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Libeinu bamizrach — our hearts are in the East. On October 7, what should have been a day of rejoicing and delight in Torah was turned to one of darkness and tragedy as we received the terrible news of terror and devastation in Israel. Our hearts ache for the loss of life, the pain and suffering, and the uncertainty cast over Israel. Hundreds of Israelis have been killed, with thousands wounded, thousands of rockets have bombarded Israel, and an unknown number of civilians and soldiers are being held hostage. 

We pray that this violence will end swiftly, that no more innocent lives are lost, and that Israel should know peace once again. We join our brothers and sisters in Israel in mourning the loss of life, and stand in solidarity with all those risking their lives to defend Israel. Am Yisrael Chai — the Jewish nation lives!

Learn how you can #StandWithIsrael:

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  • Israel Discussion Gatherings
    Fridays, 5:15-6:30 PM, Social Hall
    Join a member of the Beth Am clergy every Friday before the Erev Shabbat service for time to reflect, discuss and listen to one another as we navigate this terribly challenging time for Israel and Jews around the world.
  • Run for Their Lives Weekly Walk
    Sundays, 12:30 PM, Starting From Congregation Etz Chayim, Palo Alto

    Run for Their Lives is a global movement founded by Israelis in the Bay Area. Their mission is to raise awareness for the hostages held in Gaza. Each week, groups worldwide come together for family-friendly walks or runs lasting 18 minutes. Participants wear red shirts and carry flags representing the 28 nationalities of the hostages. So far there are 70+ groups across the globe, with new ones joining daily. Our Palo Alto group walks every Sunday at 12:30pm, meeting in front of Etz Chayim. Join the silent WhatsApp group for location updates and to participate.


  • A photo essay by a Beth Am congregant about visiting Kibbutz Nir Oz* in its formative years, then 40 years later
    In 1969, when my girlfriend, I and Nir Oz were young, we were tramping through Israel, while volunteering at a kibbutz. Our host family introduced us to their daughter and son-in-law, Nir Oz founders, who graciously hosted us, when the kibbutz was still very much in its formative stage — lots of mud and a perimeter of picketed guard dogs... READ the photo essay
    (*In the early morning hours of October 7, 2023, the Nir Oz community was invaded and destroyed by Hamas terrorists. About 80 Nir Oz residents were taken hostage in addition to countless murdered, out of a community of about 400. The surviving residents of Nir Oz are currently living in temporary housing. The authority responsible for the rehabilitation of Israeli communities affected by the Hamas attack has estimated that it will take two years to fully rebuild Nir Oz.)
  • The March for Israel in Washington, D.C. (11/14/2023)
  • URJ Webinar Recording on Resilience, Relief and Compassion (10/25/2023)
    Hear from family members of the hostages and harrowing stories from escapees from Kibbutzim of Shaar HaNegev. Learn more about the global Reform movement's work to provide relief, compassion and hope during this terrible time. WATCH
  • Global Reform Movement's Webinar of Solidarity (10/9/2023)
    Hear updates from our communities in the Shaar HaNegev and Gaza Areas. 


  • Calling All Knitters! Knit Caps for IDF Soldiers
    Rosann Palermo Fleischauer, a local published knitting entrepreneur, designer and industry consultant, has been working with her counterparts in Israel to knit 150,000 black wool caps for IDF soldiers to wear under their metal helmets (must not be acrylic for safety). She is reaching out to interested and concerned citizens to help in this effort. Please see the instructions document for further explanation, pattern, etc. for the project, and share with anyone that you think might be interested in helping. This is a useful and helpful gesture of support to Israeli troops at this difficult time.
  • Thank Governor Newson
    Join in the JCRC effort to thank Governor Gavin Newsom for his solidarity! Governor Newsom is being attacked for his visit to Israel. Thank him for his support during this time of conflict and terror. Write to thank Governor Newson.
  • Urge Congress to Help Release Hostages Held by Hamas
    Reach out to your lawmaker in Congress today to urge swift action to support the hostages, providing them medical care and negotiating their release. Congress must do everything in its power to ensure the immediate release of Americans as well as all of the hostages. Use the online form to send an email to your Senators and Representative. (The letter will autopopulate for your elected officials after you submit your contact information.)
  • Save a Seat for a Hostage at Your Shabbat Table
    Jewish tradition teaches us that it is our duty to work towards the release of the hostages. The Talmud calls this work a mitzvah rabbah, a great mitzvah. As we enter Shabbat this week, and each week until the captives are safely and securely returned, National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) invites you to use their kit to save a seat at your Shabbat table for one of the 200+ hostages still being held by Hamas in Gaza. LEARN MORE
  • Share your virtual messages with the Reform Movement in Israel. Outreach to family and friends in Israel is so needed and welcomed.  If you wish to leave a message of support or want to connect with one of the URJ's IMPJ congregations, please consider leaving a note on our virtual message board. Messages will be consolidated and sent.
  • Become an Ambassador
    Be the voices of those whose lives have been torn apart through the murder of their loved ones, those who are now being held by terrorist kidnappers for the “crime” of being Jewish, those facing critical injury, and for every single Israeli. The truth must be heard.



Stay informed of the situation as it continues to unfold. Arm yourself with real information directly from the ground. Get news from Israeli news sites. Reach out to loved ones, friends and colleagues who are in Israel to understand their experiences. Here are just a few credible news sources:


So many of us feel hopeless and distraught right now. Please be in touch with any of the clergy if you need support during this difficult time. We pray for the safety of our loved ones and all those who are in danger, the release of the hostages, the healing of the wounded, and the comfort of the mourners. May there be a swift end to this war.

Sun, December 10 2023 27 Kislev 5784