Co-Directors' Message on the Situation in Israel and GazaPosted Mon, 10/09/2023 - 16:11 by Lazzaro
Dear members and friends,
Our hearts are broken as we begin this week with news of horrific violence in Israel and Gaza. The barbaric terrorist attack on innocent lives, including the murder, kidnapping and desecration of women and children, challenges our sense of humanity to the core. Words fail us at times like these. These horrific events have been swiftly condemned by religious leaders across the UK, but we are all gripped by the unfolding war in Southern Israel and Gaza and an uncertain future.
More personally, we know that many readers of this newsletter will have emerged from what is usually a joyous festival and have spent the weekend anxiously awaiting news from loved ones in Israel. The WhatsApp messaging groups from our Israel-Palestine study tours, and our interfaith networks, have been pinging with messages of concern. Above all else, CCJ is here to encourage mutual support and understanding, and we hope that you find a supportive community in the days and weeks ahead.
For those wondering how they can put words into action, please check in on your Jewish friends and colleagues. For those based in London a vigil is being held by the JLC and Board of Deputies today opposite Downing Street at 5pm. For people in Manchester, there is a Jewish Community Vigil for Israel on Wednesday 11th at 5pm outside Central Library in St Peter's Square.
There is also an opportunity to attend a moment of prayer and reflection online: HaMakom invite everyone affected by the tragedies of this weekend to take some time to sit silently in community, sharing a form of prayer, for peace and comfort, on Wednesday 11th October at 19:30 (UK time) at this link.
To learn more about organisations taking action to support those directly impacted and relocate families from high risk areas see this list here: https://olamtogether.org/israeli-organizations-responding-to-the-attack-on-israel/.
Security for Jewish communities and schools is heightened at this time and we ask that any suspicious vehicles or actions outside spaces is reported swiftly to CST and the Police. We have already begun to see attacks on Kosher restaurants and graffiti in highly populated Jewish areas here in London. This will no doubt cause great stress and strain for Jewish community members within our network and we call on all CCJ members to support one another during these difficult days.
Unfortunately, this is likely to get far worse before it gets better and we deplore any further bloodshed in the region and pray for a swift end to this recent escalation.
We close with words from two of our Presidents:
'We pray for those who are mourning, those who are injured, and all those fearing for their safety', wrote the Archbishops of Canterbury and York in a joint statement.
The Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis wrote: 'May He who makes peace in high places bring peace to us and to all Israel'.
Georgina and Nathan