"How Can We Help?"

This week’s rally on the National Mall in Washington had close to 300,000 Jews and Jewish community allies coming together in support of Israel.  Different from past rallies, there were hundreds of thousands  of others watching the video link at watch parties throughout the world including the one at the JEA. As one community, as one people, we came together in support of Israel, demanded that the hostages be freed, and spoke out about the scourge of antisemitism.

The consistent question that everyone asked us, “How can we help?

Here are a few ideas among many others:

Donate.  Give to any of the hundreds of non-profits helping Israel today.  The Federation’s Stand with Israel Emergency campaign sends 100% of all collected contributions to Israel and funds many groups providing urgent help.  Click here to read the allocations thus far.

Amplify messages of solidarity on social media.  Share factual information from credible sources; share emotional stories that move you.

Consume English-language Israeli media. Consider Times of Israel, Jerusalem Post, Ynet News, Ha’aretz, and I24TVNews. Read, listen, and engage with additional resources.

Monitor American newspapers. Tell them when they got something right, and when they got something wrong. And tell the same thing to their readers via “Letters to the Editor.” Don’t focus only on major national or local papers. There are still plenty of specialty, neighborhood, and regional publications. Do the same with your alumni and professional magazines.

Support Jewish college students and Hillels. Reach out to the Hillel at your campus directly. Climates on campus vary drastically, as do the response of administrations. Learn what is already happening and how you can help.

Pray for the Murdered, the Injured, the Missing, and the IDF. We encourage you to find community wherever and however you feel most comfortable -- whether it be attending a synagogue service or gathering in homes for Shabbat dinners – and keep those in Israel in your prayers.

Contact and express solidarity with every Israeli you know. Reach out, even to that old tour guide from your last trip there 25 years ago. And when they don’t respond, send another message of love. Tell them all that is being done to try to help. Tell them they aren’t alone. Such communications lift their spirits and ours.  You can send a message of support online here

Combat and report antisemitism. Utilize the Federation’s Incident Report form.

In all these endeavors, involve your children and grandchildren. This is perhaps the second most important action all of us can take for them. For ourselves. For Israel. Forever.

Talk to your kids.

• Check out this resource from PJ Library for tips on talking to your young kids about Israel and antisemitism.
• The American Psychological Association provides tips for talking about war for parents and teachers of
middle schoolers.
• Dr. Sivan Zakai provides language to use in initiating dialogue (scroll down for middle schoolers).

Host informal parlor meetings. Invite non-Jews (colleagues and friends) and/or other Jews less knowledgeable about Israel. All of us are emissaries for Israel and all of us know such people.

Elevate awareness of hostages in the hands of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. They’re listed here. Distribute these flyers.

Attend many of the virtual or in-person public programs on the crisis. Better yet, initiate one. Plan one for your Rotary or Kiwanis Club, Chamber of Commerce, alumni organization, or any other civic group.

Show your solidarity by wearing a blue ribbon. The blue ribbon symbolizes support and solidarity for the safe return of the hostages taken by Hamas terrorists in Israel. Learn more about the blue ribbon campaign today.

Are you a healthcare professional? Israel needs volunteers’ now via telemedicine. Learn more at American Telemedicine and Tele-mental Health Initiative for Israel, and if you’re able to go to Israel, Medical Volunteers for Israel.

Political advocacy. At this critical moment, our elected officials need to hear from us.  You can use this link from our partner, ADL or this link for the contact info to reach our Congressional delegation.

Call-in to talk radio. You don’t listen to talk radio? Doesn’t matter, tens of millions of Americans do.

Finally, the single most important action for Israel, today, right now, is donate.

Happy Thanksgiving and Shabbat Shalom