Welcome to Beth Israel Congregation. A place for you, a place for your family. A place to increase your Jewish knowledge, to grow spiritually, and nourish your Jewish soul. A place for children preschool through college-age to flourish and to grow into vital Jewish adults. A place for parents and other family members to share Jewish holiday and life-cycle events. A place for all to grow, learn and explore. Be a part of a of a dynamic community.
Beth Israel is a place to come home to, again and again.
A Message From Rabbi Goldstein
While travelling for the past few weeks, I could have never imagined how many impactful events for us as Jews would occur. First, the brutal terrorist murders of three Yeshivah students in the West Bank and the ugly condemnable revenge actions by a few Jews against a young Arab teen in its wake. And then unending rockets (over 2300 as of now), leading to Operation Protective Edge. Some of our Teens on a BZD trip experienced first-hand the frightening nature of sirens going off, crouching down in the bus, as missiles flew toward Israel. One of the true miracles is that there have been so few Israeli civilian casualties. Of course, Israel had a hand in these miracles, spending huge amounts on shelters for its citizens.
We feel helpless. We watch the news, we check the internet constantly, and we worry. We see the sorrow with the death of every Israeli soldier, thousands turning out to mourn them. And with the increasing number of innocent civilians in Gaza killed by Israeli airstrikes, we cringe as well. We know what Israel has to do to protect itself, but we hate having to do it.
In addition, this operation has exposed an extensive and dangerous threat to Israeli soldiers and civilians: terror tunnels, dozens, if not hundreds of them. The purpose of the tunnels is NOT to shelter Gazans from air attacks but to store missiles and to kill Jews; their purpose is to allow Hamas to infiltrate into Israel and kidnap Israelis, as it did with Gilad Shalit and murder children and families. We had no idea that there were so many tunnels, and so widespread. And we are grateful that the IDF is finding and attempting to destroy them. For a moving video of what it is like day by day living in a Kibbutz close to Gaza, I would encourage you to watch this short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqonroORsSA
We are grateful that much of the world supports Israel’s self-defense, but our experience is that their patience will wear thin as casualties mount.
There are some things that we can do:
We can stay informed – we can check websites like www.ynetnews.com, and www.timesofisrael.com, and read the news and the op-eds, and inform our opinions and speak and make Israel’s case to your friends and neighbors. Some have even installed, the Red Alert app, which gives you real time alerts every time a terrorist fires rockets, mortars or missiles into the State of Israel. AIPAC has also put together a policy memo that has been sent to members of Congress. This fact sheet helps clarify some of the issues involved in the current confrontation. Here’s a recent piece by Michael Oren that sums up one of the media aspects of this war: http://edition.cnn.com/2014/07/21/opinion/oren-hamas-media-strategy/index.html
The Associated has created an Israel Emergency Fund mailbox: Baltimore Stands With Israel for donations to helps Israeli civilians – with trauma counseling, with safe places for children to play, with respite care for those Israelis under constant bombardment. Here’s the online link: https://secure.ujcfederations.org/ft2/form.html?__id=29415. You can also use this website to send messages to residents of our sister city of Ashkelon.
Our community has been asked to wear blue on FRIDAY, JULY 25, to show support and solidarity of our friends in Israel. Post pictures of you, your friends, family and colleagues using this sign and the hashtag #BaltimoreStandsWithIsrael.
Please also contact your legislators to thank them for their unwavering support of Israel's right to defend herself. Click here to find your elected officials.
The Masorti (Conservative) Movement has also set up an emergency campaign at http://mail.aol.com/38664-816/aol-6/en-us/suite.aspx. Please direct your contributions to our sister synagogue in Ashkelon, Netzach Yisrael.
Now would be the time to reach out to friends and family with words of support and comfort. Israelis are generally stoic in nature. They will tell you that life goes on, things are normal. But they are also deeply worried about their son, or their neighbor’s son, who has just been called up to go to Gaza. They will appreciate your support.
And finally, a traditional Jewish response to any event is prayer- prayers of thanksgiving, and of course prayers for peace.
I share with you a piece written many years ago by Shlomit Grossberg of Jerusalem when she was 13 years old. Her prayer has yet to be fulfilled, but it expresses our most heartfelt desire since the State of Israel was founded until today.
A Prayer for Peace
What shall I ask You for, God?
I have everything.
There's nothing I lack.
I ask only for one thing
And not for myself alone;
It's for many mothers, and children, and fathers -
Not just in this land, but in many lands hostile to each other.
I'd like to ask for Peace.
Yes, it's Peace I want,
And You, You won't deny the single wish of a child.
You created the Land of Peace,
Where stands the City of Peace,
Where stood the Temple of Peace,
But where still there is no Peace...
What shall I ask You for, God? I have everything.
Peace is what I ask for,
We continue to pray for a time when all children and all families – Israeli and Palestinian, can sleep peacefully in their beds at night.
Rabbi Jay R Goldstein
Please join us in welcoming Rabbi Rachel Blatt
Director of Lifelong Learning to our Beth Israel Community!
As Director of Lifelong Learning, Rabbi Blatt will:
- Develop educational programs for adults, families and children of all ages
- Develop meaningful Shabbat experiences for families and children
- Oversee our award-winning Youth Programs
- Work closely with our Religious School and assume responsibility for the school in the 2015-2016 school year
- Serve as a resource to our Beth Israel community
Rabbi Blatt has expertise in formal and informal Jewish education, and has served as the Assistant Director of a Religious School, a Judaics educator for adults, children and families, as well as the head of Judaics for Camp Ramah. She holds a Masters in Rabbinic Studies and a Masters of Arts in Jewish Education as well as ordination from the Zeigler School of Rabbinic Studies, American Jewish University.
Rabbi Blatt is in the process of relocating to Owings Mills with her husband, Rabbi Marc Blatt and their twin 4 year old daughters.
HOLD THE DATE!
Celebrate Shabbat with Rabbi Blatt on September 5-6, 2014. More details to follow.
Friday Night Kabbalat Shabbat