In this week’s newsletter, we feature two heartfelt messages from our community members, Reut Baror, Kaiserman JCC Vice President, and Lihi Moskow, Robert J. Wilf Preschool and Kindergarten teacher, sharing their personal experiences during these challenging times. Reut reflects on the ongoing crisis in Israel and the unity of the Israeli and Jewish communities, while Lihi shares a deeply personal story of her cousins and the devastating events at Kibbutz Nir Oz. Their messages emphasize the strength of our community, the importance of support, and the power of coming together in times of adversity. Please read on to connect with their stories and discover how you can make a difference. Also, please find information about events, and community resources on our website here.
Reut Baror, Vice President, Kaiserman JCC
In the early hours of Saturday, October 7th, around 5 am, my sleep was disrupted. I had likely been awake even before that, struggling to fall back asleep, but a sense of restlessness was troubling me. I felt that something was amiss. Eventually, I woke up and reached for my phone to check the time. What I found on our family WhatsApp group was a message from my eldest son, who lives in Israel: “Mom, dad – we are at war.” I immediately woke up my husband, and we called our son, followed by our mothers and the rest of our families in Israel. Since then, it has been a whirlwind of emotions, marked by disbelief and profound sadness, not only for us personally but also for the Israeli and Jewish communities worldwide and in Israel.
Since that fateful Saturday morning, the State of Israel has come under attack. We are facing a brutal, barbaric, and inhumane terrorist organization – not a government, not a legitimate entity, but a terror organization. Hamas has mercilessly killed and maimed innocent civilians, including the elderly, men, women, and children. They have carried out heinous acts, such as the mass murder of young people attending a music festival meant to celebrate peace. They have subjected women to sexual violence, parading them as trophies. They have desecrated the bodies of civilians and soldiers, tortured children, and conducted mass murders, even targeting infants in their parents’ arms, the elderly in their wheelchairs, and even Holocaust survivors who have been abducted and held hostage.
The numbers are beyond comprehension – as of now, over 1,200 Israelis have been brutally killed by Hamas, and more than 3,200 have been wounded. Meanwhile, Hamas has fired over 5,000 rockets at Israel. These are nothing short of war crimes, committed by an organization with a stated goal of killing Jews and eradicating the state of Israel.
In this moment, I feel a stronger sense of unity than ever before as I witness our Israeli and Jewish communities coming together. The people of Israel are standing as one. Whole communities are mobilizing their resources to collect donations, whether monetary, food, or equipment. They are offering emotional support, organizing rallies, engaging in information campaigns, and reaching out to other communities. Individuals and organizations, spanning generations, are working side by side toward a common goal – a triumphant Israel and the well-being of the Jewish people.
I experienced your warm embrace at the rally on Monday at the JCC, which was organized by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia and many of our local organizations. It was heartening to see so many of you there, offering your unwavering love and support for Israel.
To quote President Biden, “We must be clear – WE STAND WITH ISRAEL!”. This is a time for action, and it will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. We, as a resilient nation, know how to rise from the ashes, and we will emerge from this ordeal even stronger, more united, and standing together.
Am Israel Chai,
VP Board of Directors Kaiserman JCC
Lihi Moskow, Teacher, Robert J. Wilf Preschool and Kindergarten
As you may know, my cousins Dolev and Arbel, along with Arbel’s boyfriend were kidnapped on Saturday. Dolev’s wife and their three little children, and my cousin Netta, his wife and baby daughter survived the attack. Like them many kibbutz members lost their families, houses and all of their belongings.
Below there is a a message from the victims of Kibbutz Nir Oz and a link for donations that will help the kibbutz rebuild.
Kibbutz Nir Oz in Israel underwent a horrific massacre. In the early morning hours of October 7th, 2023, dozens of terrorists attacked the kibbutz residents who fought them with their bare hands until the military arrived only many hours later. Families hid in their homes trying to stay silent while the terrorists burned their houses down on them. Dozens were murdered, suffocated by smoke or kidnapped to the Gaza Strip. Dozens are still missing. The survivors are being evacuated today for an unknown amount of time. Their vehicles were burnt and many houses were destroyed to the ground. Any donation will be helpful.