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Letter to the Community Regarding Rafah

05/29/2024 11:24:29 AM


Rabbi Ariella and Rabbi Jacob

Dear Friends,  

Each week on Shabbat mornings, we share our prayers and hopes through a prayer for Israel written after October 7. We pray for the immediate release of hostages, that Israel’s leaders prioritize pursuing peace, and for the safety of those charged with protecting their loved ones. We also utter the prayer that we “hold the humanity and the heartache of the Jewish people while also holding the humanity and the dignity of the Palestinian people.” As we’ve mentioned from the bimah over the past few weeks, we’ve also been watching with mounting concern the dire situation in Rafah. After Sunday’s strike on a camp for displaced people in which dozens of Palestinians were killed including many children, we have felt compelled to write to share our anguish and heartbreak.  

We believe firmly that strikes such as these do not contribute to the safety of Israelis, and as Jews, have found it incredibly painful to bear witness to such acts. In a year where the right words have been hard to find, we have found this Urgent Prayer for the Protection of Human Life to express much of what we feel needs to be said:  

“May the destruction 
of innocent life 
come to an end. 

May the ruin 
that comes from war 
cease now. 

May each life be treated 
as a sacred treasure, 
as You have intended.” 

We continue to pray fervently for the end to the horrors of this war, for the release of the hostages and the cessation of fighting, and to push for Israel’s leaders to embrace a plan for a future that prioritizes the safety, thriving, and dignity of both the Israeli and Palestinian people.  

Please see below for ways to be together in community and in solidarity with all those suffering in Israel and Gaza from our local Standing Together chapter, organized by CBI community members Tamar Fields and Rabbi Nancy Flam.  

In solidarity, and with love and care, 

Rabbi Ariella and Rabbi Jacob

From Friends of Standing Together Western Mass:

The depth of our collective pain around this war continues to expand with every passing day. We are committed to standing in solidarity with our Jewish and Palestinian brothers and sisters in Israel who are working together to end this war and bring the hostages home. Thank you to those who have been contributing financially to Standing Together to help leadership there pivot on a dime and mobilize for life and peace. Most recently, with worldwide support, Standing Together has been able to mobilize a Humanitarian Guard to ensure that aid trucks are not obstructed on their way to Gaza. At last count, some 800 volunteers have been organized to show up over the past number of days, and they have succeeded in their mission! 

In addition to helping Standing Together with funds to organize on the ground in Israel, we are committed to amplifying their message here, letting people know in America that many Jews and Palestinians in Israel together envision a different way forward that will ensure both people's peace, security, dignity and prosperity. And that the only way to start that process is to end this war and bring the hostages home. For this reason, we vigil every week downtown, talking to passers-by, handing out accessible information, and holding our signs up high. It strengthens us, as well, to be together, and helps us to keep hope alive. 

Please come on Wednesday, May 29, from 12:00-1:00 pm in front of the Courthouse, at the corner of Main and King Streets in downtown Northampton. We'll have signs for you to hold. No flags, please. 

And note the schedule for our June vigils: Wednesday, June 5 from 12:00-1:00 pm; Thursday, June 13 from 5:00-6:00 pm; Wednesday, June 19 from 12:00-1:00 pm; and Thursday, June 27 from 5:00-6:00 pm in front of the Courthouse, at the corner of Main and King Streets in downtown Northampton.

Toward Peace, 
Nancy and Tamar 

Mon, July 22 2024 16 Tammuz 5784