Facebook  Twitter  Linkedin  Youtube  

October 20, 2023

Dear Maharat Rori,

This past Shabbat we read Parashat Beresheet, the section of Torah that take us back to the first written words of the Jewish tradition, beginning with creation and the first breaths of life. While I was taking in the relative calm of Shabbat, I could not help but connect the Torah reading with the feeling of this moment in our Jewish collective consciousness:

וְהָאָ֗רֶץ הָיְתָ֥ה תֹ֙הוּ֙ וָבֹ֔הוּ וְחֹ֖שֶׁךְ עַל־פְּנֵ֣י תְה֑וֹם וְר֣וּחַ אֱלֹהִ֔ים מְרַחֶ֖פֶת עַל־פְּנֵ֥י הַמָּֽיִם׃

The earth was in a state of being unformed and chaotic,

And darkness hovered amid the surface of the deep,

While a breath from God was sweeping over the water. (Gen 1:2)

That is what so many of us feel like: that our world is without its usual form and full of chaos, and that there is a palpable darkness.

And yet, there have been breaths of sacredness that have inspired us. We were so heartened to have so many messages of support from our interfaith partners, educators, leaders, and elected officials, offering their friendship and support, and asking what the community needed. Our community came together in several different events over the past week to show solidarity with Israel and to support one another. Even our legislators stepped up to show their support for the Jewish community and the State of Israel, holding a bipartisan vigil on the steps of Congress (with remarks from Congresswoman Ann Wagner at minute 6:30) and lighting up the Missouri State Capitol in blue and white.

We held space with Ayala Hendin, Israel Fellow at Washington University, and Ellen Futterman, Editor-In-Chief of the St. Louis Jewish Light to answer questions and work through this difficult moment. And our staff and our expert partners have been able to provide accurate and focused resources to parents, educators, and people throughout the community on how to process these events, talk with their families, students, and communities, and work through the trauma of our current moment.

In the darkest moments, we know that it will be the relationships, partnerships, and connections we have built together that help us find our way through and continue to do more for one another. We will continue to work to ensure that these partnerships can keep all of us in the Jewish community and our partners throughout our region safe. And we will continue to share resources to learn more about what is happening in Israel, how we can support our brothers and sisters in Israel, and what is most needed from us in this difficult time.

As always, stay safe and continue to care for one another.


Rabbi Scott Shafrin,

Deputy Director and Lee & Milford Bohm Director of Social Justice

JCRC is heartened to receive so may messages of supported from elected officials and community partners

Click Here to View Messages of Support from the St. Louis Community

Opportunities to Support Israel

Donate to the Israel Emergency Fund through the Jewish Federation of St. Louis


Call to Action: Urge Officials to Support Israel

Urge your elected officials at the federal, state, and local level to speak out and make a clear and unequivocal statement in support for our ally Israel and its right to defend itself

Click Here To Contact Local Officials

Upcoming Israel Programs

The Legacy of Oslo with a Presentation from Roots

Wednesday, October 25 | 12:00 pm CST


Roots is a unique initiative of Palestinians and Israelis who have come to see each other as the partners each side needs to make changes to end conflict. Through their work, they build relationships between their communities in order to work for understanding, nonviolence, and transformation throughout the lands they both call home.


Our presenters will be sharing their unique struggles to live in the complicated legacy that has evolved over the past 30 years since the Oslo Peace Accords. The presentation, more important than ever, will now be focused on the difficult but fundamental work of being a partnership for peace, especially during this moment of war, violence, mourning, and unrest.


Israel Under Fire: An Insider's Look at the Fight for Israel on the Military and Media Battlefields

Sunday, October 29 | 7:00 PM

Jewish Federation | 12 Millstone Campus Drive

Gil Hoffman will discuss what led to the worst attack on the Jewish state, the lessons to be learned and the possible outcomes. He will analyze recent Israeli political developments and discuss coverage of the war and whether Israel has been treated fairly.

