I am on vacation and was planning to observe Shabbat elsewhere this evening. However, with the events going on in Israel I feel that the place I must be is with you at Temple Sinai. This is not because it is my job; Cantor Nitza is more than capable of conducting services on her own. It is because I want to pray with you for our brothers and sisters in Israel. I need to pray for Shalom on this Shabbat when there is no Shalom. And I want to welcome and hear the reflections of a very special Shabbat guest, who will share his insight into the current situation: Dr. Arie Eisenman, Emergency Room Director of the Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya and Chairman of our Jewish Federation Partnership Task Force with the City of Nahariya. If you are in town I hope you make a special effort to join us. It is so important to come together when Israel faces the type of challenges it does at this time.
Many of you, I know, are wondering what else you can do to help. In addition to joining us this evening and offering your prayers, you can contribute to the “Stop the Sirens” campaign of the Jewish Federations of North America. The Reform and Conservative Movements in Judaism are both joining with Federation to support this emergency campaign to help support millions of Israelis in harm's way, many huddled in bomb shelters as Hamas rockets continue to rain down on Israel.
To donate through the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey go to: http://www.jfnnj.org/
To donate through the Union for Reform Judaism go to: http://urj.org/
Stephanie Hausner of the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey sent the following message to share with you about the JFNNJ campaign:
“The Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey along with our beneficiary agencies, including the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), and the Israel Trauma Coalition (ITC), continues to mobilize and take action. We in Northern New Jersey are committed to do our part in a national initiative to raise $10 million to assist the people of Israel. $4 million will be going to send 50,000 children in the rocket range up North for a summer respite so they can enjoy some semblance of normalcy outside a bomb shelter. The remaining funds will go to general emergency trauma and social welfare programs. There has been a 150% increase in those seeking help for shock and anxiety. There is also a need to take care of the elderly and those with special needs through mobile shelters. This Shabbat please keep our brothers and sisters in Israel in your prayers and after Shabbat please make a contribution to our STOP THE SIRENS campaign through the Federation website (www.jfnnj.org) 100% of all money collected will go to relief efforts.”
If you cannot join us tonight at Temple Sinai below please find a prayer sent to me by the Jewish National Fund (slightly modified) that you can say on your own. Perhaps we can all light an extra candle as well as we welcome Shabbat this evening. Let this light reflect our solidarity, the spirit we share with our people in Israel, the spirit of Shalom:
A Shabbat Prayer for Israel
As we prepare to light Shabbat candles tonight let us take a moment and pray for Israel.
Pray for the men and woman of the IDF, trying to restore peace and stability.
Pray for our extended family living in and out of shelters, who remain in harm's way.
Pray for our brave volunteers who are delivering supplies, equipment, and food to those in need.
Pray for the civilians of Israel and Gaza that they be protected from harm.
Pray for the leaders of Israel to be blessed by the Almighty with wisdom and strength.
Pray for peace, the Eternal's most special gift, to be granted for all.