November 17, 2023
This week we entered the month of Kislev, during which many of us will gather to celebrate Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. It is difficult to reconcile the sadness and heaviness we feel right now with these holidays of family, togetherness, and joy.
We are reeling from the horror of the attacks on October 7th, and from increased antisemitism worldwide. We grieve for Israel’s fallen and wounded. We grieve for our families and friends in harm’s way, and we pray for the safety of those serving in the IDF, and for the hostages who have still not been returned home. We also feel deeply the pain of thousands of innocent people – Palestinian and Israeli – who have lost their lives, their livelihoods, and their communities due to the conflict.
As a member of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Community Center Association, the JCA supports the sovereign, democratic State of Israel. It also supports a two-state solution.
Even as we support Israel in its efforts to extinguish Hamas, many in our community not only feel deeply the pain and the weight of war, but also the pain of alienation from others who disagree about specific strategies, political decisions, and tactics. For some, the ferocity of Israel’s response conflicts with deeply held beliefs about Israel’s role as a light among the nations. As difficult as it is, we recognize that it is in differences of opinion, and in our ability to truly wrestle with our values, that our strength as a people can be found. Indeed, it is in the struggle to maintain our values in the face of adversity that our character must stand firm.
We are a small but mighty community, and we draw strength from one another. As an organization that works to build a community in which Jews are safe to live proudly and feel at home, we seek ways to engage sensitively, productively, and respectfully in this time of crisis. There is a diversity of opinions, perspectives, and beliefs in our community, but the Jewish values that drive our commitments can help us bridge any divide. Our differences will never be greater than the power of what we share.
No matter how we kindle our lights this year, we know that standing together, we shine more brightly than any darkness.
Molly Curren Rowles, Executive Director
Stuart Piltch, JCA Board President