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Update from the Reform Movement in Israel:

Connecting to Israel

"My heart is in the east, and I am in the uttermost west." Yehuda haLevi, 12th century

Our on-going opportunities (updated 10/30/2023):
Our hearts are heavy with the devastation that is happening in our homeland of Israel. As a Temple community, our leadership would like to offer the congregation opportunities to connect and to process what we are all going through:
  • a spiritual response - This Friday, October 13th (7:30), will be our Israel Solidarity Shabbat - a chance to come together and pray for peace. 
  • a community response - We are creating an opportunity to share how we feel tied to Israel, in words and in pictures. There will be card paper available in the office for your written words, or use this link to share via an online form - . Submissions will be displayed in the Temple lobby.
  • a response for our children - In addition to adding Israel to our prayers in our Tuesday t'fillah, we are working on a project for our students to share cards and pictures with peers in our Federation sister communities of Arad and Tamar. (See the links below for information on how parents can talk with their children.)
  • a security response - While we have received no word of a credible or specific threat, Scotch Plains police have stepped up patrols of Jewish institutions, and we remain in contact with local authorities and the Federation security office.
  • an informational response - We recommend the following upcoming webinars with updates about the current situation and the background:
    • Educational Session - Background on the War in Israel, Thursday, October 19, 7:30pm on Zoom. Watch Zoom recording here.
    • Temple Sholom - Israel Conversations 7:30 Tuesdays on Zoom - 12/5 - Where are we Now? - register here. 12/12 - Israel Conversations - Expressing your Judaism - register here.
  • a financial response - The Reform movement has recommended that we not create separate funds but, for the moment, all combine our donations to the national Jewish Federation United Fund, which you can access through our Federation here. We will continue our research and, as Israel works to rebuild, share other special projects.
  • a personal response - On Monday's Reform movement webinar, our Israeli leaders recommended that we reach out to those Israelis that we know - by calling and texting, rather than e-mail. (Long-time congregant and Federation leader, Gerry Flanzbaum, has been in touch from his home in Israel, and has asked us to work as a congregation to strengthen our ties to Israel.) We also recommend reaching out to friends who have family living in Israel.
  •  a long-term response - We hope to create an Israel Support task force to build and strengthen our congregational family's ties to our family in Israel. Let us know if you are interested in being a part of this effort.
The pictures that we see and the stories that we hear are horrifying, and they represent real people in real life. Let us not be paralyzed by grief and fear, but reach out to connect.
Seek the peace of Jerusalem,
Rabbi Joel N. Abraham                       Bill Nadel, President
Cantor Darcie Naomi Sharlein            Officers and Trustees of Temple Sholom
Limor Guttman, Director of Education


News and Current Information Sources:
US & International:
  • Jewish Telegraph Agency ( - creator and collector of Jewish and Israel related news stories from around the world.  Generally neutral. You can sign up for an e-mail newsletter.
  • The Forward ( - newsletter of record for the American Jewish community, sometimes slanted toward its socialist roots, leans left, often skeptical of legacy Jewish institutions. Has paywall as well as e-mail newsletter.
Israeli (see this list for more details)


From Members & Friends


Talking to Children

  • Jewish Education Project conversation with Dr. Sivan Zakai (1 hour video, very good) LINK
  • "Walking the Tightrope: Talking About the Current Situation in Israel with Children" - article by Dr. Sivan Zakai in Jewish Journal - LINK
  • Resource for talking to teens from Moving Traditions - LINK
  • Answers to 6th graders questions from a Forward article - LINK

Resources for Families

  • KVeller: How to talk with children about Israel right now LINK
  • NewCAJE: Informative sheet for talking to children about the war in Israel LINK
  • The Union for Reform Judaism: How to talk with children about conflict in Israel LINK
  • Common Sense Media: How to talk with children about violence crime and war LINK
  • PJ Library: How to talk to children about scary situations LINK
  • Child Mind Org: Helping children cope with trauma LINK
  • USA Today: Navigating Social Media LINK
  • AJC sponsored webinar on how parents can advocate for their children Monday, October 16, 8pm. register here.

 Context and History:

Wed, May 22 2024 14 Iyar 5784