifa.

May Pundak is a feminist lawyer, activist and social entrepreneur, May has worked at the New Israel Fund, directed the Polyphony
Foundation, helped establish a legal team to support political struggles in East Jerusalem, and co-founded an educational dialogue group program for Jewish and Palestinian teenagers in West and East Jerusalem. She holds a degree in public and international law, with an emphasis on human rights, from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


Bring Them Home Fast 

The Bring Them Home Fast is an ongoing, continuous Fast initiated by BK members to keep the fate of the  hostages in our hearts and in public consciousness. It is both a powerful, personal way to connect with the suffering of the hostages in Gaza, and a public way to share that we are thinking of the hostages every day. We need volunteers to keep this going! Sign in here.

Support the Fast! Follow and share the Instagram page @BringThemHomeFast  where each day the person Fasting and a different hostage are featured.  

Questions? Email BringThemHomeFast@gmail.com


 

Other engagement and community opportunities being developed

Ongoing work to bring the hostages home:  Aya Izraely-Levi

Pursuing Interfaith Partnerships to learn more from each other, to work towards taking some kind of action together:  Mel Comerchero or Betsy Tessler

Education/action with the kids in the BK Bet Midrash: Pia Kutten

Solution-focused work, advocating for a long-term solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Craig Levine or Betsy Tessler

Hevruta/study or other programming, possibly starting with Israel-Palestine dual-narrative study: Yael Silverberg-Urian or Doni Remba

Curating a list of webinars and other info about the current situation: Mel Comerchero 

Shevet B’Yachad (Sitting Together)

The events in Israel, Gaza, and the US since October 7th have elicited many deeply-felt emotions, such as sadness and pain about what happened, anxiety and fear about what the future may hold, and anger about reactions to these events by traditional allies. With this in mind, BK members will meet regularly in a safe, respectful, and non-judgmental environment to listen to and support each other's responses to and processing of unfolding events. For more information about upcoming dates, email Joel AckelsbergGeoff Shandler, or Craig Levine.

Past Events

Tuesday, November 14th
March for Israel in Washington, DC

More information here.


Saturday and Sunday, November 18-19
The Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom Conference at Rutgers University

Bnai Keshet member, Roberta Elliott is the National President of Salaam Shalom.  Rabbi Ariann will be teaching at the conference, and BK member, Magda Schayler-Haynes, is leading a workshop.  Click here for more info about the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom Conference.


Shevet B’Yachad (Sitting Together)
Monday, November 27th from 7:30pm - 9:30pm at Bnai Keshet

The events in Israel, Gaza, and the US since October 7th have elicited many deeply-felt emotions, such as sadness and pain about what happened, anxiety and fear about what the future may hold, and anger about reactions to these events by traditional allies. With this in mind, BK members will meet regularly in a safe, respectful, and non-judgmental environment to listen to and support each other's responses to and processing of unfolding events.


Standing Together Video Screening & Discussion with Aaron Back
Tuesday, December 5, 2023 at 7:30pm
at Bnai Keshet, 99 S. Fullerton Ave, Montclair

 Video screening and discussion of a recent talk by two members of the national leadership of Standing Together, Sally Abed and Alon-Lee Green.

Standing Together is a grassroots movement mobilizing Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel in pursuit of shared society, peace, equality, and social justice.

More information here.


 

Current Issues in Israel with Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum of Congregation Beit Simchat Torah and guest experts.
November 20th - December 18th 2023
We know that many of you are seeing the ongoing, heartbreaking news from Israel and wishing you had more background in Israeli history, politics, social divisions, or activism to better understand what’s happening now and why. In four sessions, we’ll dive into some essential learning that will help you understand the current historical moment, with guest teachers. 


Israel Study Opportunity: Conflicting Visions of Israel (Zoom)
In this time of war, many BK’ers have expressed an interest in learning more about Israel’s history. Steven Klein, a highly recommended teacher, is teaching a four-session online course through Case Western Reserve University entitled "Conflicting Visions of Israel," which seems well suited to this goal. When the State of Israel was established in 1948, its founders envisioned a democratic, pluralistic society that would develop “for the benefit of all its inhabitants.” Yet, as with many visions, there is always a gap between the dream and reality. This course reviews the various visions that have shaped Israel’s socioeconomic, religious and political reality, as well as the ongoing debate over the visions that conflict with one another.

Choosing a Shared Future: A Conversation with Omdim B’Yachad/Standing Together
Sunday, January 21, 2023 at 11:00am on Zoom

In the midst of war, turmoil in Israeli society, and an increasingly polarized global discourse, must we take one side over the other or can we instead stand united with people on both sides who want to live in peace and security? Join us for a special online panel with Standing Together, a grassroots movement in Israel/Palestine organizing Jewish and Palestinian citizens towards peace, equality and social justice. Gain insights from the activists working tirelessly on the ground as they share their perspectives on reshaping the current narrative and the path forward for achieving systemic societal change, and discover how you too can contribute.

We will hear from Sally Abed, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, is Head of Development and part of Standing Together's elected leadership and Nadav Shofet, a Jewish citizen of Israel, is the Community Organizer for the Tel Aviv-Yafo Standing Together Chapter and part of the Stand Together's elected leadership.

Co-Sponsors: SAJ-Judaism that Stands for All, Congregation Congregation Shir Shalom, B’nai Keshet, West End Synagogue, Columbia Jewish Congregation. List in Formation. 

Mon, April 22 2024 14 Nisan 5784