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A difficult Week

07/03/2014 05:34:12 PM


I am sure that many of you, like me, have been preoccupied and distressed by the events in Israel over the last few days. Whenever there is attack in Israel it is painful. But, sometimes I realize that my heart can become callous and each new incident can feel like it is part of an unstoppable cycle of despair. For me, part of what it means to love Israel is to not give in to despair, but to turn and face the pain and open our hearts to it.
The kidnapping and murder of Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Faenkel and Gilad Sha’ar put a face on the pain and fear that is so often part of the lives of our fellow Jews in Israel. It was a reminder that despite the relative quiet of recent years life for Jews in Israel is still one that includes risks very different than the risks we face in the United States.
How saddened I was to hear from friends in Israel and news reports, that some responded during this period of mourning, by roaming the streets of Jerusalem chanting “death to Arabs” and calling for revenge. I was horrified to hear of the murder of 15-year-old Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir and that such a murder might have been the result of Jews imagining that they act on behalf of our people.
I believe that wherever we stand in our efforts to support security and peace for Israel, we should as Jews stand together in support for the sanctity of all life. We should stand with the teachings of our tradition that every human is created in the divine image and that Av Harachmim – The Compassionate One – loves every single child of Adam.
The parents of these four boys who have been abducted and murdered, in particular the families of Naftali Fraenkel and Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir, have been clear in their grief and their condemnation of all such despicable acts, whether targeting Jews or Arabs.
The Israel Religious Action Center has given us a simple opportunity to support exactly this sentiment. They have organized a campaign that allows us to simply send our condolences to all of the bereaved families. I forward a link to this campaign as a small but meaningful action you might take to stand with these families.
Later this month, I will be leaving for Israel with many of my Reconstructionist Rabbinical colleagues. During my time there, along with various cultural, historical and religious programs, I will also meet with Israeli officials, visit Gush Etzion, an Israeli settlement on the West Bank, and spend time with Palestinians in the West Bank. I hope to keep you up to date on my experiences and reflections. Know that I will be carrying your thoughts, concerns and questions with me on this journey.


Rabbi Elliott

Send Condolence Letters to the Bereaved Families

The bereaved family of Naftali Fraenkel issued a statement this morning:
"There is no difference between blood and blood. Murder is murder, whatever the nationality and age.  There is no justification, no forgiveness and no atonement for any kind of murder."

If you agree, 
use our form to write to the families of Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Sha'ar, and Muhammad Hussein Abu Khdeir to express your condolences.

Tue, June 2 2020 10 Sivan 5780