PSJC affirms its solidarity with Medinat Israel and its people. We pray for the well-being of those defending it and those who have been taken hostage. We are committed to helping ensure a secure and peaceful future for Israel and its neighbors.
The devastation of these days is overwhelming. We mourn the massive loss of life. The inhumanity shown by Hamas on October 7th, during Shemini Atzeret/Simchat Torah, unbearable. We, with Israel, are rubbed raw by so many innocent lives lost; there are so many deep physical and emotional wounds to process and try to heal from. Our hearts break for Israel and for the Jewish people in this moment of turmoil and sorrow; and we pray for the safe return of those who are held captive. We also pray for the Palestinian civilians who have been caught in the midst of this war.
ה׳ עוז לעמו יתן ה׳ יברך את עמיו בשלום
Adonai Oz L’Amo Yiten, Adonai Yevarech et Amav Ba’shalom
May God grant Israel strength; may God bless all of God’s peoples with peace.
What Can We Do?
In moments of crisis like this, we want so much to help. Because of the physical distance between Brooklyn and Israel, we may feel helpless, as if there is nothing we can do. But that is not true. We may not be able to turn back the clock. We may not be able to give blood or physical hugs to those in need across the sea, but we can help.
If you are in a position to donate funds, here are some organizations to consider.
Jewish Agency's Fund for Victims of Terror provides immediate, critical financial assistance to victims of terror and their families, while also following up with long-term overall recovery and rehabilitative support (including psychological counseling, job retraining, and more).
UJA Israel Emergency Fund supports critical, lifesaving relief efforts including emergency cash assistance for victims of terror, trauma counseling, care for children in shelters, burial expenses, funds to relocate people to safer areas, and more.
IsraAIDs Emergency Fund is an international NGO with extensive experience coordinating large-scale humanitarian response missions around the world, working with local partners to meet the urgent and long-term needs of affected communities.
Israel Trauma Coalition is a cornerstone in the national treatment of trauma and emergency preparedness in Israel and around the world. The Coalition provides leadership and resources before, during, and after a crisis.
Anera works on the ground with partners in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, and Jordan. We mobilize resources for immediate emergency relief and for sustainable, long-term health, education, and economic development. They are the on the ground partners for World Central Kitchen in Gaza.
As simple as it may seem, coming together as a Jewish community here in the United States, reaffirming our never-ending bond with the Jewish people across the globe, or gathering on Shabbat and at other moments to offer the prayers of our hearts for our brothers and sisters in Israel and throughout the world is critical at this time. When voices are lifted up here, they can indeed be heard there. And they bring great comfort and hope to people who are suffering so greatly right now.
Show Up and Make Your Voice Heard
Rallies, vigils, and gatherings ensure that we are seen and heard. Your presence at them makes a difference.
Know You Are Not Alone
Grief is complicated, and it is unique to each person, even as we share it collectively. But, gathering together to talk can help alleviate grief. We do not have to be alone. We will continue to create spaces for those who want to be together and to process here at PSJC. Please be in touch with us if you would like to talk, we are here for you.
Please visit our calendar and search the Israel category for information on times to gather to mourn, pray, sing, and act in the coming weeks.
Prayer and Song
In times of crisis, during days of war, when so much suffering engulfs the land we love, we raise our voice in prayer—to God, to the world, to our highest selves. Our heart aches for the pain and loss reverberating in Israel and in Gaza at this moment, and for the pain and loss that might come. And so (together and on our own) we offer prayers for those who were taken captive, for those who had lost so much, for the peace and healing of Israelis and Palestinians alike.
PSJC Songs for Peace
אַחֵינוּ כָּל בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל, הַנְּתוּנִים בְּצָרָה וּבַשִּׁבְיָה, הָעוֹמְדִים בֵּין בַּיָּם וּבֵין בַּיַּבָּשָׁה, הַמָּקוֹם יְרַחֵם עֲלֵיהֶם, וְיוֹצִיאֵם מִצָּרָה לִרְוָחָה, וּמֵאֲפֵלָה לְאוֹרָה, וּמִשִּׁעְבּוּד לִגְאֻלָּה, הַשְׁתָּא בַּעֲגָלָא וּבִזְמַן קָרִיב
Acheinu kol beit yisrael, Acheinu kol beit yisrael, han'tunim b'tzara, b'tzara uvashivyah, haomdim bein bayam uvein bayabasha. Hamakom Y'racheim, Y'racheim Aleihem v'yotziem mitzara lirvacha um'afaila l'orah umishiabud lig'ulah, hashta ba'agala uvizman kariv.
As for our siblings, the whole house of Israel, who are given over to trouble or captivity, whether they abide on the sea or on the dry land: May the All-present have mercy upon them, and bring them forth from trouble to expansion, from darkness to light, and from subjugation to redemption, speedily and soon.
Talking With Children
For adults, especially parents and guardians looking for guidance on how to approach this topic with children, please take a look at the message that our Director of Education, Aileen Heiman, shared with our Hebrew School families.
Here's How to Talk to Your Kids About the Violence in Israel and Gaza
Resources from PJ Library
General information about Israel
How to talk to kids about scary situations
How to talk to children about antisemitism
Questions Children Ask About Israel in General
In the Community
Millenium Brooklyn High School Jewish and Muslim student groups issue a joint statement. PSJC members and Hannah Senesh Community Day School alumnae, Aya and Sivan, are interviewed as part of the process here.
Donate Time & Experience
Medical and Mental Health Support
The brutality of the attack and the war between Israel and Hamas has been traumatizing for many of us in Israel and in the United States. The need for mental health support is immense. For those who are able to provide support for Israelis, Americans in Israel, Israeli or American Jews in Brooklyn, please consider these places of connection:
Medical volunteers needed:
Mental Health Volunteers to provide telehealth services to people in Israel or those outside of Israel directly affected:
International Therapists Looking to Help