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Reflections on the Masorti Mission to Israel

11/13/2023 02:35:27 PM

Nov13

Rabbi Micah Peltz

Dear TBS Family, 

This past Shabbat I spoke about my experience in Israel on the Masorti Movement Leadership Solidarity Mission. It was a very difficult yet important few days. I witnessed both the terrible destruction of lives and property wrought by Hamas terrorists on October 7, and also the incredible resilience of Israeli society. You can watch the video of my reflections from the trip that I shared at services this past Shabbat by clicking here.   

Before I left, I asked our community for $10,000 in donations to help support our brothers and sisters in Israel. I was overwhelmed by your incredibly generous response, which brought in almost $80,000 in tzedakah for Israel! What an amazing community we have that understands our responsibility to help Israel during this challenging time. Thank you to everyone who donated, I am so grateful. We are allocating these funds to the following people and organizations whose wonderful work I witnessed first-hand while in Israel: 

The Masorti Movement – Our movement in Israel is doing incredible work supporting refugees from the South and families of hostages. It is also supporting rabbis in communities across Israel who are on the frontlines of helping people in need.   

Brothers and Sisters for Israel – This is a 100% civilian volunteer operation so that every dollar donated goes directly and entirely to the actual goods and services that are needed. We visited one of the warehouses that is located in a parking garage in Tel Aviv (to keep safe from missiles), and saw their incredible operation that supplies needs for soldiers and displaced families. This is also where I donated the thermal clothing and portable chargers that I brought with me to Israel.   

The Schechter Institute – Students and faculty are providing spiritual care hotlines, emergency educational programming for displaced families, and also volunteering to help in the town of Ofakim, which was attacked by Hamas terrorists, with whom they have a long relationship.   

 Bring Them Home Now – This organization is dedicated to advocating for the release of the 242 Israeli hostages being held by Hamas. In addition to recording stories about each hostage (which you can see here), they also provide resources for families, including mental health counseling, legal help, diplomatic resources, and food.   

 Rebuild Kfar Aza – We visited this kibbutz that is on the border with Gaza and saw the desecration and destruction that was perpetrated by Hamas there on October 7.   

 Kehilat Ma’ayanot – The Masorti/Conservative movement has paired communities in the Diaspora with communities in Israel. This is our Sister Synagogue, and with whom we will learn more at a Zoom lunch and learn on Tuesday, November 21 at 12:30pm. They have adopted Shanee Benkin, a private citizen in Israel, who is doing amazing work to help families in Israel.   

Additionally, because of your generosity, I was able to provide direct support to families we met who were displaced and to trusted rabbinic colleagues helping those in need. We also will use some funds to help support the 20 Israeli refugee students and families that Kellman Brown Academy has welcomed into their school. As well as Jewish Family and Children’s Service that continues to provide support and mental health services for many in our community, and to the Jewish Federation of Southern New Jersey Israel Emergency Fund.    

 I am so proud of our TBS community for the amount of tzedakah we raised and also the important advocacy work we have done and will continue to do. We will continue to encourage our government representatives to support Israel through AIPAC and also by attending the March for Israel Rally in Washington, DC tomorrow. At the same time, we will also keep working with the JCRC and the ADL to fight antisemitism in our own country.   

 As we say at the Passover Seder, each generation must confront its own challenges with antisemitism. This is our time to fight back against the ignorance and hatred that is all too prevalent today. I believe that we are up to the challenge. Thank you for your support and your commitment to Israel and our Jewish community.   

 B’Yahad N’natzei’ah – Together we will prevail, 

 Rabbi Micah J. Peltz

Sun, March 3 2024 23 Adar I 5784