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Community You Can Believe In

We continue to feel heartbroken, angry, and worried about the crisis in Israel. In the face of tragedy, so many people have reached out asking what they can do to help.

Below are some specific resources that we hope you will find helpful in these difficult times.

As always, we are here for you. If you could use some extra support, please do not hesitate to reach out via email or by calling the Temple office.


Political Activism
One easy way to support Israel is to contact our elected representatives, thank them for their support, and encourage them to do more. Please add your voice, urging them to do more to free the hostages (which include American citizens).

Please keep in mind that while any communication is helpful, phone calls and typed, personal messages sent in the mail are the most effective ways of communicating with our elected officials.

President Joe Biden

(click here for tips for sending a letter to the White House via snail mail)

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20500

White House comment line: (202) 456-1111
You can contact the White House via this online form.


Senator Richard Blumenthal

Senator Richard Blumenthal
90 State House Square
10th Floor
Hartford, CT 06103

Senator Richard Blumenthal
706 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510

Hartford office: (860) 258-6940
D.C. office: (202) 224-2823
You can contact Sen. Blumenthal's office via this online form.

Senator Chris Murphy

Senator Chris Murphy
Colt Gateway
120 Huyshope Avenue, Suite 401
Hartford, CT 06106

Senator Chris Murphy
136 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510

Hartford office: (860) 549-8463
D.C. office: (202) 224-4041
Sen. Murphy has a webpage dedicated to Israel. You can contact his office via this online form.

CT District #1 - Representative John Larson

Representative John Larson
361 Main Street, 3rd Floor
East Hartford, CT  06118

Representative John Larson
1501 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC  20515

Hartford office: (860) 278-8888
D.C. office: (202) 225-2265
Rep. John Larson has a webpage dedicated to Israel. You can contact his office via this online form.

CT District #5 - Representative Jahana Hayes

Representative Jahana Hayes
108 Bank Street
2nd Floor
Waterbury, CT 06702

Representative Jahana Hayes
2458 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515

Waterbury office: (860) 223-8412
D.C. office: (202) 225-4476
You can contact her office via this online form.

Don't live in the District 1 or District 5, or not sure who your representative is? Click here to find your elected officials.

WhatsApp Videos to Israeli Soldiers
Thank Israeli Soldiers has a campaign to send an Israeli soldier a video message of support! Record a video thanking Israeli soldiers, speaking in whatever language you wish, and send the video over WhatsApp to +1-201-620-8540.  
This is something that's great for kids to do, as they don’t need to know details of what is happening in Israel and Gaza to know that they are making an Israeli soldier’s day a little brighter.

Address Antisemitism Here at Home
While there is antisemitism around the world, you can fight it here at home through a new initiative with the ADL. Beth El has been accepted to participate in ADL’s Kulanu initiative. Kulanu, Hebrew for “all of us,” is an eight-month program dedicated to empowering congregations to address antisemitism and hate in their communities through education, community engagement, and advocacy, and we need more volunteers to join our Kulanu working group.

Beth El will join a network of congregations to build bridges of understanding across communities. ADL will prepare us with resources to develop and implement engaging and impactful programming through their exclusive Kulanu initiative inspiration library, interactive webinars with ADL experts, and guidance from their professionals. 

As a Kulanu synagogue, we will learn how to have critical conversations about antisemitism and other forms of bigotry and cultivate the tools to fight them. 

As a Kulanu synagogue, we commit to:

-Forming a working group that oversees Kulanu programming.
-Promoting reporting of antisemitic and bias incidents to ADL.
-Implementing two programs or initiatives, one of which engages an external audience beyond the synagogue community.
-Participating in Kulanu webinars.
-Engaging in a community of practice for at least two meetings.
-Sharing impact at the end of the program.
If you are interested in joining the working group, please contact Robin Landau at robin@ctvoicesofhope.org or at 860-305-6601.

Pray
We encourage you to use the power of prayer in a way that is meaningful to you.

Click here for a Prayer for Israel adapted from the Prayer for the Simchat Torah War by the Rabbinical Assembly in Israel and the Masorti Movement. Click here if you'd like the Prayer for Israel as well as Acheinu and Hatikvah.

We have created a printable version of the booklet of prayers from our Gathering in Solidarity for Israel, which you can find by clicking here.
 
