Shabbat Shalom from CEO Nora Gorenstein

Dear Friend,

Today, following the end of Passover and the preceding Shabbat, is an opportunity for reflection and action as we consider recent events and how we will respond, individually and as a community.

The idea of Shabbat is repeated throughout the Torah, highlighting the meaning and purpose of this weekly holiday. It is not enough just to remember Shabbat; we are commanded also to observe the holiday and (to paraphrase) make it our own. This coming Tuesday, the modern Day of Holocaust Remembrance (Yom Hashoah) will take place in communities around the world, including here in Western Massachusetts. On Tuesday, we will not only remember historical events; we will come together in recognition of the fact that antisemitism is not just history, but an everyday reality around the world and also here in Western Massachusetts.

Especially given recent events in our local community as described in the Daily Hampshire Gazette and the Forward, and our ongoing proactive campaign as part of #StandUpToJewishHate, now is the time to join together with those in our local Jewish, interfaith, and secular communities to recognize and directly address hatred and bigotry. Read about the upcoming events by clicking here. Also, to learn more about the importance of Holocaust education, click here for an informative article.

Updates and reminders from our national network:

In the last week, four individuals have tragically died in terror attacks; they include two British-Israeli sisters, Rina and Maya Dee, their mother, Lucy Dee, and an Italian tourist, Alessandro Parini. We mourn with their families and send them our deepest sympathies. A recording of Lucy Dee’s funeral, which took place on Tuesday, can be viewed here.

The beginning days of the Passover festival were also blighted by rocket attacks by Hamas from both Gaza and Lebanon, followed by a volley of missiles from Syria on Saturday night. The attacks followed conflicts between Israeli police and tens of thousands of Muslim worshippers who had come to the Temple Mount to observe Ramadan. In response to the attacks, the IDF launched strikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, Southern Lebanon, and Syria.

Jewish Federations are closely monitoring the situation and are working in collaboration with our core partners, the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Joint Distribution Committee, and the Israel Trauma Coalition. For our latest update on the conflict, click here.

On Monday night, Jewish Federations convened a gathering of major Jewish organizations to meet with Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid in New York to discuss the domestic crisis in Israel over the Likud government’s controversial judicial reform plan. For news coverage of the meeting, click here. Also, Eric Fingerhut co-wrote this Jerusalem Post op-ed with Rabbi Moshe Hauer from the Orthodox Union on how a “constructive national dialogue is essential to the future of the State of Israel and its relationship with world Jewry.” 

Jewish Federations sponsored a webinar on Monday, April 3 on the prime minister’s decision to pause the legislative process, the status of the negotiations, and how the volatile political situation is playing out across various sectors of Israeli society. Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief of The Jerusalem Post, joined Julie Platt and Eric Fingerhut for an inside look at the still-volatile situation. For the recording, click here.

Adam Teitelbaum, Executive Director at the Israel Action Network and Associate Vice President for Public Affairs, published this JNS op-ed this week on the lessons of Passover for our community engagement and interfaith work in combating antisemitism. 

Shabbat shalom,

Nora Gorenstein, CFRE
Chief Executive Officer