Nov 14, 2012

Masorti Foundation: War Diary - Our Communities in Israel

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the masorti (conservative) movement in israel - promoting religious pluralism and building community through inclusive, traditional, egalitarian Judaism
Dear Friends:
The message below is from our dear friend, Rabbi Mauricio Balter, President of the Rabbinical Assembly in Israel and rabbi at Kehillat Eshel Avraham in Beersheva.

I hesitate to use difficult times like these as springboards for appeals, but the fact is that our Masorti communities in places such as Beersheva, Omer and Ashkelon are providing enormous support and assistance to local residents, and they need our help to keep doing so. Donate here or mail a check to the address below.
Rabbi Balter's message follows.

David H. Lissy
Executive Director & CEO

Subject: War Diary - Letter 1 - Wednesday November 14
This is my third time writing a "war diary": the first one was during "Lebanon war 2", the second time was during the attacks towards Beer Sheva last year and today, with the beginning of the operation 'Amud Anan' (pillar of clouds).
This afternoon, as IDF first reacted we realized that we were about to face something important. Chaverim, during the last four years 11,000  missiles were fired at Israel. No, I didn't add any zeros by mistake. I am not the kind of person who is pro-attacking anyone. But this is not a way to live!!!
Today we had to cancel the activities in our Kehilla, an act that started a line of dilemmas…
A 'shivah' – what should we do? The family needs the 'shivah', inviting people puts them in a risky situation because the way is not safe. At the end we decided not to invite but have the ceremony with those who still came by their own initiative. 30 people came and our Tefilah was rather quiet. As soon as we were done and started deliberating what to do tomorrow the first alarm started. We went to the protected area, soon we heard 8 explosions, they sounded really close. We were all really quiet. We are experienced at this situations, we already know what we have to do. No one complains. In the middle of this situation, one of our Kehilla members decides to leave, while ignoring the alarm.
Each one of us went his own way while I was designated to drive two elderly members of our Kehilla to their houses because it's too difficult for them to walk.  About 500 meters after we started the drive – another alarm. I stopped the car and looked around to find the closest building to have as a shelter, I began running… but then I realized that the other two can't run, even worse: they can't even climb the stairs that separate us from our semi-shelter.
WHAT SHOULD I DO? Run and protect myself or take a risk and wait for them? I am no hero, but I couldn't run alone, so I went back for them and together we walked to our improvised shelter. The alarm was soon over so we continued our journey.  About 1 km ahead' another alarm – and the same situation, the same nightmare.  Thank G-d I got home.
Life confronts us daily with dilemmas about life and death.
May G-d give us the strength to take the right choices during the most critical moments.
Him who Makes peace in His heights may He make peace upon us, and upon  Israel and upon all humanity. Amen.
Rabbi Mauricio Balter
Beer Sheva
To learn more, please contact:
Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 832
New York, NY 10115-0068
(212) 870-2216; 1-877-287-7414;