You can also read from our Siddur Lev Shalem, where you'll find the Prayer for the State of Israel and Prayer for Peace.

We also encourage you to join us for Daily Minyan, which has been augmented in recent days by the addition of special prayers for Israel, for the captives, for peace, and Hatikvah.

Daily Minyan takes place in the Levine-Shein Chapel:

Sunday at 8:45am and 5:30pm
Monday through Thursday at 7:00am and 5:30pm
Friday at 7:00am and 5:45pm

Donate
To aid the thousands of families affected by this catastrophe and to fund the extensive rebuilding and rehabilitation that will be required, Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford, the USCJ, and the Rabbinical Assembly have joined together with Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA), which has announced a $500 million emergency campaign. The Greater Hartford Jewish Community has already raised over $3,000,000 toward an initial goal of $5,000,000. 100% of funds raised go to support those in need. You can donate here.  

Jewish Federation's Emergency Fund: Where Your Donations Are Going
Basic Needs

Food and financial assistance for impacted families, the elderly, and the homebound. 
Evacuation, Housing, Respite, and Support for Frontline Communities
Support for communities under fire and for new olim living in absorption centers through evacuations, temporary housing, respite trips, children’s activities, and increased security.
Funds for Victims of Terror
Provides immediate cash grants to families and individuals who have been impacted by acts of terror and violence, for post-trauma care, etc.
Trauma Relief and Psychosocial Care
Support widescale trauma relief and psychosocial support with expanded capabilities through telephone hotlines; providing direct care to first responders, Lone Soldiers, the injured, and families whose relatives were murdered, injured, or abducted; training and support for caregivers and responders including hospital emergency teams and municipal teams.
Emergency Medical Services and Healthcare
Medical supplies and equipment for first responders and hospitals in close proximity to the front line.
Special Populations
Targeted assistance to vulnerable populations and their caregivers, including the elderly, young children and people living with disabilities.
Support to Evacuees
Enhance capacity and provide operational support to evacuees, special populations, frontline communities, and those responding to the crisis.

If you would like to donate to a specific cause, the Jewish Funders Network has assembled a list of vetted organizations here.

Volunteering In Israel
We understand the desire to go to Israel and help on the ground. Right now, the most helpful thing we can do is show support from afar, through donations, messages of support, political activism, and prayer.

Israel will need our help for a long time as they endure the current crisis, recover, and rebuild. There are several organizations arranging volunteer trips at this time:

  • Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford - January 15-25, 2024 (click here)
  • Jewish National Fund (click here)

A Note About Medical Volunteers
Federation reports that as of now, Israel is not experiencing a shortage of medical professionals due to the conflict. In the event of further strains on the health system, Nefesh B’Nefesh, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, will activate to bring people to Israel. They are actively collecting names of doctors who would be willing to volunteer should the need arise. Physicians can click here to submit their information to volunteer. 

Nurses and paramedics looking to volunteer can visit the Ministry of Health website and submit their information there.

Take Care of Yourself
This is a difficult time for all of us, and it will continue to be. It is important to take care of yourself. Every morning in our prayers, we say: Elohai n’shamah shenatatah bi t’horah hee, "God, the soul that you have placed within me is pure". Let us tend to our souls in this difficult time.

Remember that we, your clergy, are here for you. Please reach out if you could use extra support in this time.

Please also keep in mind that many of us are feeling anxious, worried, angry, impatient, or on edge in light of the tragedy in Israel and heightened antisemitism here at home. Often, in times of crisis, it can be easy take the anger, sorrow, fear, or frustration we feel at the state of the world (Hamas, antisemitism, grief at the lives lost) and deflect it, directing it toward those who happen to be nearby. Whenever possible, notice when this is happening to yourself or those around you, and practice kindness. 

We are also blessed in this community to have a wonderful resource in Jewish Family Services. They are assembling resources here and will be updating it regularly.

If you are seeking counseling services locally, please call JFS at 860-236-1927. If you are looking for additional social work resources, please reach out to Katie Hanley at JFS at 860-761-7087 or khanley@jfshartford.org.

JFS has also shared with us that a hotline for individuals in Israel to connect with a therapist was established by The Koby Mandell Foundation, working with the Israel Trauma Coalition. The phone number for the Israeli hotline is +972 52-520-6900. Please share this information with your loved ones in Israel.

