Daily Press Video Clip


Dear Friends,

Last evening our community came together, over 200 strong, to stand in support of Israel. With a diverse crowd from across all affiliations and many of our non-Jewish friends, we made a statement that this community “Stands With Israel”.
To date, following last evening’s events and additional commitments that came in this morning, our community has raised in excess of $35,000 in much need emergency dollars in the Stop the Sirens Campaign.  Operation Protective Edge

Yesterday morning, I received a letter from Israel, from Rabbi Gilah Dror of Rodef Sholom. As many of you know, Rabbi Dror flew to Israel two weeks ago, in the midst of the rocket attacks and terrorist tunnel incursions, to be with her daughter and family for the birth of her grandson. Rabbi Dror’s note to our community is below
Wishing us all a Shabbat of Shalom,

Steve

Steven R. Wendell
Executive Director
United Jewish Community of the Virginia Peninsula

Message from Rabbi Gilah Dror:

“I’m writing from Israel to thank you all for coming together in support of Israel at this very difficult time.  Israel is full of people who value life and who only want to be able to live in peace with their neighbors.

Sadly, Hamas, a terrorist organization, has never repudiated its charter which continues to call for the destruction of Israel.  And, Hamas has translated this call into action. Using humanitarian aid materials that it received, Hamas built a huge network of underground tunnels leading from Gaza into Israel, with the express purpose of killing innocent civilians in Israel, along with those who would protect the people of Israel from such attacks.  This, coupled with an ever increasing rain of rockets fired into Israel, has led to the current war in Gaza, where Hamas continues to use civilians as human shields.
The people of Israel do not want war.  They want peace.  They are not interested in hurting innocent people.  They are interested in living securely within their borders and in continuing the magnificent work they have been doing, as leaders in the world of technology and of science, of biomedical research and development, of chemistry and of physics, and of arid land agriculture, to name just a few areas of distinction.  As most of you know, Israel is often first to come to the aid of other nations when they deal with both natural and man-made disasters!   We can truly be proud of Israel!
As Americans, it is important for us to show our support of Israel’s right to exist in peace within its borders.  It is important for us to let our representatives know how we feel about Israel’s right to defend herself.  We, who have suffered the effects of terrorism in our own back yard in 9/11, should not hesitate to speak out in support of Israel.

Israel is a vibrant, democratic, creative society, in addition to being the Promised Land, and the only sovereign Jewish State in the entire world.  It is our spiritual home and it is the physical home of approximately half of the world’s Jewish population.  It has an ancient history which resonates with Jews and with non-Jews and inspires many to value life and to aspire to create a better world.
Here in Israel, everyone is doing what they can, to support those who have been called up to protect Israel’s right to exist.  People are being supportive of the families and friends who have loved ones serving in, or near, Gaza, at this time.
Our public support of Israel’s right to exist is our contribution to this effort, and it is a very important contribution.
In addition to the civilian casualties in Israel, 53 Israeli soldiers have been killed in Operation Protective Edge, and, although Hamas has been weakened and there are currently significantly less rocket attacks on Israel, the end is not yet in sight.  The sirens still sound as rockets are lobbed into Israel aimed at all the major areas of civilian population in Israel, including Beer Sheva in the South, Tel aviv and Jerusalem, in the central part of Israel, and Haifa, in the North.
Were it not for the Iron Dome protection, many more civilians in Israel would be among the casualties.  In the past week or so that I have been in Israel, I have, several times, personally, experienced the sirens, and heard the booms of the Iron Dome system intercepting rockets overhead.
As Americans, we can be proud that the United States has done so much to protect the right of Israel to exist.
But, let us remember that Israel has chosen to allocate funds to the protection of its civilian population, because Israel is, at its core, a land of promise, of hope, and of life!
Thank you all for coming together to stand with Israel – to stand for life!  And,  may we be blessed to see true and lasting peace, for us, for Israel, for her neighbors, and for all people everywhere, speedily, and in our time!
Rabbi Gilah Dror