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Temple Shalom releases statement on Israel-Hamas war

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Temple Shalom in Waterloo has shared its thoughts regarding the conflict between Israel and Hamas.

On Monday, the president sent a statement to local leaders and news organizations.

Below is the full statement:

Temple Shalom releases statement on Israel-Hamas war

I know that you received a statement from many Jewish organizations today regarding the war between Hamas and Israel that included Temple Shalom's name on it.  As you know, with any topic this complex, it is nearly impossible to craft wording of a release that many diverse groups can agree to completely.  We wanted to share this statement with you from Temple Shalom that most accurately reflects the feelings of our congregation, our board, and likely many unaffiliated Jews in Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambridge.  We need to acknowledge the humanity and value of innocent lives on all sides and hope that this statement reflects that belief.

Saturday, Hamas launched a massive offensive against Israel.  Hundreds are dead and thousands are injured.  Many hostages have been taken into Gaza.  This is an unprecedented attack that has left us all horrified and heartbroken.  Additionally, this is all happening the week of the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur war, the last time Israel faced such an unexpected vicious large-scale attack.

This is a diverse congregation with many views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  However, we know we are united in a few strong feelings and beliefs:

  • Israel has a right to exist and defend itself.  We all pray for Israel to be able to successfully end this war and return all hostages safely.
  • Terrorism has no place in the world today and this absolutely qualifies as terrorism. 
  • Attacks on civilians of any kind are never justified.
  • Our thoughts dwell on the safety of the people we know and love in Israel.  We know of one Temple Shalom congregant in Israel at this time as well as our previous Rabbi, Lori Cohen.  Thank G-d, they are safe for now.  We know that many others of us have friends and family whose lives are now in peril.
  • The chance that this war escalates and that other opponents of Israel join in is a definite concern.  For the sake of Israel's future and world peace more generally, we all pray that this ends quickly without an increase in scope.

Once this is over, there will be mourning for those lost, questions about how this surprise could happen, who else aided Hamas, and how we can finally work towards peace for all in the region.  But, today, we just worry for our extended Jewish family in Israel including any of our immediate families.  We all pray that Israel is able to end this war swiftly, decisively, and proportionately and that we will see peace one day soon.

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