As we head into 2024, we are battling two wars – one in Israel and one here, at home. How are we approaching this dual challenge? With resolve, tenacity and determination.
From October 7 until the foreseeable future, all eyes remain on Israel. Our homeland and our brothers and sisters are all fighting for and grappling with the current reality of maintaining democracy and freedoms that were hard-earned. As global voices continue to debate Israel’s strategy for defeating Hamas, we are hard at work, ensuring that Israelis have their basic needs and comforts met. While trying to manage their own daily lives in these unimaginable times, our partner agencies are diligently caring for those in need, providing for their basic humanitarian needs, as well as the emotional effects of trauma.
During our Solidarity Mission in December, our delegation was moved to tears by the evil destruction we witnessed and inspired by the incredible resolve and determination displayed by every Israeli, as they cared for each other and prayed for the safe return of all those held hostage in the tunnels of Gaza. We hugged and praised our long-standing partners, strengthened by their strength and heartened by their hope.
Because even as we support them, they are concerned for us.
As incredible as it sounds, our partners and friends were painfully aware of the astounding rise in antisemitism, here in the United States. As they lay their family members to rest, as they attend funerals and process the incalculable loss of life, they know how we are fighting for safety in the U.S. And we are fighting.
At every level of democracy, we are making our voices heard. Never again. Our security personnel, Security Council members, the national Secure Community Network and local law enforcement have formed open lines of communications in order to keep our communities safe, here in Boca Raton, Delray Beach and Highland Beach. The Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County is fortunate to be supported by a network of security professionals, who are willing and able to fortify our defenses against those who may wish the Jewish collective harm.
Our Jewish Community Relations Council has held forums, launched campaigns and encouraged our legislators to be aware of the rhetoric, protests and online activity that leads to actual hate-filled actions. Our local politicians have given heft to laws that would deter hate speech, and our state-level representatives have taken vocal stands against threats to their Jewish constituency.
Still, we must remain vigilant. We are fighting two wars now – in Israel against the scourge of Hamas, and in America against the forces that would deny Jews the ability to feel safe and accepted for simply being Jewish. To paraphrase the words of Former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, “these are not fights that we asked for, but they are fights we will win.”
To read more about Federation’s Solidarity mission to Israel, click here