Unity. To most people, unity signifies coming together, joining forces and living in harmony. But to Jewish communities everywhere unity means so much more. To Jews throughout the world, unity is our lifeforce, not only bringing us together, but empowering us with a spiritual strength that helps us weather the darkest storm.
To be sure, unity is the miraculous force that sustains the Jewish people. Yes, our communities often seem rife with division and as varied as the diverse societies in which we live. After all, we are a people with many customs and practices. But in times of trouble, we instinctively come together, minimizing our differences, sharing a sense of peoplehood and embracing our shared values and priorities Simply put, we become one. Unity fortifies us.
And so, when we awoke on the morning of Simchat Torah to a living nightmare – the people of Israel under a barbaric attack of an unprecedented size and scale by the terrorist organization Hamas— Jews did what we do best. Instinctively, we turned to one another. We became one.
At the Beckerman Lender Jewish Community Building in Woodbridge, on October 9 — two days after Israel was so viciously attacked by Hamas terrorists — becoming one meant more than 500 members of the Greater New Haven Jewish community came together to demonstrate our unshakeable unity. The effect was inspiring and impactful. With comments from community leaders and others, we prayed together, cried together, and stood together shoulder to shoulder with the people of Israel — our brothers and sisters — who continue to suffer mightily from the effect of this monstrous attack.
I looked across the auditorium and was moved by the sight of our entire community sitting together. Our Jewish agencies, our synagogues, our lay leaders… We were all gripped by this shared moment of mourning.
I was so proud of this show of unity. And I was — and am — so thankful for the opportunity to be part of a community that stands with Israel and with one another, and who are committed to the safety and well being of Jews the world over.
Likewise, I am so appreciative of the support given to us by different facets of the greater community here in New Haven and beyond — our our elected officials: federal, state and local, our local law enforcement partners and so many others. We are so thankful for your support.
In the weeks since the attack, we have witnessed an outpouring of assistance from all sectors of our community — supplies donated for victims of terror, letters and cards written to IDF soldiers, and tens of thousands of dollars raised (and counting!) towards our $1.8 million Israel Emergency Fund goal.
But the needs continue to grow and we, as well as our family in Israel, rely on your continued support to meet them.
Please visit jewishnewhaven.org to learn more about how you can help: from donating to advocating on behalf of Israel to staying vigilant about the safety of our community and its institutions.
All of Israel are responsible for one another
Gayle Slossberg, Chief Executive Officer Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven