Our Continued Solidarity with Israel

As we are approaching almost 60 days since Hamas attacked Israel and murdered over 1,200 Israelis, this moment carries a lot of uncertainty and tension. We rejoice at the return of each hostage but remain frustrated and angry by the ongoing hostage situation and the lack of global support in recognizing that Hamas must be removed from Gaza. We also mourn the lives of four hostages reported earlier today by the IDF: Eliyahu Margalit, Mia Goren, Ronen Engel, and Aryeh Zalmanovich. May their memories be a blessing.

Throughout this war, in the face of trauma and devastation, our local and global Jewish community has shown resilience, strength, and solidarity. The interconnectedness of the global Jewish people has perhaps never been as clear as it is right now. This is especially evident as we rally in our support of those in Israel, and as the conflict between Israel and Hamas has led to an increase in antisemitism around the world and in our own community.

This week, that support empowered Federation to lead a Rabbinic Solidarity Mission to Israel, bringing eight rabbis from across DC, MD, and Northern VA to directly observe the destruction of October 7th, better understand the evolving situation on the ground, and convey our community’s support for the Israeli people.

The group met with Israel’s President Isaac Herzog and US Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew, visited Hostage Square in Tel Aviv (the center of gathering in support of the hostage families), and with leaders from organizations supported by Federation’s Israel Crisis Response grants, including the Israel Trauma Coalition.

Mission participants with Federation's Israel Crisis Relief Fund recipient, Israel Trauma Coalition.

As Rabbi Raskin of Congregation Har Shalom shared, “What is truly remarkable and uplifting amidst all of the grief is the spirit of unity, generosity, hospitality, and kindness that ‘regular’ Israelis are showing one another… The way these Israelis have been cared for by each other is truly miraculous.”

Today, as the impact of this war continues to reverberate beyond Israel, we and our rabbinic colleagues will use the learnings from this opportunity, and many others, to continue caring for those who need us. As antisemitism around the world, including in Greater Washington, continues to rise, we remain committed to both securing and uplifting our community. And as we do so, we will continue to foster the interconnectedness that has always sustained the Jewish people.

Shabbat Shalom,

Gil Preuss
CEO, The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington