During the night of April 14, the windows of our synagogue were shattered and a nasty inscription was scribbled on the wall. (“Chief rabbi of Ra’anana condemns attack on shul,” April 28)
For days, beautiful letters of support arrived from all over the world. We speak a lot about our global community, but here was proof that for our people this is part of our sacred value system: to be there for one another, “Kol Yisrael areivim zeh bazeh.”
I felt proud to be part of this ancient and unique culture and people; I felt encouraged and strengthened in my conviction that we will continue to do our good work and do everything we can to prevent such acts of violence.
Here in Israel, we, the citizens of this country, share the responsibility of caring for the well-being of one and all. We can’t look over our shoulder and blame others for what we bring upon ourselves. We have to seek and find out why these things happen and ask ourselves how to stop them from occurring.
As our congregation welcomed Shabbat April 15, we were joined by many who came to share our sorrow and show their support. Mayor Nahum Hofree spoke about communities needing to work together in Ra’anana; Amir Shacham, representing United Jewish Communities of Metrowest NJ (our partnership community), spoke about MetroWest’s unwavering support; Rabbi Gilad Kariv, head of the Reform Movement in Israel spoke of the challenges facing Kehilat Ra’anan. Their words were comforting and encouraging.
But perhaps most unique of all was the attendance of two well-known local Orthodox rabbis, both dear friends. They came to be with us for the first part of the service. I read a letter signed by eight Orthodox leaders in town who stood by Kehilat Ra’anan and condemned the act of violence against us.
This was an unusual show of communal togetherness, and I would like to believe that it is due to the continual work we all do together in town, quietly and slowly, step by step.
Your letters of support encourage us to continue developing the path of joint education and friendship. We will remain strong in our conviction that pluralism is the goal we need to uphold in town and in Israeli society.
Israel is home to all Jews. We all have a share in the ancient biblical vision of seeing our people grow strong upon this land. Our strength will only be solid if our society is able to give voice to all Jews who accept the varieties of our tradition and the communities created along these differences.
Thank you for being with us during this difficult time. Thank you for being with us in good times, when the routine of hard work is what keeps us going and the courage to do it rests both upon the belief we have in what we are doing, as well as upon your belief in us.
Rabbi Tamar Kolberg