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From Rav Shai: A Recap and a Request

03/04/2024 03:00:37 PM

Mar4

Israel

On February 25, close to one hundred people sat in rapt attention as four survivors of the October 7th pogrom recounted their personal horror stories. Their accounts were searing. We heard stories that have not been widely publicized in the American media, including that after the first wave of Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel, subsequent waves of “civilians” entered Israel to ransack, pillage, and rape in what can only be described as “wilding.” The ensuing trauma inflicted on these survivors included the death of their dreams of peaceful coexistence.

Nevertheless, we also experienced the resilience of these kibbutzniks who vowed to return and rebuild. We have assembled a task force at AJ to do all we can to support their bravery and commitment. Specifically, in the coming months we will be looking for ways to strengthen the personal connections between our two communities. If you’d like to serve on this task force, be in touch with me.

In the meantime, there are critical needs which are currently underfunded. To date, AJ has donated more than $5,000 towards the support of Kibbutz Kfar Azza. Those funds will be directed towards Children’s Therapy programs. If you would like to donate, click here.

Shortly after the October pogrom, AJ went into action and raised $115,000 for an ambulance through Magen David Adom. In the intervening four months, we waited to see where we might focus our efforts anew. With Kibbutz Kfar Azza, that search ends. There are both short-term challenges and long-term visions with which we can help, and not just financially. Click here for the Kfar Azza Foundation’s Project Directory which offers a 26-page summary.    

The earliest fundraising drive in Jewish history began with an “ask” from the holy One: “Tell the Israelite people to bring Me gifts; you shall accept gifts for Me from every person whose heart is so moved.” The drive was so successful that it had to be called off: “The people are bringing more than is needed for the tasks entailed in the work that Adonai has commanded to be done.” Moses thereupon had this proclamation made throughout the camp: “Let no man or woman make further effort toward gifts for the sanctuary!” So the people stopped bringing: their efforts had been more than enough for all the tasks to be done.

We’re not there, yet. The divine dwelling remains unfinished. As Pirkei Avot reminds us, we don’t have to finish the job, but that doesn’t excuse us from contributing to the task.

Fri, April 19 2024 11 Nisan 5784