Supporting Israel: Ways to Help Now

Supporting Israel: Ways to Help Now

These are very scary and difficult times. Everyone in Israel is affected by the war. Israeli communities, congregations, and families have sent off numerous beloved members and loved ones to serve; suffered tragic losses; remain evacuated from their homes.

With war comes staggering pain and loss that continues to unfold. May G-d protect all of Tzahal, and all of Am Yisrael, in Israel and around the world. May we all pray for the safe return of all of the hostages and all of the chayalim.

It is still so difficult to wrap our heads around what is happening.

But we keep trying — to understand, to strengthen each other, and to do whatever we can to help.

With this in mind, below we share our weekly updates and suggestions of ways to help.


Please Keep Checking Back Here for Our Weekly Updates,

including ways to show support and solidarity,

along with women’s perspectives and words of Torah and chizuk,

as we help each other through this painful time.

May we hear besorot tovot.

(You can also sign up to receive our updates via email, and follow us on social.)


March 14: For Such a Time as This

March 7: Mishenichnas Adar Sheni

February 29: Leap Year of Faith

February 22: Finding Joy in Hard Times

February 15: Adar in a Time of Strife

February 8: Strength in this Time

February 1: Sharing and Raising Women’s Voices

January 26: Staying Strong with Israel

January 16: A Look Back at the Jofa/Maharat Israel Mission

January 4: Standing with Israel

December 28: Making a Difference

December 21: Keeping Vigil for Israel

December 14: Staying Strong and Hopeful

December 7: Increasing the Hopeful Light of Hanukkah

December 1: Keep Showing Up for Israel

November 17: Am Yisrael Chai

November 9: Standing Proudly for Israel

November 3: Raising Our Voices for Israel

October 30: Two Opportunities to Raise Our Voices for Am Yisrael

October 27: Coming Together for Israel

October 19: Ways to Help Israel Now

October 12: Supporting Israel: What We Can Do Now


Standing with Israel
We must remain as persistent as ever in our efforts and our advocacy on behalf of Israel and our people.
Here, we will continue updating and expanding ways to stay up to date, active, and engaged with what is happening in Israel and how we can help — particularly with respect to raising the voices and stories of how women are impacted, what they are doing, and what we can do to support and advocate for them.
We hope that each week you will find something specific that speaks to you, and helps you stay connected; something tangible that you can do for Am Yisrael  in Israel, around the world, and in your own home and community.
Fight Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism: 

In the public sphere, and particularly on college campuses, antisemitism and anti-Zionism are central to the challenges we are facing. Here are resources to learn more and advocate on these vital issues:

CALL: Campus Antisemitism Legal Line for Reporting Legal Violations
A Comprehensive Guide for Navigating Anti-Israel Claims, by Jules Gross
Stand With Us: Supporting Israel and Fighting Antisemitism Around the World
Fighting Antisemitism on Our Campuses, by Rabbi Avi Weiss
Anti-Defamation League: A Study of Campus Climate Before and After the Hamas Terrorist Attacks
Anti-Defamation League: Fight Antisemitism Resources
American Jewish Committee: Antisemitism Resources
Hillel International: Resources for Students on the Hamas-Israel War and Antisemitism on Campus
Advocate for U.S. Support, and on Behalf of the Victims: 

U.S. aid to Israel remains a vital and imminent issue and advocacy remains critical. We must continue making our pro-Israel voices heard, and making it clear to our elected officials that we stand steadfast with our ally Israel against Hamas terrorism:

Use Hadassah’s National Action Center to advocate for support for Israeli women and girls, condemning Hamas, speaking out against rape as a war crime, supporting emergency aid for Israel, fighting antisemitism, and more.

Use the Jewish Federations of North America’s Congressional Call Center, to easily call your legislators.

Write personal letters in your own words to your members of the House and the Senate.

Send a quick email to your elected officials, via the American Jewish Committee.

*

Advocacy is also vital on behalf of the victims of Hamas’ cruel sexual violence on October 7, when hundreds of women were brutally murdered, many mutilated and raped, dozens kidnapped and still held hostage, including girls.:

American Jewish Committee’s Believe Israeli Women: How to Advocate for Victims of Hamas’ Sexual Violence is a podcast that discusses efforts in Congress to stand in solidarity with Israeli victims of Hamas’ sexual violence, and what you can do to make sure the plight of Israeli women is heard.

