What a weekend the Jewish community has gone through. Praying, mourning, and glued to the television. Suffice it to say, this is not business as usual. My heart goes out to all our friends and family in Israel during this horrendous surprise attack. If you live in Israel or are currently in Israel, the most important thing I want you to know is that I am there with you in spirit and support every minute you are under siege. I will be doing everything I can to ease your burden and share your anxiety for the future.
Today, I am going to be brief and to the point. I have been receiving streams of emails and texts over the last 48 hours and there are several recurring themes. The one that I will address right now is, what can I do to help? Here are some really good ways to be part of the solution.
First and foremost, write notes, emails and text messages to friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances in Israel. I cannot tell you how many times, including just yesterday, that an IDF senior officer has told me how important it is for troop and civilian morale, peace of mind, and confidence to know that they are not alone, that America and the Jewish Diaspora care, support and empathize for and with them.
Go to a Solidarity Rally or event. Be counted. Let the world and the recorders know you care.
Write to your Congressional or Senatorial Representative and let them know that you, as their constituent, want them to do whatever it takes to support our ally. (Feel free to add Ukraine as well.)
Donate $25, or any amount, to the charitable organization of your choice. Locally, Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta (JFGA) has multiple projects helping Israel for which it is raising money. National organizations that are also in the middle of raising immediate relief funds include but are not limited to Friends of the IDF (FIDF), Jewish National Fund (JNF) and (American Friends of) Mogan David Adom (AFMDA).
Pray. Inquire as to what your synagogue is doing, see if you can take part in their support activities. If you are involved with a Jewish organization, many of these organizations are creating programs and fundraisers.
Keep up to date. Many Jewish organizations are offering daily briefings that go more in depth than what you would find in the media. I have recently been on an FIDF, and American Jewish Committee (AJC) Zoom briefing this weekend and I know that JNF and AJC are having Zoom briefings today and tomorrow.
Talk about this with friends and business colleagues, Jewish and non-Jewish. Make sure everyone you know knows this is important to you, to America, and to democracy all over the world. The extent of the horrific actions of Hamas needs to be understood by every single American.
I would also add that if you see something in the mainstream media that rings hollow or is defaming, call it out. Yesterday, the New York Times had a picture of a grieving Hamas militant’s family pictured on their front page. Not the victim’s family, but the perpetrator’s family, how disgusting. CNN brought on a Palestinian apologist. He attempted, with no rebuttal from the CNN anchor, to convince the American public that it is Israel’s fault that Hamas started this war, kidnapped children and elderly and videotaped the process, and is wantonly killing civilians. It is sickening.
I, for one, would like to see the complete annihilation of the Hamas infrastructure which has been killing civilians for decades now with only controlled responses from Israel’s military. But I will back whatever Israel determines is the appropriate response for the war that Hamas has begun, and as the military has stated, we need to brace ourselves for a long and arduous military response from the world’s most ethical army.
Michael Morris is the owner and publisher of the Atlanta Jewish Times.