Author of "Embracing Auschwitz" and "Mensch•Marks: Life Lessons of a Human Rabbi - Wisdom for Untethered Times." Winner of the Rockower Award, the highest honor in Jewish journalism and 2019 Religion News Association Award for Excellence in Commentary. Musings of a rabbi, journalist, father, husband, poodle-owner, Red Sox fan and self-proclaimed mensch, taken from essays, columns, sermons and thin air. Writes regularly in the New York Jewish Week and Times of Israel.
Sunday, October 8, 2023
In This Moment: Israel at War: The First Victims; Hatikva on the bima
Photos from Monday's Ha'aretz
In This Moment
AS I HAVE IN PRIOR CRISES - I'LL BE SENDING "IN THIS MOMENT" WITH INCREASED FREQUENCY ON AN AS-NEEDED BASIS.
By now you are probably watching enough reports out of Israel to have at least a general idea of what's going on. The stories of the victims are heartbreaking.
Simchat Torah has often taken on the feel of a political demonstration. In his book, "Jews of Silence," Elie Wiesel described how, for Soviet Jews in the mid '60s, dancing in front of the Moscow synagogue on this festival was their first chance to demonstrate pride in a heritage they knew next to nothing about. It was a statement of defiance, from which the whole Soviet Jewry movement grew. This morning our joy was defiant as well - we defied the forces of hate. And while our celebration was subdued, it was as meaningful as any we've ever had here. When the Hakafot were completed, we brought the Torahs up to the bima and sang Hatikva. See the screen shot above. The whole morning was punctuated by that single moment. We all understood why we were there.
To this point, 700 Israelis are dead, including 57 soldiers and over 250 who were found in the forest where the peace festival was being held, and over a hundred apparently were captured. Marc Schulman reports that 200,000 troops are being mobilized. It will take a few days to get them fully prepared, but the roads to Gaza are filling up with military equipment. After what has happened, there is every expectation that this will not be the superficial fly-over of past Gaza incursions. It will be bloody and long. This is, incidentally, the first time Israel has declared war on Hamas. It is Israel's first declared war since the Yom Kippur War of fifty years ago. To succeed in at long last eliminating this threat to civilization, Israel will need substantial and sustained support from America.
Ha'aretz correspondent Amir Tibon was trapped with his young family in his home's safe room until his father came to rescue him. See his dramatic story in Ha'aretz. Click here for an enlarged version of the clippings below.