Our Hearts Are Broken
It is now nearly 48 hours since Israel was changed forever. On Shabbat morning, instead of celebrating a beautiful Shabbat and holiday with families and friends, our joy was disrupted as rumors and snippets came in of the most horrific of terror attacks taking place in the south of Israel and the realization that we were at war.
The scope of the tragedy leaves our hearts broken. Hundreds of innocent men, women and children were slaughtered in the streets of Israel and in their homes. Our brave soldiers, fighting valiantly, were overwhelmed by a barbaric onslaught. We cannot get away from the thoughts of more than 100 of our fellow Jews – including babies and young children, senior citizens and their caretakers – now in captivity at the hands of our inhumane and bitterest enemies, who have proven no limits on where their terrorist drives will take them. We think of the teenagers who were simply enjoying their holiday in the country's south, gunned down or abducted across the border into Gaza.
We are only beginning to digest the situation, and we find ourselves in a state of shock and helplessness as our worst nightmares become reality. With pain so raw, we cry out to the heavens.
The Yom Kippur war echoes in our memory as Shmini Atzeret/Simchat Torah celebrations were once again disrupted by forces of evil. Tens of thousands of forces were mobilized, and all throughout Shabbat Israeli reservists up and down the country swapped their Yom Tov clothes for IDF uniforms, bidding their families farewell as they packed into their cars and drove to bases, ready to defend our homeland.
The atrocities are unprecedented. Over the next few days our screens will be inundated with harrowing images of the aftermath and the enduring resilience of the people of Israel. Our hearts are broken, and our souls are shattered. It will take a lifetime to digest the horrors and evil that has befallen us.
Though the shock and horror threaten to immobilize us, there is one undeniable truth: The Jewish People possess an unmatched resilience. We must harness this innate strength, confronting the darkest of evils with the brightest of lights. It is essential that we channel our sorrow and our anger towards action; each one of us shoulders the responsibility to action, and to uplift our community in these dire times. The need is pressing, and our duty as Buffalonian Jews is unmistakable.
In these difficult times our unity isn't just our strength—it's our lifeline. Every member of our community must act. Each action, big or small, compounds into an indomitable tide of compassion, resilience, and determination. We are the eternal people of Israel and with Hashem’s help we will overcome.
כִּי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם הַהֹלֵךְ עִמָּכֶם לְהִלָּחֵם לָכֶם עִם אֹיְבֵיכֶם לְהוֹשִׁיעַ אֶתְכֶם
(Adapted from the writing of Rabbi Brander and Mizrachi)
How Can We Help?
Every family in Israel is going through a very difficult time right now. Hundreds of thousands of people have been called up to reserve duty leaving their children and spouses behind; millions of people across the country spent their Simchat Torah holiday running to bomb shelters; schools are canceled across the country; and people, while resilient, are being stretched in incomprehensible directions.
· Call people you know in Israel - don’t just text, give them a call.
· Have a zoom call with children you know staying at home, distracting them for a few minutes and giving their parents (especially those on their own) can go a long way.
· You can send dinner to your family and friends in Israel, giving them one less thing to worry about, and something special in a dark time.
· Sit down with your family and write a letter to a chayal/soldier or family that has been affected - you can email your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be distributed directly.
· Recite psalms HERE.
· Prayers for the welfare of the State of Israel, the IDF, and Captive Israelis HERE.
· Write emails to your government representatives. Our elected officials should be bombarded with letters that condemn the barbaric acts of Hamas, and support Israel’s undeniable obligation to uphold the safety and security of its citizens.
· For a draft letter to send out, click HERE.
Click HERE to donate to Emergency Relief for Soldiers and Families.
Hatzalah - HERE.
Donate - Jewish National Fund - JNF-USA Donation Form.
Additional Resources and Action Items
· Click here to see names of victims.
· Join the Mizrachi Global Tefillah and Chizuk (strengthening) event, Monday October 9 at 9 am east- mizrachi.org/globaltefillah.
· Join the Buffalo Solidarity Vigil at the JCC on Monday, October 9 at 6 p.m.
· Posting something that gives chizuk/strength (uplifting videos of our soldiers, acts of kindness, support for Israel) instead of terror, will be more helpful at this time.
· Putting an Israeli flag on your home or car will show others our support.
· Check in often with people you know in Israel.
· Stay informed with the IDF website HERE.