By Rabbi Yerachmiel D. Fried
Our hearts are all bleeding and we’re in a state of shock as the horrific reports of the brutal murders of so, so many of our beloved brethren continue to pour in. With nine children and children-in-law and 10 grandchildren currently in Israel, I feel particularly close to this terrible situation.
Many ask what can we do, what is our job as American Jews who are not able to join the fight directly? (Our respect is boundless for the many Israeli compatriots returning to Israel to enlist in the conflict!)
1. Prayer. This is the timeless Jewish response from time immemorial, with the realization that every prayer counts. Whether said in the words of the Psalmist through Tehillim or a heartfelt prayer in one’s own words beseeching the Almighty for the deliverance of our people from danger, it is all heard and accepted from Above and makes a difference.
2. Go to synagogue or pray as a community. Community prayer is very powerful; be part of it.
3. Respond generously to the efforts to raise funds for the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces), providing the gear sorely needed as the reserves are called up for war. Also, donate to ZAKA to aid their crucial efforts to afford a proper burial and gathering of the remains of the holy martyrs.
4. Reach out to your senators, congressmen and elected officials to make a strong statement of support for Israel at this time and to support efforts to fund the war effort by Congress.
5. Make a special effort to perform acts of loving kindness to fellow Jews. (That includes, especially, close family members!) The destruction of our Temple and exile were caused by hatred among fellow Jews. Israel has recently been struck by an unprecedented wave of hatred among fellow Jews and now…this…. We’re not prophets but we are taught that such acts make a global impact and an act of kindness can go so far in putting the Jewish people back onto the right path.
May our efforts bear fruit and may Hashem keep our troops and all of the residents of Israel safe. And may we soon see the downfall of our enemies and eternal peace and prosperity for the Jews of Israel and the world.
Rabbi Yerachmiel Fried is dean of DATA–Dallas Area Torah Association.