Dear Temple friends,
Last night, we welcomed new Torah school students by giving them little scrolls and jars of honey, and we danced with the Torah in joy. This morning, we woke up to news of Hamas’ terrible attack on Israel by land, air, and sea. This devastating surprise attack has taken place on Shabbat and at the end of Sukkot, almost exactly fifty years after the Yom Kippur War. Hundreds of Israelis have been killed, some in their own homes; over a thousand have been wounded; and an unknown number have been taken hostage. There is no doubt that this declaration of war will lead to more suffering, in both Israel and Gaza.
I’ve been in touch with Israeli colleagues, family members, and friends. They want to know that we are thinking of them and keeping them in our prayers. We will keep you posted as the situation unfolds, if there is more that we can do. For now, let me share with you statements from the Union for Reform Judaism (Click HERE) and the World Union for Progressive Judaism (Click HERE). To keep informed, you might want to follow news from The Times of Israel (en français, Times of Israel FR). And I invite you to join me in offering the attached prayer, from the Reform movement in Israel.
For reasons of both safety and solidarity, the Israeli protest movement, Save our Shared Home, will not gather tonight, for the first time in forty weeks. Israel is united in response to this threat, as are we in the diaspora. This morning at Temple, we offered a prayer for the safety of Israel and its citizens, and as always, prayers for peace.
This morning’s service also included the prayer for rain, which comes at this time each year on the Jewish calendar, as the fall holidays end and the seasons begin to change. Climate in Montreal and climate in Israel are of course very different, but today, as the rain came down in Montreal, and rockets came down in Israel, I felt the depth of our connection. In the prayer for rain, we include the line: livracha v’lo leklala – may it come for blessing, and not as a curse. We pray for blessing; we hope for peace; we stand in solidarity.
Rabbi Lisa Grushcow