I realized something as we huddled together in that safe room: we weren’t strangers at all. We were one family; all in this together. In that shelter, did it matter who was American and who was Israeli? Who kept kosher and who fasted on Yom Kippur? Who was Orthodox and who was Reform? Who was Ashkenazi and who was Sephardic?
Now that I’m back on American soil, that feeling still lingers. We are one family. It doesn’t matter what side of the river we call home, or what summer camp we call our second home. It doesn’t matter what synagogue we attend – or whether we go at all. Our family is in trouble. The vast majority of Israel is in the range of Hamas rockets, and we can help.
I was in Israel representing the Jewish Federations of North America’s National Young Leadership on the Campaign Chairs and Directors (CCD) Mission, and while we were there, Federation launched its Stop the Sirens relief campaign. Since that day last week, our Twin Cities community has raised nearly $100,000 – but the needs are still there.
Your support of the Stop the Sirens Campaign won’t actually stop the sirens, of course. But you will mitigate their impact. These efforts are helping tens of thousands of children, elderly, and disabled Israelis. They’re giving children a day of real childhood out of harm’s way, and ensuring that food and medical supplies get delivered to the most vulnerable populations.
Before arriving in Israel, we visited Thessaloniki, Greece, where 60,000 Jews were herded to Auschwitz during the Shoah solely because they were Jewish, Seventy years later, our people are still under attack because they are Jews. As you welcome the Sabbath tonight, bringing light into your homes, please say a special prayer for our brothers and sisters whose lives are threatened daily in Israel.
Darren Lederfine has been involved with Federation for more than ten years. Currently, he serves as Jewish Federations of North America’s National Young Leadership Chair. When he isn’t raising awareness and funds for the global Jewish community, Darren is the co-founder of Swiller Lederfine Wealth Management and First Vice President-Wealth Management at UBS.