Within the borders of our sovereign state, in our ancestral homeland where we have fought wars for generations, Jewish lives were stolen at the hands of barbarians, filled with hate.
The Jewish People are facing the deadliest attack on Jewish life since the Holocaust, a Simchat Torah pogrom which tore apart the lives of thousands of innocent Israelis.
There is not enough strength in a day to hear and internalize all the stories of pain, and the questions of concern.
We have agonized, and who knows what lay ahead. How long will it last, what pain still awaits our already aching hearts? Jews are under attack all over the world, fears are raised, and we all feel on edge.
How many more videos can we watch? How much more hasbara can be shared? How much more must we shout to demand that we, the Jewish People, have a right to live free - in our homeland and throughout the four corners of the universe to which we have been dispersed for 2000 years?
This event is of historical proportions and it is up to us to stand united, with our leaders and our communities, our families and friends, and become leaders ourselves in how we amplify our truth to the world.
This is not the first time in our history that our people have been faced with such darkness, but this time - we are armed with the miracle of an army of soldiers to protect and defend us, to fight for our right to live in freedom.
Those in Israel are living with the horrors of lost family members, children and husbands sent into battle, and the palpable fear of the infiltration of terror into our borders and our communities. Everyone has a loved one who was lost or is out defending our homeland. Friends, family, entire communities are experiencing an unprecedented tragedy.
And those of you abroad are living with the confusion and concern of being far away from the people and land that you love, and how to understand what you are seeing in the distorted and fragmented news
circulating in mainstream and social media. We are watching pro-Palestinian rallies pop up in major cities and local towns, and already Israelis and Jews around the world have also become targets.
We are all struggling to make sense and fight fear. To retain hope, and dream of how this nightmare will end. While the world sees the brutality of these monsters, many are silent, or blame Israel. Propagandized lies exacerbate the war, and carries it into the lives even of those of you not under direct attack. So what are we to do? We, who are at home with aching hearts and wanting to do more?
We must think about the thousands of years of suffering wrought against the Jews in every generation, and we must remember what held them strong: We must remember the source of our history, our identity, our faith and our nationhood. It is from the example of Avraham Avinu, who heard the call of Hashem and led us on our journey of self-discovery, that we can find direction today.
Just as our hearts are breaking, so, too must we find the ways to bring the sparks of light together and be the LIGHT that we are destined to be. Just as our faith and our home was built in the desert, the key to our survival is to remember the belonging we share. Now, when our strength is awakened by the awareness of our vulnerability, we must rise as the Blue and White Nation
and allow our determination and our pride to raise us up from our mourning and empower us to fight back.
The responsibility of this war rests on the murderers and their supporters - in Gaza and everywhere in the world - who demonize Israel, Jewish rights, and enable this act of war and it is up to us all to make sure the truth is being told. There are the activists and the advocates doing the important work needing to be done, and then there is YOU - the Virtual Citizen of Israel
who feels like your heart is breaking along with all the families of the victims of this siege on innocent Jewish life. We must unite in support and prayer for those on the front lines, those taken behind enemy lines, and all those already no longer with us. Hashem will help Israel bring justice. What we do, what we say, matters... and may our prayers be answered.
We hope our resources
help you and your families as you try to confront and cope with the range of emotions and frustrations, and your feeling of wanting to do something meaningful. We welcome your letters and artwork
to share with the families in the south and with our soldiers on the battlefield. And we hope that you will join us and donate to the emergency efforts
in place that are reaching the people directly.
FOR REFLECTION AND DISCUSSION:
- This horrific event is of epic historical proportion and significance and the worst attack against Jews since the Holocaust. But many people do not want to make the comparison with the Holocaust. How can we use the lessons we have learned without minimizing the uniqueness of the massacre on October 7 or that of the Holocaust experience of systematic persecution and extermination?
- While the world sees the brutality of these monsters, many are silent or blame Israel. The silence while watching Jews get maligned with propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation and then persecuted or beaten up is not new to our long lessons of collective Jewish memories and lessons. How can we counter the silence in our immediate communities and networks more effectively?
- Jews around the world are under attack from a generally hostile media and strident Anti-Semitism worldwide. This is not the first time in history that the media has played an active role in spreading lies about Jews or Israel. Why is media bias acceptable when it comes to Jews in particular?
- How do those living abroad manage the media barrage of anti-Israel sentiment and the pervasive social media that are deriding and dehumanizing Israel and the Jewish people on an ongoing basis?
- How do the pro-Palestinian rallies impact your lives in major cities and local towns where Israelis and Jews around the world have also become targets?
- How would you work to stem the growth of antisemitic bias in your school or community, in a grassroots and personal way?
- How do you see yourself or your kids confronting the challenges of being a Jew in the Diaspora today?
- How can using your identity as a Virtual Citizen of Israel help make a difference?