From the Rabbis Shtender – Parshat Vayera
We find ourselves in this critical moment, a moment that calls for unwavering support and strength for Israel. It is disheartening to witness the immense hatred and anger directed towards Israel on college campuses across the United States and cities throughout Europe. However, it is equally inspiring to see the unwavering support and encouragement from our non-Jewish allies. Our elected officials, including Governor Lombardo and Senators Cortez Masto and Rosen, as well as U.S. Representatives Lee, Titus, Horsford, and Amodei, have all publicly expressed their support for Israel and condemned Hamas.
There is much we can do to make a difference. This Sunday night, our community will be hosting a sheloshim memorial service at the Clark County Amphitheater to honor the civilians and soldiers who tragically lost their lives on October 7th. We extend a warm welcome to everyone and encourage your attendance. To obtain more information and register for the event, please click here. Kindly note that registration is required, and there is no charge for attendance.
While our elected officials have demonstrated their support, we must continue to voice our opinions and express gratitude for their unwavering backing. Senators pay close attention to the calls they receive on specific matters. You can reach Senator Jacky Rosen's Washington Office at 202-224-6244 or her local office at 702-388-0205. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto's Washington office can be reached at 202-224-3542, or locally at 702-388-5020. To find your specific House Representative, please refer to the online directory.
As mentioned last week, I am planning a trip to Israel with a group of rabbis from various parts of the United States. I wanted to reach out to all of you and request donations for items urgently needed in Israel. However, after consulting with my contacts there, I have learned that the most pressing requirement is military gear that individuals are prohibited from bringing into the country. Therefore, they have advised that monetary donations would be the most effective way to provide support, as they can use these funds to acquire the necessary gear through official channels in Israel.
I have decided to focus on a specific project that holds personal significance for me. During my gap year in 1986-87, I lived and volunteered on Kibbutz Saad in Shaar Henegev, located just ten kilometers from the Gaza border. Unfortunately, two members of the kibbutz were killed while defending other areas on October 7th, although the terrorists were unable to infiltrate Saad itself due to the efforts of the internal security force. As a result, several buildings were damaged, and their network of fields and factories had to be shut down. The entire kibbutz has been evacuated to a hotel at the Dead Sea, including 1,100 residents, including 350 children aged 3-18, as well as a youth group and a boarding school for girls from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, which currently has 40 students.
According to the kibbutz, their most urgent need is to establish an educational system, both formal and informal. For the past three weeks, they have been conducting their kindergarten and school programs in public areas of the hotel or even outdoors, weather permitting. This Sunday, the kibbutz managed to acquire some tents, which will be set up in the hotel's parking lot and front area to serve as "classrooms." This will help create more organized spaces and reduce friction between kibbutz members and the children who often run and sit in the corridors.
Another program that requires significant support is the Hevrat No'ar, a youth group of over 40 girls from economically disadvantaged homes who live and study in their boarding school on the kibbutz. This endeavor, initiated by the kibbutz in the 1980s, holds significant Zionist value. However, it requires substantial resources to ensure its success. To provide some perspective, the weekly cost of running this program, including materials, food, and accommodations, amounts to nearly $12,000, not including staff salaries. Considering the prediction that it will take months for the kibbutz to return to normalcy, the costs associated with running this program in the current emergency are substantial, and the Ministry of Education does not cover them adequately.
I am reaching out to you for assistance. If you are seeking a tangible way to support those affected on the ground in Israel, this is an ideal opportunity. 100 percent of your donations will go directly to assisting the families on Kibbutz Saad. If you are interested, please donate directly to my discretionary fund by Thursday, November 9th, and I will ensure that the funds reach them.
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