Along with so much trauma and loss, the encouraging news within our communities this week is the strong and ever-increasing sense of achdut (unity) with every fellow Jew, as well as new alliances with those we always knew to be true friends. These are people who love America, democracy and free speech, and those who wish to be at peace with one another, in a world that includes Jews. Hamas’ charter includes a directive to eliminate the Jews of the world, and this we cannot support, because doing so would be signing our own death sentences.
We heard this week from many Jewish individuals in our communities with whom we have not collaborated well for many years, and have had dialogues that include support and encouragement. Unity is a good thing that we should support and encourage; while we are all different, everyone can agree that the things we have in common are core to our beings.
What we feel we have to focus on this week as we go to press with another heart-wrenching issue is that we all have an intense need to help and serve our brothers and sisters in Israel. And some of us feel a great sense of stress and hopelessness that they cannot do something extremely demonstrative or physical. What we say to those people is to lean on each other, and use whatever skills and strategies they have to serve Hashem and the Jewish people in any way they know how. We are amazed by the massive projects and chartered planes that have been organized by community members, but “go big or go home” is not the only way that our community can support Israel.
In addition to of course being generous with well-known tzedaka organizations for Israel: If you are good at posting on social media, please advocate for Israel online wherever you are. If you purchase products for your business or home, buy Israeli products. If you work at a bank or a company, ask them to match donations for Israel. Ask the businesses you patronize to donate a portion of sales to help rebuild the southern communities of Israel. If you are a parent with small children, do art projects for children in Israeli hospitals. If you are a therapist, donate some hours to start a support group. If all you have to give is the davening from your own heart, spend some time praying for a chayal.
We appreciate everyone who wrote to us this week to share the projects they are working on, large and small. Thank you for continuing to write and share meaningful letters with us, and please send them not just to us, but to other other newspapers and organizations. We are aware of the resource value of our Jewish community newspaper, but we don’t need to be an echo chamber. Speak and write to other communities who need to hear your stories, not just to us. For Am Yisrael to truly survive through this generation, everyone will have to do their part, wherever they are.