Frederick Rabbi: It’s A Difficult Time For American Jews

They’re deeply affected by the war between Israel and Hamas.

Rabbi Jordan Hersh (Photo from Beth Sholom  Congregation’s website)

Frederick, Md (KM) It’s “pure evil” the way Hamas treated the civilians it kidnapped when it invaded Israel from Gaza late last week. That comment comes from Rabbi Jordan Hersh with the Beth Sholom Congregation in Frederick concerning the armed conflict in the Middle East.

He describes what he saw in videos posted on line. Readers are reminded that this quote may be too graphic for some. “Babies being beheaded.  The taunting, the slaughtering, the raping. Trampling on corpses. The  placing of captive toddlers in chicken cages. Five and six-year-old Israeli children being thrown into throngs of rabid Palestinians, crowded with children to taunt, to whip, to beat them and probably to kill them,” he said.

Rabbi Hersh says Hama should take all the blame, and be held accountable. “Is the loss of innocent Palestinian lives lamentable also? Of course,”: he says. “And every one of those deaths–civilians in Gaza–is squarely on the shoulders of Hamas, not Israel.”

The Israeli Army on Wednesday entered the Kibbutz Be’eri, a settlement of more than 1,000, accompanied by journalists, where more than 100 residents were killed. Officials with the Israeli Army say militants put girls into a room, and threw in a hand grenade and killed them. Kibbutz Be’eri was ambushed on Saturday by Hamas.

Israel’s Armed Forces have been bombarding neighborhoods, and the only power plant which ran out of fuel, according to an Associated Press report. The Wire Service also says the Israelis are likely to launch a ground invasion into Gaza.

“Hamas, who now cowardly hides in tunnels, while they leave their civilian population exposed; at a time when Israel sends its civilians into shelters into the open and fight,” says Hersh.

Since  the war began, police around the US  have stepped up patrols around synagogues and houses of worship. Rabbi Hersh wouldn’t provide too much detail on security at Beth Sholom. “We are of course in regular contact with our local and regional law enforcement security agencies,” he says. “Beth Sholom remains a safe place to gather, to pray, to learn and study and, God willing, at some point soon, to celebrate.”

Right now, he says it’s a difficult time for Jews in the US and other countries due to this conflict. He urges non-Jews to reach out to their Jewish friends during this difficult time. “Not to say, ‘hey, how are you doing’ because we’re not doing good. We’re not doing okay. But to reach out and to say ‘hey, we know you’re hurting. We’re praying for you. We’re thinking about you. We’re holding you,’ whatever response is right from you in that sense,” he says.

Monetary contributions can be made to help those suffering from the war in the Middle East. Rabbi Hersh says you can contact the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington, the Jewish National Fund and the Friends of  the Israeli Defense Forces.

“If you can’t right now stand up and just simply say what happened in Israel–those massacres are horrific–and condemn that  unequivocally, then you speak with zero moral authority,” says Rabbi Hersh.

By Kevin McManus