Dear friends,

I don’t have sufficient words to describe the horror of the past two days.

To wake up on Saturday morning — Shabbat and Shemini Atzeret — to a barrage of headlines:

Some 2,500 rockets batter Israel, terrorists infiltrate from Gaza, Israeli civilians killed

“We are being slaughtered”: Israel residents beg for rescue

Chaos and confusion… shootout underway

To frantically reach out to friends and colleagues in Israel to make sure they’re ok.

To read news of toddlers being kidnapped by terrorists (as I held my own toddler on my lap – truthfully, the first of a few times I lost it this weekend).

To know that each refresh of social media or the news would bring with it horrific new details: at least 700 Israelis killed, including 260 who were massacred at a music festival; thousands more injured; grandparents, children, and so many others murdered or taken hostage in Gaza.

And then to see some celebrating this terror as an act of “resistance,” or exploiting the bloodshed to spread disinformation and hate.

Each of these things feels unfathomable on its own. Together, they are unbearable — even if you have long been steeped in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and fighting for peace and human rights.

Everything, understandably, seems incredibly dark right now. But there are also at least a few reasons for hope:

To have President Biden — and so many other leaders — quickly and unequivocally make clear that the U.S. stands with the Israeli people.

To see so many in Israel and here — including the incredible community relations field — spring into action, from vigils and rallies, to raising resources and donating blood, to spreading the word about missing people.

To see so many friends and allies across communities reach out in concern and solidarity – because even if we don’t agree on everything, we can show up for one another when our communities are hurting.

Here at the JCPA, we will remain steadfast not only in our solidarity with Israel, but in all of our work to pursue an inclusive, fair, and just world – because the Jewish people are resilient. And because the goal of the terrorists and extremists is to derail hopes for a future in which Israelis and Palestinians can finally live in peace and safety and all of us can thrive.              

We cannot let them.

Am Yisrael Chai.


Amy Spitalnick