You can also advocate via grassroots campaigns, such as #Metoounlessurajew, a grassroots global campaign founded and led by Danielle Ofek in the aftermath of October 7.
Keep Attention on the Hostages and Their Families: 

Visit listentomoms.net, a U.S.-based initiative uniting diverse mothers to share their stories and advocate for the release of hostages being held captive by Hamas in Gaza. See and share powerful videos; email the United Nations and members of Congress; learn about the captives, and more. Each of these hostages — including young children — is dearly loved and cherished by their families. Innate human compassion drives us to care deeply about their safety and well-being.

Through the Hostages and Missing Families Forum’s BringThemHomeNow website, you can also contact your elected officials and purchase wristbands, to help raise international awareness and support this volunteer-driven effort to return all of the innocent civilian hostages back home to their families and loved ones.

Everyone Counts is #BringThemHomeNow’s Education and Action Toolkit to promote pidyon shvuyim (hostage liberation). It is a values-based tool for educators and individuals that enables you to learn and act: at home, in your school, and in your community. Five gateways on the site lead to options for inspiring learning and impactful action: Freedom and Justice; Human Dignity and Compassion; Responsibility and Leadership; Peoplehood and Community, and Jewish Moments.

The One Minute a Day site offers a simple, easy way to take one minute of your day to make a quick call to your elected representatives to press for the immediate release of the hostages remaining in Gaza — elderly men and women, fathers, young women, disabled, and chronically ill. Testimonials from released captives tell us that the hostages are kept without medication, food deprived, without access to showers, forced to watch horrific documentation of the October 7th massacre repeatedly, and constantly assaulted by their captors. Every minute counts and can make a difference.

Keep the Light Going is a grassroots initiative that aims to inspire people everywhere to light an extra Shabbat candle, to support the hostages who are still in darkness and express our hopes that they return home soon.
Find Meaning in Rituals: 

Actions like baking challah with friends, family, or community, are tangible ways to connect. Use this Kosher.com guide to plan a challah bake for Israel. Think of people you know who have lone soldiers or loved ones in Israel that they are concerned about. Bake together, bring them challahs for Shabbat, invite them to your table. Give each other strength, and remind each other that we are all in this together, and here to lift each other up. Read this beautiful account of just one example of the communal challah bakes taking place each week around the world.

You can also print these special candle lighting prayers to join Jewish women around the world in finding extra purpose and meaning in lighting Shabbat candles, and reciting special prayers for the captives, the injured, the IDF, our families, and the entire Jewish nation.
Stay Informed: 

It is still as vital as ever to arm ourselves with reputable sources, to stay informed of news, developments, and analyses, so we can keep advocating and reinforcing our message effectively. Here are some suggested sources that include coverage, analysis, and firsthand accounts:

i24 News
Jewish Broadcasting Service
Israel Policy Forum
Times of Israel
Haaretz
The Jerusalem Post
American Jewish Committee
Anti-Defamation League
Give to Help Meet Needs on the Ground: 

Although the needs are significant, we can also make a meaningful difference — by volunteering, collecting, raising funds, visiting, or donating directly, toward supplies, meals, counseling, caregiving, evacuee families, IDF support, and much more.

Consult the Jewish Funders Network’s extensive listing of trusted agencies and nonprofits in the U.S. and Israel, including this section on women’s organizations, as well as this JFN Guide: Women in War: Grantmaking with a Gender Lens.

Consider contributing to the numerous organizations and fundraising efforts throughout Israel and around the world, that are addressing a range of needs, and delivering an incredible array of goods and services — including your community’s Jewish Federation, as well as the following suggestions:
Jewish Federations of North America Israel Emergency Campaign
The Jewish Agency’s Fund for Victims of Terror
Friends of the IDF: Hamas-Israel War Emergency Campaign
United Hatzalah – Equipment and Monetary Donations
American Friends of Magen David Adom
Zaka Search and Rescue
Israel Trauma Coalition
Lone Soldier Center
Leket Israel
AMIT
Meir Panim
Rashi Foundation
WIZO Emergency Fund
Natal Israel Trauma and Resiliency Center
Shalva Swords of Iron
ITIM: The Jewish Life Advocacy Center: Facilitating Jewish Life by Making Israel’s Religious Establishment Inclusive
Tzohar/Mealuim
Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel (ARCCI)
Early Starters Israel
ALYN Pediatric and Adolescent Rehabilitation Center
IDF Widows and Orphans
Brothers and Sisters for Israel
ATIDIM
Chesed Chaim V’Emet
Eden Association
Emergency Volunteers Project
Garin Tzabar
Gumat Chen Therapeutic Boarding School for At Risk Girls
HaOgen LeMishpachot HaMiluim (The Anchor for the Families of Reservists)

