Friday, June 20, 2014

Kidnapped Teens

Dear Friends,

I imagine that all of you join me in being outraged by the abduction of the three Israeli teens last Friday.  As I write this the IDF’s hunt for the teens continues in the West Bank.  Three-hundred thirty Palestinians, including 240 Hamas activists have been arrested in the crackdown on Hamas activities that has accompanied the search.  Two Palestinians, regretfully, have died.  It is worth noting that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has condemned the kidnapping.  PA Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki, while objecting to the IDF sweep, also said that if Hamas is behind the kidnapping, “it will be a blow to the reconciliation process [between the PA and Hamas]….If we reach that conclusion, then the president will take drastic action.”  Today PA security forces broke up a pro-Hamas rally in Hebron.  The PA continues to cooperate with the search for the teens.

Sadly, despite the massive operation the teens have not been found.  Naturally, many fear for their lives.  In addition, as time passes, there is also the fear that the world will forget the teens and go on to the next news story.   It is at times like these that we recognize the deep truth of the rabbinic teaching, “Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh Ba’Zeh” – “All Jewish people are tied to and care for one another.”  We must not forget these young men.  Please include the kidnapped teens in your prayers this Shabbat.  Their names are:  Eyal Yifrach (Eyal ben Iris Teshurah) , Gilad Shaar (Gilad Michael ben Bat Galim) and Naftali Fraenkel (Yaakov Naftali ben Rachel Devorah).  Below is a prayer, written by Alden Solovy, which we recited at our Temple’s annual meeting this past Wednesday.  It was published on the Reform Movement web site,

God of the prisoner,
God of the captive,
The voice of anguish echoes across the land.
Our sons,
Kidnapped, hijacked,
Torn from their lives and dreams,
Are held captive by violence and hatred
By those who would take our land
And destroy our people.
Guardian of Israel,
Bless those who have dedicated themselves to returning
Our sons to safety and shelter.
Grant them skill and wisdom
In this hour of need.
Give them the tools they need in the days ahead.
Bless their work.
Let success be close at hand.
This dismay is almost too much to bear.
Return Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Elad Yifrach
To the cradle of their parents’ arms,
And the refuge of their homes,
Speedily, in life and in health.
Bless their families with endurance and faith
That they will soon be reunited in the fullness of joy.
Bless our boys, in their captivity,
With hope and courage.
Grant them the strength and fortitude
To face, chas v’shalom, any shames or tyrannies forced upon them.
Rock of Israel,
Hasten their release.
Grant them lives of Torah and parnasa,
Rich with health and happiness,
Joy and peace.
Let rescue be near.
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Ha’Olam Matir Asurim
Blessed are you, Adonai our God,
Sovereign of the Universe,
Who releases the captive.

Shabbat Shalom.

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