Facing the Tragedy in Israel

אחינו כל בית ישראל הנתונים בצרה ובשביה
המקום ירחם עליהם ויוציאם מצרה לרוחה ומאפילה לאורה

Our family, all of Israel, mired in sorrow and captivity
May the Omnipresent have mercy on them and bring them
from confinement and darkness into open spaces and light

Dear Shaare Torah Family,

Our hearts ache. Since the shocking and horrific attack by Hamas terrorists on Shabbat that drew Israel into war, some 900 Israelis have been killed, thousands wounded, and hundreds have been kidnapped and are reported missing. This is the darkest moment in the 75 year history of the State of Israel.

As we follow the devastating news from Israel and Gaza, it is hard to breathe. Friends and family remain at risk and the extent of the horror is not yet known. 300,000 reservists have been called up to military service. We are terrified that the violence and casualties will mount in Israel, Gaza, and beyond, as this bloody conflict continues to claim so many innocent lives.

We hold close in our hearts all those in our community including staff in our synagogue and school community who are Israeli, those of us with Israeli family and family members currently in Israel, including some who are currently serving in the military or have been called up for reserve duty.

We urge all of us to reach out to friends and family with care and support. We are grateful to have been in touch with Shaare Torah’s beloved past shelichot who have served Shaare Torah. They and their families, and the family of our current shaliach, Abraham Belilty, are thankfully physically safe, though deeply shaken.

We stand in solidarity with Israel and pray for the healing of all who are in need. We extend our care and consolation to the many homes in mourning, and pray for a stop to violence and a peaceful solution to this conflict, please God, in our lifetime.

This is a lot to hold. We want to invite you to please reach out to us if you are in need of support, if you want to process what has been happening, or if you have questions about how to talk with your children.

Below is a list of opportunities to show support, including area prayer vigils and emergency relief efforts as well as resources to care for ourselves, our families and one another during this painful time. We will remain in touch.




Watch the DC Area Vigil for Israel: Prayer, Song & Solidarity
Recording from Tuesday, October 10th

Watch the Montgomery County Vigil for Israel
Recording from Thursday, October 12th.

Presented by Beth Ami, Beth Sholom, Bnai Israel, B’nai Tzedek, CESJDS, Har Shalom, Kol Shalom, Shaare Torah, Washington Hebrew Congregation, ADL and AJC. Sponsored by The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington

Rabbinic Pastoral Care & Office Hours

As always, we, the rabbis of Shaare Torah are here to offer you a safe and confidential space to process and to listen during times of need. Please reach out to us to make an appointment or come sit with us during office hours.

Tuesday 10/10 – 8:30-10:00 am, at Shaare Torah
Wednesday 10/11 – 12:00-1:15 pm, on Zoom
Wednesday 5:00-6:00 pm, at Shaare Torah



Below are two emergency funds that are supporting Israelis in crisis in multiple ways. We have also created a spreadsheet for crowdsourcing other organizations and initiatives that are doing important work.

Federation’s Israel Crisis Relief Fund

Provides essential support for those in need, with aid distributed swiftly through our partners on the ground. Donate online here.

  • Financial aid to address the immediate needs of terror victims.
  • Access to temporary housing for those displaced due to the conflict.
  • Long-term support and services to help terror victims access psychological counseling, job retraining, and more.
  • Access to remote trauma services, including therapist hotlines for those who cannot leave their homes due to the current security situation.
  • Trauma training for first responders, teachers, emergency volunteer teams, and others operating on the front lines of this crisis.

Support the New Israel Fund’s Emergency Relief Efforts

  • Providing basic care for the most vulnerable groups
  • Combating violent speech and incitement online
  • Preventing inter-communal violence in mixed cities
  • Mental health and trauma counseling

Donate online here.



The needs right now are many and great. We have created a spreadsheet to gather information about other opportunities to provide financial support of all kinds, from supporting hospitals to buying protective gears for soldiers.

  • Here is a crowdsourced spreadsheet of additional funds to support.
  • Click here to add a new entry to the list.



The horrific events unfolding in Israel are understandably triggering fear, anxiety, anger, past traumas and more, especially among people with close personal ties to Israelis or with children or other relatives serving in the Israeli Defense Forces. Those in need of emotional support and/or mental health services should contact the Federation and JSSA’s J-CARING hotline at 703-J-CARING.

Resources for those in the U.S. seeking information about loved ones in Israel

Please contact the Israeli Consulate in New York at 917-756-8387 or 212-499-5321 for information about relatives or loved ones currently in Israel.

Support for Local Israeli Families

Orly Zimmerman-Leizerov of Growing Minds Therapy is dedicating this week to helping support local Israeli families with young children as they navigate parenting during this most difficult of times. Please share her contact information with any parents who you feel can benefit from her support.

Orly Zimmerman-Leizerov, LCSW-C

Talking with Children about the Tragic Events

  • Here are resources for speaking with children about tragic events, from Growing Minds Therapy.
  • Here are resources for discussing current events in Israel with children, from Sivan Zakai, a professor of Jewish Education.

Reciting Psalms

Our people have turned to Tehillim, the Book of Psalms, in times of sorrow and uncertainty. Here is a selection of psalms for times of distress and other prayers to recite.


לְמַעַן אַחַי וְרֵעָי אֲדַבְּרָה נָּא שָׁלוֹם בָּךְ
For the sake of my siblings and friends we pray for peace for all.


Rabbi Annie Lewis

Rabbi Yosef Goldman

Executive Director, Matt Oziel

President, Brian Abraham