Voices from Israel: Rabbi Myra Hovav
It warms our hearts to know that Jews around the world care about us, and that the ARZA agenda is, as always, supportive and empathic.
Our Kehillah in Gedera is on the edge of the attacked area. We are around 35 km (21.75 miles) from the Gaza Strip. In comparison with other areas in the South of Israel, things are relatively calm in Gedera so far. There have been several “red color” (air raid) alerts but no one was hurt in Gedera so far, Baruch Hashem. What makes things difficult is that schools are closed because any kind of gathering is forbidden. Most people work outside of Gedera and they are expected to go to their jobs as usual. They are worried about how and with whom to leave their kids.
We are celebrating a Bat Mitzvah tomorrow, it was supposed to take place at the family home/yard (we do not have a synagogue of our own yet, and we often hold services at private homes). The service was moved a few kilometers north, and we hope all the guests can attend as usual, so that the Bat Mitzvah girl, a brilliant 12 year-old who studied hard and is about to give a marvelous “drash” on her Torah portion will not be disappointed.
As we are holding Kabbalat Shabbat services in Gedera every other week, we were not scheduled to have a service tonight. However, I was supposed to lead a service in Sha’ar HaNegev tonight, which is, unfortunately, the area suffering most, very close to Gaza, so close that in some of the kibbutzim there, there is no “red color”alert because there isn’t enough time to find shelter when the Palestinians launch the missiles. Obviously we cannot hold the service there. People are not allowed to leave their homes and many families fled north to stay with friends and family in safer areas.
So, I will be leading a service in Tzur Hadassa Congregation (a suburb of Jerusalem) which will be broadcast on the Internet.
Please join us for our Kabbalat Shabbat. It starts at 10:30 am EST.
Thank you so much again for your concern, I hope to be in touch in the beginning of the week with better news.
ADONAI OZ LE-AMO YITTEN, ADONAI YEVARECH AT AMO BA-SHALOM
May God give us courage, may God bless us with Peace (Psalm 29, read in Erev Shabbat)
Rabbi Myra Hovav is the rabbi at Congregation Yuval in Gedera, Israel.