My house keeps shaking, not from rockets from Gaza, but from artillery or whatever we are shooting into Gaza.
I have been with three friends in the last two days who are having difficulty coping, given the fear, rockets, constant planes, helicopters and our firing into Gaza with the resultant noise, and the not knowing what will be tomorrow and next month and next year. One clearly needs some counseling so he calms down so he can better deal with himself and the person he lives with. All kinds of hotlines are advertised constantly on TV and the radio. read more »
[Rabbi Anita Steiner is an RRC graduate and a long-time resident of Ashkelon. She is the chair of Rabbis for Human Rights. Read her story from Wednesday. Ed.]
Shalom to all.
How I wish my simple message of shalom could reach many people!
Yesterday, Shabbat was very difficult.
The last time I had davened (prayed) in a miklat/ bomb shelter/ fortified room was during the Second Lebanese War. A group of rabbis and other volunteers traveled up north to support the people there. We davened in the miklat which served as a shul for the Masorti congregation of Mauricio Balter the rabbi in Kiryat Bialik, north of Haifa. It was Tisha B'av. We davened a 'regular' service,' read Eicha /Lamentations and studied. Afterwards we scampered to a few miklatim to deliver toys to children who were living in the miklatim. A colleague and I did help a young woman who was having difficulty functioning. She could not leave the shelter for any reason, and her life had completely stopped. Yes we helped by listening and giving hugs. read more »
Steve Burnstein, an RRC student who lives in Israel, has posted some of his feelings about how he is feeling to his new blog. Steve is the Director of the Center for Israel and Diaspora Education at IsraelExperts. Previously he served as the Consultant for Israel Ed. at the Auerbach CAJE in Philly where he coordinated local professional development for the N. American Coalition for Israel Engagement, and also served as Rabbinic Intern at Bnai Keshet in Montclair, New Jersey. Steve is an RRC student who lives in Israel, not an American RRC student doing his year there. This means that his completion at RRC may be slow, but he's committed to being with his wife, Varda, and kids, Micah and Gabi where their family thrives the best. Here is an excerpt from the post, written on January 9.
I am mentally and physically exhausted from the anxiety & stress. But most of all I’m sad. read more »
Sad that I have to think about whether going to work is safe – and where to run when the sirens sound.
Sad over the death of hundreds of Palestinian civilians.
Sad that my six and seven year old children know stories of people hit by Hamas rocket fire.
In celebration of Israel’s 60th Anniversary, the Shabbat between Yom HaShoah and Yom Ha’Atzmaut has been designated as Shabbat Israel by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, and will be commemorated in an array of events throughout the country.
The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, as a member of the Conference of Presidents and a partner in this initiative, invites all JRF congregations to devote the weekend of May 9-11 to special programs marking this historic milestone in Israel’s history. read more »
Here are some helpful links to support your Israel 60 / Shabbat Israel event planning:
Rabbi Brant Rosen, spiritual leader of the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation in Evanston, IL was recently on a Brit Tzedek v'Shalom mission to Israel. Upon his return he wrote this letter to the editor of the Chicago Sun Times. (See Rabbi Rosen's blog, Shalom Rav).
For a full set of resources on Israel see http://www.jrf.org/israel
To the editor: read more »
I recently traveled with a Brit Tzedek v’Shalom (Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace) delegation to Israel and the Palestinian territories. We met with academics, peace activists, and politicians, including Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and Palestinian Prime Minister Fayad. Among other things, we learned much about the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, circumstances reflected in the 1/22/08 article, “Tens of thousands of Palestinians flood into Egypt through breached Gaza wall.”
The Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, along with Brit Tzedek v'Shalom, American Friends of Peace Now, The Israel Policy Forum, and the Union for Reform Judaism, is supporting the letter to Secretary Condoleeza Rice being circulated by Representatives Gary Ackerman (D-NY) and Charles Boustany (R-LA), commending her efforts to reinvigorate the Israeli-Palestinian peace process by convening an international conference this fall and calling for additional steps to ensure its success.
JRF echoes the plea in today's Brit Tzedek Action Alert: Your help is needed! Pro-peace, pro-Israel constituents need to persuade additional Members of Congress to sign on to the letter and demonstrate widespread Congressional support for Israeli-Palestinian peace and the Annapolis conference. read more »
The letter closes for signatures on Friday, November 16th so please call your Representative and urge him/her to sign the Ackerman-Boustany letter today! Sample script attached!
As I write, I am sitting in Ben Gurion Airport awaiting my flight back to the United States; I have spent the past few days with the 35 teens on the No'ar Hadash Israel Experience. First, let me say that they are all happy, smiling, and well cared for. In this last regard, IsraelExperts (our tour operator) has been spectacular at looking after every detail, and Roni and Derek (our American staff) continue to be among the most caring, thoughtful, and energetic leaders you can imagine. The group is truly lucky to have such a team planning and implementing this program.
The sun is going down on Jerusalem today. On Mt. Olive, the graves are silhouetted against the sky. We are back at the Wall and I do tefillin again. I am wearing a yarmulke I bought only a half hour before in one of the many small shops that pocket this quarter. This is the second trip to the Western Wall and this time it is warmer and the rain clouds have dispersed, leaving the sky a patchy mix of gray and light. There is a quiet urgency in our group, a kind of unspoken restlessness because we know that we have a half hour at the Wall before we climb back onto the bus for the last time and head out for the airport in Tel Aviv. I wander off and wrap tefillin like I did the last time. Twice now I have prayed this way and both times here at the Wall. When I get home, I will have to tell Yitzak.
Rabbi Amy Small and I met in Israel in March. She was on a trip with Makom, an effort to strengthen synagogue relationships with Israel. I was on a Religious Pluralism Funding Committee mission from my federation in northern NJ. Our interests were very similar, visiting projects which promote religious pluralism in Israel. read more »
I stayed one night at Kibbutz Gezer with Steve Burnstein and his family. He is an RRC student who has made aliyah and is working for Israel Experiences, which plans tours for birthright and other groups.