Take Care of Others
Never underestimate the power of words. One of the great pieces of wisdom of this week’s Torah portion is that words create worlds. God creates the world through speech; we, too, can use our words to create light in times of darkness.

For those of us who are Americans living in the United States, this is hard. It is even more challenging for Israelis living here, and for people living in Israel. We consistently hear from Israelis that when someone reaches out to them to check in, to express love or support or concern or solidarity, that it means the world. If you feel up to it, take some time to reach out to someone you know who is more deeply connected to Israel. Even if you have not spoken in years. They will always appreciate it. 

Below are 10 resources for families to use to continue to support Israel in this difficult time: 

  1. PJ Library’s Israel Hub has helpful resources for parents to talk to kids about Israel right now, support for parents, as well as videos and media to help children cope with scary situations.
  2. Click HERE for a special prayer from the Masorti Movement and the Rabbinical Assembly of Israel related to the recent conflict in Israel.
  3. Click HERE for many useful resources from the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism related to supporting Israel.
  4. Some of you might know Jeanette Kuvin Oren. She designed the Hanukkah stamp the USPS released in 2022. Jeanette is making her design templates FREE for the foreseeable future. Click HERE for the papercutting downloads to color and design in support of Israel.
  5. Stay informed and sign up for briefing statements from the White House with this link by clicking HERE.
  6. Support Friends of the IDF by clicking HERE.
  7. Send a pizza to IDF soldiers by clicking HERE.
  8. Participate in any of our Minyan services (weekday mornings at 7:00am and afternoon services at 5:30pm) for prayers and to build community. Your prayers make a difference!
  9. Email, text, call, and be sure to reach out to your Israeli friends and family. Letting them know you are thinking of them is a tangible way to show support for our friends going through so much right now!

Take Care of Yourself - And Your Children

A Note on Media Consumption


While it is important to stay informed, it is also important not to obsess over news or take in graphic images or descriptions that might be traumatizing. If you find yourself reading news feeds for hours on end ("doomscrolling") and accumulating an unbearable amount of emotion (including stress, anger, and anxiety), we urge you to take a break. We need to give ourselves the chance to process and reflect, both for our own sakes and so that we can be as fully present as possible for others in our lives.

It is also important to keep our children from being traumatized by images or descriptions that might be too violent or disturbing. Some of the most graphic coverage is being posted to TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media platforms. This is an important time to review your children’s access to social media and/or their social media settings. In addition, this is a good time to check in with your children about what they have seen and heard, and how to use social media safely. While it is important for our children to also remain informed, it is equally important for this to happen in an age-appropriate and healthy way.

How to Talk to Children About the War

Our children will inevitably know that something is going on, whether they read about it, hear from their friends, overhear grown-ups talking, or simply sense that the adults in their life are anxious or distracted. It is important to give space to our children to talk about their worries and fears, without overwhelming them with too much information. What is appropriate for each child will vary depending on their age and their personality. Specific resources are listed below.

Here at SULAM, we recognize that it is important to meet all our learners where they are and in age-appropriate ways, so they feel supported and loved in this very challenging time. Dr. Krigel is meeting with the 7th graders to listen to what they have to say. Speaking in generalities and without getting specific, we will continue to strengthen on our connection with Israel at SULAM with learners of all ages, without getting into the horror of this tragic conflict.

You can also create a safe and supportive environment where children can be heard and supported. Here are some tips JFS has shared for parents of young children:

1. Help your children maintain routine.

2. Remind them that they are safe and not in harm’s way.

3. Support and encourage open conversation without engaging in too many details.

Here are some additional resources provided by JFS:
● Helping Children Cope after a Traumatic Event (The Child Mind Institute)
● Guide for Hebrew-speaking families to support their children through trauma (The Child Mind Institute)
● Talking to your Children about Israel in a Time of Crisis (Jewish Education Project)
● How to talk to your children about violence in Israel (Jewish Education Project)
● Videos to Help Parents and Kids Talk About Scary Situations (PJ Library)

If you are looking for more social work resources, please reach out to Katie Hanley at JFS at 860-761-7087 or khanley@jfshartford.org.

Fri, June 14 2024 8 Sivan 5784