Standing in Solidarity with Israel

I want to thank the many of you who have responded to my letters from Israel, and the over 200 WHC members who joined us for a Congregational Conversation on July 29. We prayed; we listened to reflections of those who just returned; we shared a number of articles that expressed the complexity of the situation; and we respectfully listened to each other to learn and share our common concern about Israel and our Jewish future.

Clearly, the one thing we share in common is a deep concern for Israel. No one questioned Israel’s right to defend herself. We agreed as well that as Jews and as concerned Americans, we need to make sure we stand for Israel in her hour of need. We also know that to be informed is important, and we at WHC will do our best to share links to relevant articles and provide other opportunities to study and learn so our choices can come from an informed perspective.

But many have asked – what can we do now to show our support for Israel?

All of us can write our senators and congressional representatives to thank them for their support of the Iron Dome and to encourage our government to provide the necessary funds to protect the citizens of Israel who live in the Middle East’s only democracy. In addition, we should support Israel with our funds and there are a variety of ways to do so. Both the URJ and Federation support the “Stop the Sirens” campaign. Others may choose to support AJC or political action groups. Some may choose to invest in Israel through Israel Bonds. Informed philanthropy is important and all these organizations are doing vital work to support Israel.

We will once again, as we did in the last war, open our Ritzenberg Humanitarian Fund to collect donations to support organizations WHC has a firsthand relationship with and that may not benefit directly from donations to major organizations. We will directly support our Sisterhood’s adopted congregation, Natan Ya in Netanya, and we will send funds to the Leo Baeck School in Haifa, which is doing vital work. We will give grants to Leket Israel, which is feeding displaced families from the south of Israel with food purchased from stores closed due to the rocket attacks, in an attempt to mitigate some of their economic losses. We will support the brigades of the north that have asked for supplies; these are the reservists who have been called up to do the duty of the young men who have been deployed to the south and into Gaza. We will give funds to the Friends of the IDF to support lone soldiers and their families.

No matter whether it is through letter writing, donations, or staying informed, it is our obligation to stand with Israel. We will continue to work for a lasting peace, which is what Israel wants and deserves. With hope in our hearts we will continue, as members of WHC, to stand in solidarity with Israel and her people.

Click here for informational resources from our Congregational Conversation on July 29.