For this, and this alone, we pray…O God make peace in the land; may all its inhabitants be blessed; and may this vision of Your prophet soon be achieved —
“Nation shall not lift up sword against nation; Neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:4)
As a follow up to my email to you over the weekend, I share with you the sadness and worry and heaviness in our hearts as Israel recovers from the devastating attacks on her cities and our people. This is not a distant event, as we always hold Israel close in our hearts in general, but specifically I know there are so many in our Temple Shalom family who have loved ones in Israel, close family and close friends who are in harms way, who have been injured and tragically taken hostage and killed. I have been in contact with many in Israel who are scared, and safe, but who are not ok.
As of today we know that 300,000 Israeli Army reservists have been called back to active duty and that military operations are still ongoing within Israel, on the Northern border with Lebanon and of course in Gaza. With over 1000 Israelis killed and over 2700 wounded, the past 72 hours are the worst Israel has seen. The difficult and protracted nature of this war against Hamas and Iran cannot be overstated and Israel will need our continued support for the foreseeable future. Many have asked me how to help. There are many ways and all are important and meaningful.
First, your prayers. They matter and they help. We look forward to adding these prayers and others in support of Israel and our people as we gather for Shabbat on Friday evening.
A Prayer for Israel:
“O Heavenly One, Protector and Redeemer of Israel, bless the State of Israel which marks the dawning of hope for all who seek peace. Shield it beneath the wings of Your love; spread over it the canopy of Your peace; send Your light and truth to all who lead and advise, guiding them with Your good counsel. Strengthen the hands of those who defend our holy land, grant them deliverance, and adorn them in a mantle of victory. Establish peace in the land and fullness of joy for all who dwell there. Amen.”
A Prayer for Jerusalem:
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; may those who love you prosper! Let there be peace in your homes, safety within your borders. For the sake of my people, my friends, I pray you find peace. For the sake of the house of the Eternal our God, I will seek your good. (PSALM 122:6–9)”
A Prayer for the Soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces:
“May the One who brought blessings to our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,
and to our mothers Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah, bless the soldiers of Israel’s Defense Forces, and all who stand guard in order to protect the Land of Israel. Give them strength against our enemies, and strengthen their spirit to preserve their highest moral values at this time of trial.
Protect them from all troubles and afflictions, so that they will return in peace and joy to their families and friends, and may they prosper as human beings and citizens in their land. May the words of the prophet come to fruition through them: “And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore. And each one shall sit under the vine and under the fig tree and none shall be afraid (MICHA 4:3), and let us say, Amen.”
A Prayer for Those Held Captive:
“Our God, the One who raised Joseph up from the pit, be “a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble” (PSALM 9:10). Send complete rescue and full redemption to those held captive by the enemy. Strengthen their spirit and bring them our prayers that they be protected from all harm. Implant understanding in the heart of the enemy that they may return the captives in wholeness of body and spirit. Grant wisdom to the Israel Defense Forces that they may secure freedom for the captives without loss of life. Grant strength of spirit and courage of heart to all the sons and daughters of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar to release bonds of captivity and allow us all to live in freedom. “They shall call upon Me, and I will answer them; I will be with them in distress; I will rescue them, and honor them” (ADAPTED FROM PSALM 91:15).”
Second, it’s important to stay up to date on events. While there are a wide variety of sources, I recommend Reuters (www.reuters.com), the Associated Press (www.apnews.com), The Jerusalem Post (www.jpost.com), or Ynet (www.ynetnews.com). There are of course, many others, these are sources I have found to be helpful.
Finally, many of you have asked about where to donate dollars or goods. I am sure you have been inundated with requests and not sure where to turn. After talking with my Israeli friends and loved ones, here is what they recommend:
- Friends of Israel Defense Forces (FIDF.org). This is an organization that is non-political and non-military organization that provides for wellbeing of the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, veterans and family members. Established in 1981 by a group of Holocaust survivors, FIDF is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation that operates 26 regional offices in the United States with headquarters in New York City.
- American Friends of Magen David Adom (afmda.org), is Israel‘s national emergency medical, disaster, ambulance and blood bank service to everyone in Israel.
- The American Jewish Committee (ajc.org), is the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people.
There are many others, but these have been recommended by my Israeli friends.
I want you to know that am here for you and your families in this difficult time as are our entire Temple Shalom staff and volunteers. If we can be of help in any way during this difficult time, please let us know.
May the One who makes peace in the high heavens make peace for us, for all Israel and let us say: Amen.