· I wish we could gather under better circumstances – but I am glad to see you all here.
· Our community needs to come together in good times as well as bad.
· What happened in Israel, the horrific attacks this past Saturday, is being compared to September 11.
· Just to put things in context – yes, this is the deadliest day in Israel’s history…but Israel is a tiny country – had this attack taken place in the United States, there would be 35,000 killed and more than 100,000 wounded.
· Everyone in Israel is connected – closely – to someone affected by this tragedy. Whole communities were devastated.
· I want to share a poem, by Yehuda Amichai that makes this point.
The Diameter Of The Bomb
The diameter of the bomb was thirty centimeters
and the diameter of its effective range about seven meters,
with four dead and eleven wounded.
And around these, in a larger circle
of pain and time, two hospitals are scattered
and one graveyard. But the young woman
who was buried in the city she came from,
at a distance of more than a hundred kilometers,
enlarges the circle considerably,
and the solitary man mourning her death
at the distant shores of a country far across the sea
includes the entire world in the circle.
And I won’t even mention the crying of orphans
that reaches up to the throne of God and
beyond, making a circle with no end and no God.
· We, too, are connected and have a role to play in trying to respond and help those affected heal.
· That is why the Jewish Federation, on behalf of our entire community, has launched a special Israel Emergency Campaign to respond and make a difference.
· All the funds raised will go to those affected and where needed most.
· The relief, recovery, and rebuilding that needs to happen is significant. We need your help.
· Please go online and donate – now. Today. Or fill out the envelopes available on the way out of the room and leave them with us.
· We are one people and though we may feel further away we must do our part as well.
· Thank you.
· Our hearts are broken.
· Whether you’ve spent time in Israel…whether you have loved ones, friends, or family there…whether you just feel connected to the hopes and aspirations of this special place…or whether you are here just because you care about others and want to embrace humanity, and decency, and life – we embrace you. Thank you for coming.
· What happened this past Saturday, on Shabbat and the holiday of Simchat Torah, is a tragedy. A desecration.
· And it isn’t over. Israel is in a fight to root out those who would destroy it, those who care so little for life that they would kill innocent children, mothers, grandmothers in wheelchairs.
· We know there will be those who talk balance, proportionality, equivocate between two just sides.
· That isn’t why we are here.
· We are here to grieve.
· We are here to show our support and solidarity with the people of Israel.
· We are here to say that attacks on innocents must end. Terrorism must end. And those who advocate for death must themselves meet their end.
· But we are also here to say there is a choice that must be made. To embrace life, peace, a world of possibilities – or a world that is a zero-sum game, with only winners and losers.
· We believe in that world of possibilities and hope and a brighter future.
· We are here to affirm humanity and to support those who value life and peace on both sides.
· And we will win. Though the price will be high.
· And while the goal is just and we must not lose sight of it, we also cannot ignore the price. It will be…and is already too high.
· So, we are here to grieve. To mourn. To comfort each other. To show support for our friends and family in Israel. And to hope for a better tomorrow.
· Our speakers and participants tonight will share words of comfort, mourning, and hope – through prayer and song and heartfelt inspiration and understanding.
· Thank you for joining us.