With each passing day, more and more stories and reports are coming out of Israel. And it is hard to feel like we need to get as much information as possible, while at the same time not feeling like it is consuming our every moment or that we are feeling overwhelmed. These feelings are normal and it is imperative that each of us finds the balance that works best for us.
As you might imagine, I have been focused on this a lot since it all began. I have had numerous conversations with family, friends, and community members who have reached out to gain more information or ask for my help and perspective as they struggle process what they are thinking and feeling. And I hope by their reaching out, I have been able to help in some small way.
In addition, Congresswoman Norma Torres held an interfaith roundtable conversation yesterday where I, along with Rabbis Jonathan Kupetz (TBI Pomona), Stephen Epstein (Temple Sholom of Ontario), and Mendy Harlig (Chabad Jewish Center of Chino Hills) were invited to represent our Jewish community. I find these opportunities important to be able to not only share my perspectives, but also provide different information that I feel is important to share in order to help educate and correct any misinformation someone may have. I am hopeful that I will continue to have more of these opportunities to do this because I know that this is something I am able to do to help Israel and the situation taking place there.
Along those same lines, I know many in our community are looking for ways they ca directly help, instead of just donating money. A friend of mine who works for the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles posted on Facebook yesterday that there is an opportunity for people to directly help by donating goods, not money, through an organization called Israel Friends. Here was her message:
Following the extraordinary leadership of the Arenson family, the Goldhirsh-Yellin Foundation is chartering a 747-cargo plane departing from LAX to Israel this Friday, October 20th through the Israel Friends Organization. The purpose of the plane is to carry protective tactical gear--helmets and vests--for IDF soldiers. (IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE THAT AN IDF SPOKESPERSON CAME OUT TODAY AND SHARED THAT THE IDF HAS ALL REQUIRED EQUIPMENT IT NEEDS FOR ITS SOLDIERS.)
However, there is also massive space in the cargo hold that can be filled with additional supplies for: babies and families living in bomb shelters or who have been displaced by destroyed homes; children in distance-learning (most schools in Israel are currently shut down), hospitals and medical clinics, as well as additional supplies needed by soldiers and troops. Click here to see the complete list of requested items. When shopping for the requested supplies (clothes/tents/sleeping bags, camel backpacks, duffel bags, etc.) please buy the following colors: brown, army green, black, grey, camouflage. The soldiers cannot use them if they are bright or loud colors! Also, please donate NEW ITEMS only.
There is also a request for handwritten cards for soldiers to be sent as well.
Please bring these items to the Israel Friends SoCal Warehouse at 253 Vineland Avenue, City of Industry, 91746.
If you cannot be a part of this one, please do not worry as there will hopefully be many more opportunities to help as we anticipate this situation to be going on for months (not weeks.)
Our Jewish Federation will continue to keep everyone as updated as we possibly can as the war continues. Click here to see today’s update, a collection of resources, and additional ways you can help.
On an entirely different note, I wanted to share that our community lost one of its Jewish professionals this past weekend. Rabbi Aimee Gerace, PJTC’s educator, passed away after a long battle with cancer. She touched so many lives during her time at PJTC, and she will be missed. May her memory forever be a blessing.