July 11, 2014 - From Rabbi Samuel M. Cohon

Dear Friends,

Having just returned from Israel right before this crisis exploded, I can tell you that during our travels throughout the Holy Land in mid-June on the 4th Temple Emanu-El Pilgrimage it was as beautiful and peaceful as I have seen Israel in a long time. It is an incredibly vibrant, wonderful place.

And now, things are shocking and terrible.

Our thoughts and prayers are with our brothers and sisters in Israel, undaunted but experiencing the fear of incoming rockets and the necessity of rushing into bomb shelters at a moment's notice in virtually any place in Israel. We feel for them, we pray for their safety, and we admire their fortitude, courage, and amazing ability to carry on normal lives in what is now, in effect, a war zone. May the damage to human life and property in Israel be minimal, and may everyone be able to return to safety and security soon. May their incredible resiliency, and their ability to live fully in the face of terror, prove again to outlast the enemy's evil designs.

We also have sympathy for the residents of Gaza, who are generally very poor, and are now subject to bombing and constant fear. Living under the reign of an incompetent Islamist fascist regime like Hamas has degraded their lives, and now they are trapped in a war zone.

May God bring an end to the rain of rockets on Israel, and safety return to our beautiful, sacred homeland of the heart. May its citizens and soldiers come home in security. And may the residents of Gaza, too, experience the end of this conflict speedily and soon. Our own URJ sent out this Prayer for Peace this morning. We offer it here:

Prayer for Peace
Karyn Kedar

Holy One of blessing,
we pray for the soldiers
who are called to defend all God's children.
Keep them safe. When they are weary
give them strength.
When they are scared give them courage.
May they find strength and faith in the days ahead.

Holy One of blessing,
we pray for the people of Israel and all peoples
who long to live under your canopy of peace.
Keep them safe. When they are threatened
protect them from harm.
When they are wounded and bereaved
grant them healing and comfort.
May they find strength and courage in the days ahead.

May our voices carry prayers of hope
that the people of Israel
know that they are not alone.

Dear God,
give us strength
and know that there is nothing more sacred than peace.
Grant us dear God,
Faith. Courage. Wisdom.


Please join us for Shabbat services tonight at 5:45 PM, when I will speak about Israel in greater depth. Our services are also live streamed on our website here.


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