Co-sponsored by JCRC and the Jewish Federation of St. Louis


Thank you to those who attended the launch of this week's HaKol Koreh. Please join us again on November 15.

HaKol Koreh: Everything Happening in Israel

with Rabbi Scott Shafrin, Dr. Ayala Hendin, and Ellen Futterman

Wednesday, November 15 at 12:00 pm

Zoom | Click to Register

You can still register for this new monthly series on Israel, featuring Rabbi Scott Shafrin (JCRC Deputy Director), Dr. Ayala Hendin (Washington University Israel Fellow), and Ellen Futterman (St. Louis Jewish Light Editor-In-Chief) tackling the current events in Israel.


Israel Lessons From Student to Student Leaders

Throughout the year, JCRC brings Jewish high school students to visit area schools throughout the region to educate about their Jewish lives through our Student to Student program, a program of the Newmark Institute.

In their presentations, presenters share about their experiences as Jewish teens, including lifecycle events, holidays, kashrut, religious traditions, and, of course, connection to Israel. Since the attacks by Hamas on October 7th, our students’ relationship to Israel has been front and center as they continue to break down stereotypes and misconceptions through direct, people-to-people interactions.

Student To Student group leader Lily, with Beckett, Sarah, Nathan teaching at St. John Vianney High School.

Student To Student group leader Joey, and group members Ellen, Ben, and Casey teaching about Israel at Principia School.

Community News About Israel

  • On October 17, JCRC sent a letter to Representative Cori Bush, once again requesting a meeting with the Jewish population in her district and to listen to their stories and recognize the validity of their voices and concerns in this moment. You can read the full letter here.
  • In support of Israel, as well as Jewish communities throughout Missouri, the governor and state legislators decided to light the Missouri Capitol dome in blue and white. (MSN)
  • As a way to honor his grandfather, who served in the IDF, St. Louis native and Student to Student alum, Myles Rosenblum, decided to enlist in the IDF before starting law school. Myles' powerful journey, his connection with the Jewish Homeland, and his struggles through the traumas of the Israel-Hamas war are sobering and his courage heartening. (St. Louis Jewish Light)
  • After presenting her Ph.D. thesis in a local competition, Wash U Grad Student Yarden Avnor Donates Thesis Competition Winnings to IDF (St. Louis Jewish Light)

Operation Swords of Iron

The War on Israel Continues

On Saturday, October 7, in an act of war, hundreds of terrorists infiltrated Israel at a number of locations and at the same time, massive rocket barrages were launched at Israeli territory.

As part of the attack, which is still ongoing, hundreds of terrorists infiltrated Israeli territory by land, sea, and air, and advanced into Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip. This while indiscriminate firing - of more than 3,500 rockets and missiles so far - was targeting towns and cities in the south, the center of the country, and Jerusalem with the intent of maximizing harm to civilians.

In response, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu released a public statement stating that Israel is at war and later adding that Israeli military would attack Hamas with a force “like never before." The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) continue to neutralized a number of terrorist infiltrators and stand ready on all borders and have cut off electrical and water supplies to Gaza.

At this time, more than 1400 have been murdered in Israel (most of them civilians), thousands more wounded, missing, or in hiding. Hamas terrorists also have at least 200 hostages - including women, children, and elderly individuals - threatening to record their execution if their demands are not met.

Relevant Articles

Two American Hostages Released From Gaza

  • Judith and Natalie Raanan, an American mother and daughter from Evanston, IL who were held hostage in the Gaza strip by Hamas, have been released to the Red Cross. We are thankful for this report and pray for the safe return of every hostage. Click here to read more.

A Special Note About JCRC Programs

As news out of Israel continues to develop, JCRC is committed to meet the needs of the Jewish community and will adjust our program schedule as needed. Please keep and eye on your inbox for updates.

Facebook  Twitter  Linkedin  Youtube  Instagram
Donate Today
LinkedIn Share This Email