We also highlight organizations that focus on supporting women and girls, including these:
Bonot Alternativa: Israel at War: Resilience in Action
Tahel Crisis Center for Religious Women and Children
Ruach-Nashit/Women’s Spirit
Elem/Youth In Distress Israel
Na’amat
Aluma: Serving with Faith
Dvora Institute/The Civil Commission on Oct 7th Crimes by Hamas
Against Women and Children 

Bat Melech
AMEN – The Land Where Women Heal

Economic Empowerment for Women in Israel (EEW)
The Counseling Center for Women
Keep Reaching Out: 

Everyone in Israel is both connected to, and deeply affected by, what is happening. Anyone you know in Israel, or anyone in the diaspora with family and/or friends in Israel, or loved ones serving in the IDF, will appreciate you reaching out and checking in. It is meaningful just to make the effort, even if you aren’t sure what to say, or feel there are no adequate words. Just express that you care, and that they are not alone. What is happening weighs heavily on our hearts and minds, and reaching out helps us share and ease that burden. A call, email, or message can make a real difference; a gesture of kindness can go such a long way.

Here are a few mental health and wellness resources that can help you or those you care about:
CNN Interview with Dr. Gail Saltz: How to Protect Your Mental Health While Keeping Tabs on the Israel-Hamas War
Kveller: Being on Social Media Feels Awful Right Now. Here’s What You Can Do Instead.
The Blue Dove Foundation: Wellness Resources for the Situation in Israel
Dr. Michelle Friedman: Five Points for Self Care During Times of Crisis
Jewish Education Project: Talking to Teens About Operation Iron Swords
JTA: How Jewish Parents Can Help Kids Deal with a Flood of Pain on Social Media, Beyond Just Looking Away

Another meaningful way to reach out is by sending letters, pictures, and videos of support to Israeli students and soldiers, via Mizrachi World Movement: Unite With Israel: Letters for Israel.
Talk with the Kids in Your Life: 

Discussing with children of all ages what is happening in Israel is delicate and challenging for parents, caregivers, educators, spiritual leaders, youth leaders, and more. We continue sharing and adding to our list of resources to help navigate this:
Kveller: How Jewish Parents Are Talking to Their Kids About Israel and Gaza
Dr. Esther Altmann on Talking to Your Kids About What’s Happening in Israel
Manhattan Congregational Collaboration Video: Helping Children and Teens Respond to the War in Israel 
Rabbi Rebecca Rosenthal: Talking to Kids About the Crisis in Israel
The Child Mind Institute: Helping Children Cope With Frightening News
Parenting Simply: Talking to Your Kids About Israel
Ohel: Israel at War: Managing the Trauma for Individuals and Families
The Lookstein Center Resource Page (Discussion Questions, Coping Tools, How to Get Involved)
Chai Lifeline: How to Speak to Our Children About Israel Today  
Jewish Education Project Zoom: How to Speak to Our Children about Israel
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network: Talking to Children About War
National Association of School Psychologists: Talking to Children About Violence: Tips for Families and Educators
eJewishPhilanthropy: Guidance for Talking to Our Kids
Jewish Education Project’s Adapting Podcast: Israel at War
Come Together: 

Communities keep coming up with new ways to gather meaningfully — over Shabbat and throughout the week; at shuls, schools, and JCCs; making care packages for IDF soldiers; knitting kippot or tying tzitzit; organizing multifaith programs; hearing speakers share stories from Israel; setting empty Shabbat tables, or setting aside seats for the hostages, in shul or at your home Shabbat table, and more.

Every Shabbat can be Israel Shabbat, by incorporating Tehillimprayers, and melodies for Israel, including: the Prayer for the State of Israel, Prayer for Tzahal, Prayer for the Safe Return of Hostages. Include in your tefillot the names of soldiers and hostages; some shuls pass around lists of names so that all are said aloud.

Say your own personal prayers or Tehillim; insert your own prayers during tefillah. Take a moment to thank G-d for protecting and watching over us, and those who safeguard our homeland, and all who are in harm’s way. Now more than ever, tefillah can bring strength and comfort.

Organizing a melaveh malkahkumsitz, or Israeli music concert can also be helpful ways to connect, share, and channel our feelings.

Try this Spotify playlist too: Music to Give You Comfort and Strength.

Watch the recording of “Prayer. Unity. Action. Bringing Our Communities Together,”
a program hosted by Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, along with Jofa and numerous partners in October.

We will continue updating and adding to these resources, and posting to our social media and website as we learn more.

Be strong and safe.


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