Jewish Community of Sedona and the Verde Valley Synagogue

Message from the Rabbi on Israel

Heartbreaking, shocking, unfathomable… The list of reactions in Israel, in our community, and around the world for peace-loving people continues.

We gathered on Simchat Torah, but tempered what was supposed to be a very joyous celebration of Simchat Torah – the reading of the last verses of the Torah and then the first verses of Genesis – as a solemnprocession with our sacred Torah scrolls as we rededicated ourselves to the safety and future of our people, in Israel and across the world.

We have mourned throughout history at the many instances of destruction, dispersion, and loss that ourpeople have suffered… and we have survived and thrived because of our faith and the strength of our tradition despite all of these difficult times. We joined together with our prayers for unity and peace for Israel.

We are constantly getting updates on the aftermath of the shocking infiltration of terrorist gunmen into communities near the Gaza border and the barrage of indiscriminate rocket fire against Israeli cities. The number reported is growing, of hundreds of civilians, including women, children, and elderly, as well as soldiers killed or taken as hostage, and thousands wounded. This is a devastating blow and trauma for their families, for the entire country, and for all of us in the diaspora. It is a crime against humanity.

Fifty years ago, I was in Jerusalem at the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War and could take active part in helping as part of the television station crew and neighborhood defense group. Itzhak was called up as a reserve soldier and served for many weeks. Today, 50 years later, I serve as rabbi of our congregation and ask what can we all do in support of Israel during this time of severe difficulty and need. In this week’s Torahportion, Bereishit, God asks Adam, Ayeka? Where are you? And we are each asked at this moment, Where are we and how are we showing up?

As a community, our priority is to lend support and assistance to the medical workers, first responders and other critical organizations and activists doing the vital work of assisting victims on the ground.

We are suggesting several organizations to which we can, should, must send money to aid the stricken families, since we cannot volunteer in person.

With a heavy heart and strong prayers we must never give up hope even in the face of evil and suffering,and must do everything in our power to help find another way forward. Am Yisrael chai. Israel will survive and live. Let us do our part even from far away.

Our hearts are united in support of Israel.

Rabbi Alicia Magal