October 30, 2023
During this difficult time, we wanted to give you an update on the various ways in which MARAM is supporting its members, and to give you an opportunity to support our efforts. We are deeply moved by the desire to express your support in a concrete way.
MARAM rabbis face enormous challenges serving our congregations and wider Israeli society. Many of our rabbis are consoling numerous bereaved families and providing pastoral care. Many of our congregants are serving in the army in the north and south of Israel, and the anxiety and stress can be overwhelming. After the attack on October 7th, we saw a tremendous outpouring of volunteers in Israeli society. All of our congregations provide support for their members and for non-members such as collecting clothes and organizing food for soldiers and evacuees.
Our rabbis are overextended and each of them is also dealing with the personal stress that the situation has brought with it. We are constantly reaching out to our members. We hold a daily tefilla on Zoom, we also offer professional training to deal with specific issues arising from the crisis. We provide individual and group counseling for our members.
You all know how isolated rabbis can feel, therefore whenever we identify a need we respond as quickly as possible. For example, it was very important for us, when one of our members conducted a funeral for four members of one family, that he would not be alone carrying this burden, during and after. We have never had to confront so much grieving and sadness. Our WhatsApp group is an excellent support forum for our rabbis consulting each other, consoling each other, and encouraging one another.
We provided a shiur on the topic of pidyon shvuim—redeeming the captives—so that we could publicize a statement calling for their release grounded in Jewish sources. The daunting number of funerals in such an unprecedented situation demanded a workshop to review and rethink how we conduct these ceremonies. We were able to offer our members much needed professional on-the-job retraining.
More than ever we want to reinforce the teaching of every person being created in the image of God. Every single hostage is an entire world. Together with the Israeli Reform Movement we sent a letter to the families of the hostages, expressing our unconditional support, and calling, in the name of the Jewish value of k’dushat hachayim, the sanctity of life, for an unrelenting and urgent effort to release their loved ones. In this time of fear and calls for revenge many of our members are sounding a humanistic Jewish voice.
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Visit this site, and when asked in the dropdown menu “What would you like your donation to support?” please choose MARAM – Israel Council of Reform Rabbis. For Canadian donors, please visit this site and indicate that the donation is for MARAM.
May the injured find healing, May the grieving find consolation, may we be blessed to hear good tidings in the near future.
Rabbi Ayala Ronen Samuels, Chairperson
Rabbi Efrat Rotem, Executive Director