Mitzvah Day Sunday, May 16 Mitzvah Day Minyan, 10:00 AM Mitzvah Day Projects, 11:00 AM
Welcome to our half in-person, half virtual Mitzvah Day!
Join us for Mitzvah Day, an annual event at CBI that honors the spirit of both Tikkun Olam and Tzedakah, no matter the circumstances. This year we are offering a number of socially distanced projects as we ease back into “normal” life. We also have many opportunities to do good work from your home. Together, we can make a difference.
Due to social distancing protocols and best practices, attendance at these events is limited. Masks and social distancing measures will be required for the full duration of the programs.
A Statement on Israel
These past few days I have been on multiple briefings and meetings with journalists, politicians, statesmen and our own Reform Jewish leadership in Israel. It is an enormously difficult time for all. On one early call with a former Israeli Ambassador to the United States, the call was interrupted by sounds of crashes outside, and he turned the camera to the window to show us incoming rockets from Gaza being intercepted by Iron Dome missiles. We watched live as the nearly impossible “bullet hitting a bullet” technology lit up the night sky acting as a shield protecting his neighborhood south of Tel Aviv, with a remarkable 90% accuracy. Suddenly we could feel something of what it was like to live under the barrage of rockets fired indiscriminately towards homes, schools, buses. As Rabbi Rick Jacobs, President of the Union for Reform Judaism put it in a call, “there are times when events in Israel and the Palestinian territories are complicated. This is not one of those times.”
The events which led to this moment are complicated. And there will be time to talk and criticize the failure of Israeli and Palestinian leaders, the humiliating circumstances that many Arab citizens and residents of the West Bank and Gaza strip endure. But this is not that time. This war is a war of choice by the terrorist organization Hamas. The events which led to this moment were pretense, not cause. Close to 2,000 rockets have been fired at Israeli civilians throughout the country in just a few days. Israel has retaliated against Hamas leaders who hide and fire while embedded among the Palestinian residents of Gaza. Horribly, civilians are killed and injured in the process.
All this has happened before and will sadly happen again. But what is new, and truly frightening, are the mobs of Jewish and Arab extremists who are on the streets in some Israeli towns, destroying property and injuring bystanders. Their street level violence, while rockets fall from the skies, brings these acts of terror to new levels. The extremists are pushing the action and driving the narrative. And the extremists are crowding out the voices of the majority of more moderate Israelis. Israeli politics was just moving towards one of the most broad and inclusive coalitions Israel had seen in a long time. For the first time Arab parties in the Knesset were set to become integral and valued players in the governing coalition. This has now moved out of reach.
And this moment has raised the temperature of antisemitic rhetoric in social media. I have heard from people horrified by what they have seen, often from posters – including celebrities - who know little about the situation but voice strong opinions.
In all of the conversations with officials and leaders I have been a part of, the request was made over and over: call or reach out to your family and friends in Israel. Let them know they are not alone. It takes strength and courage to pursue peace. Let us help them fulfill the words of the Psalmist׃ – Seek Peace and Pursue it (Ps. 35:15)