As the Gaza Escalation Continues, Reform Takes Action
Since the start of Operation Protective Edge on July 7, Hamas terrorists in Gaza have fired some 800 rockets at Israel, with close to 600 missiles hitting the country as far north as Nahariya. Israel's Iron Dome air defense system has successfully intercepted approximately 150 rockets headed towards populated areas.
As the Israeli government fulfills its obligation to protect the country's citizens and enable them to pursue a normal way of life, the Reform Movement is developing its own action plan to provide support for families affected by the attacks.
Beit Shmuel-Mercaz Shimshon, the World Union for Progressive Judaism's headquarters in Jerusalem, is providing free food and board to families who have been forced to flee their homes from the south. Furthermore, Beit Shmuel is organizing free walking tours and educational programs.
Keren BeKavod volunteers and children from the Havaya Noar Telem summer camp assemble 'activity boxes' for displaced Israeli families.
Simultaneously, the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism (IMPJ) has developed a series of responses to the emergency. Keren BeKavod, the IMPJ's humanitarian arm, has assembled 'Activity Boxes' that include games, reading material, candies and other goodies meant to occupy Israeli children during those tense moments spent in bomb shelters.
In addition, the Havaya Summer Camp of Noar Telem (the IMPJ youth movement) will be opening its doors to displaced families from the northern and southern parts of Israel. Furthermore, IMPJ-affiliated kibbutzim across the country will host families.
Beyond the immediate steps taken thus far, the IMPJ is also facilitating a long-term plan to promote co-existence and positive relations between Arabs and Jews.
During these difficult days, the worldwide Reform Movement continues to pray for an end to the conflict, minimal suffering, and peace.
Rabbi Daniel H Freelander, President-Elect
Michael Grabiner, Chairman
Dr. Philip Bliss, WUPJ Advocacy Committee Chair