On Oct. 7, 2023, more than 2,400 Hamas (the Islamic Resistance Movement) terrorists infiltrated Israel’s southern border to torture, abduct and murder as many people as they could. The terrorists set houses on fire, some with entire families inside, and killed those who attempted to escape. They shot, raped, abducted and murdered hundreds of young adults at a dance and music festival celebrating peace. The terrorists took victims back to Gaza and paraded them, alive and lifeless, in front of cheering crowds. This is a manifestation of pure evil.
Listening to those attempting to justify such acts has been unbearable. What moral code could possibly justify or contextualize the murder of more than 1,400 people? Oct. 7, 2023 will be remembered as one of the darkest and deadliest days in Jewish history.
Israel is committed to defanging Hamas, the terror group that not only seeks to destroy Israel, but that has also been spreading misery among the people they were elected to govern. Unfortunately, this war that Israel was dragged into will continue for a long time, and we will all be feeling it emotionally. We are saddened and horrified by the loss of lives of innocent Palestinian civilians who’ve lived under the boot of Islamic terror groups and have also been dragged into this war. Israel still takes as much care as reasonably possible to avoid civilian casualties, as they take down buildings that serve as Hamas command centers. The damage and disruption to lives is heartbreaking. And yet, Israel must do what it can to assure a safe return of all the surviving hostages.
It’s important to note that not all of the damage in Gaza has been the result of Israeli strikes. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad have shot thousands of rockets toward Israel, and hundreds didn’t reach the target they intended. Just last month, one of Islamic Jihad’s rockets ended up damaging a hospital. Israel was also a casualty in that attack by way of how the media accepted Hamas’s word and instantly misreported widely that Israel attacked a hospital. It is important that we affirm the necessity and the justice of Israel’s aim to wipe out the evil of Hamas from the face of the earth.
Tragically, the propaganda war against Israel has been increasing in strength for years. We know that Israel is far from being perfect. But it is a very good country constantly trying to survive assaults from very bad people. And, as Israel is still contending with Hamas at the southern border, Hezbollah has been perpetrating attacks at the northern border.
These individuals do not adhere to Western values and principles; they do not believe in human rights. Israel has the most morally upright military in the world. Unlike Hamas, Israel does not deliberately target civilians. To make military operations more complicated, Hamas tries to keep civilian populations among their military infrastructure.
In this dark hour, NSRCA (the North Shore Rabbis and Cantors Association) stands with Israel and her people. We pray for the immediate release of all hostages and extend our hearts to the bereaved families. Further, we recommend that you support Israel’s recovery efforts by contributing to a charity of your choice, including CJP’s “Fund for Israel at War.” Please know that 100% of your donation will go directly to assist victims of terror. Visit https://give.cjp.org/give/ to donate.
Unfortunately, nothing can bring back the many lives that were taken way too soon. We can only pray and hope that this war is brief and ends with security restored for our brothers and sisters in Israel, so no further harm comes to them. Am Israel Chai and Israel will prevail!
North Shore Rabbis and Cantors Association
Rabbi Alison Adler, Temple B’nai Abraham, Beverly
Rabbi Darryl Crystal, Temple Emanu-El, Marblehead
Cantor Sarah Freudenberger, Congregation Shirat Hayam, Swampscott
Rabbi David Kudan, Temple Ahavat Achim, Gloucester
Cantor Seth Landau, Congregation Sonzs of Israel, Peabody
Rabbi Cantor Idan Irelander, Congregation Ahavat Olam, North Andover
Rabbi Alex Matthews, Congregation Ahavas Achim, Newburyport
Rabbi Emeritus David Meyer, Temple Emanu-El, Marblehead
Rabbi Allison Peiser, Temple Emanu-El, Marblehead
Rabbi Richard Perlman, Temple Ner Tamid, Peabody
Rabbi Michael Ragozin, Congregation Shirat Hayam, Swampscott
Rabbi Samantha Safran, Epstein Hillel School, Marblehead
Rabbi Michael Schwartz, Temple Sinai, Marblehead