Grass Roots Unity For Israel

Thursday, 12 October, 2023 - 3:48 pm

Who knew that it was possible to be numb and energized at the same time? Numbed by the ongoing reports from Israel and energized by the knowledge that we have much to do to be supportive.

Many of you saw our communication from earlier in the week with an Israel action plan. I will reiterate the highlights of the plan further down in this email.

I wanted to touch on something that is worth contemplating. We are most vulnerable as a people when we are fractured. There is no need to point out how fractured the Jewish/Israeli society has been these past months. Who knows if distractions due to the divisiveness may have contributed to our vulnerability. I will leave that to the security experts to determine. Certainly, from a spiritual vantage point, our greatest blessings come to our people when we are united, as we say in the Amidah, “Bless us our father, together as one.”

In the eyes of Hashem unity is very important. In the eyes of our enemies, a united Jewish people is much more difficult to harm. Here in our community, a stunning demonstration of solidarity and unity took place earlier this week. We must ensure that when the cameras are not trained on us, and the mikes are turned off, those feelings continue to prevail.

I want to highlight a beautiful low-key example of grass-roots unity and collaboration that has been occurring in our community in recent months. A group of women from across the spectrum of the Jewish community gather nearly each week for a Torah discussion. I will not share names as I do not have their permission to do so. But I will tell you about their affiliations. They are connected to Chabad, the Jewish Federation, JCDS, Gates of Prayer, Shir Chadash, and Slater Torah Academy. They come from New Orleans and Metairie. They are women in either professional or lay leadership positions within our greater New Orleans Jewish community.

This gathering should be a great source of pride to our Jewish community. These women are walking the walk of unity and collaboration. I hope that their example will be emulated by many others. “Bless us our Father, together as one.” May G-d’s blessings pour upon us all. May His protection spread over the entire world, especially over our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land.  

With prayers for peace and redemption on my lips,
Shabbat Shalom
Rabbi Mendel Rivkin

Action Plan Hightlights

·       Tefillin: Please visit Chabad Uptown or Chabad Metairie and lay Tefillin or reach out to have someone come by with Tefillin. If you have Tefillin, put them on daily and offer to share them with other Jewish males over Bar Mitzvah.

·       Shabbat Candles: Ladies and girls, you have the power of light in your hands. Light Shabbat candles before sunset on Friday (this week at 6:14 pm). If you need or know someone that needs Shabbat candles, let us know and we will get a package to them.

·       Mezuzah: Put a Mezuzah on the door of your home, or check the existing ones to make sure they are valid. Reach out to us if you need a Mezuzah or help checking the ones you have up.

·       Tzedakah: is a great resource to get funds directly to the organizations on the ground in Israel helping with the war effort. There are many other reputable organizations raising funds as well. The main thing is to offer our support.

·       Pray: Chabad Rabbis in Israel have asked that recite the following Psalms for the safety and security our people in Israel - Psalms 20, 22, 69, 122, and 150. At Chabad (both locations) we recite them twice daily during the morning and evening minyan.

·       Letter in the Scroll: Get your child a letter in the Children’s Torah Scroll – The Unity Torah for people of all ages –

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