The following correspondence between Les Rothschild, president, ARZA Canada, Gilad Kariv, chief executive, IMPJ, and Rabbi Tamar Kolberg, Kehilat Ra'anan, are just a few of the letters and messages received by the Kehilat Ra'anan community after the most recent desecration of its synagogue.
On behalf of ARZA Canada I want to express our shock and sadness about the desecration of our congregation in Ra'anana. As this is a repeat of previous incidents it is very concerning to us and I would ask that you please convey our thoughts of solidarity and support to the congregation. As we approach Pesach, our wish is that the communities in Israel will become free of intolerance and that religious pluralism will be accepted in all parts of the country.
President, ARZA Canada
I'm forwarding your kind words of support to the leadership of Khilat Ra'annan.Many thanks for your support and sincere concern. This event stands as a real contradiction to my feelings during my visit to Canada. Yet I believe this event reflects not only the challenges that we are facing, but also the fact that Khilat Ra'anan became to be a leading institution in the city.
I'm glad to share with you that a leading group of Orthodox rabbis from the city signed a letter condemning the attack with a clear and strong message. The letter will be presented today (Friday 15 April) in the Shabbat service in the Khila in the presence of the mayor.
Like in the old and good Zionist narrative – our response should and will be a real growth in our work in the area, which includes Darchai Noam and the new Gan in Even Yehuda.
I wish you all Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach.
Your friendship and our partnership mean a lot to all of us.
Thank you for your lovely note of support sent to Gilad!
I am married to Lou (Kolberg) who is from Vancouver, and over the years Canada has become a home away from home to me. I have family all over and enjoy visiting as often as I can.
(Below) is a letter I wrote to our friends across the seas!
During the night of April 14, 2011, the windows of our synagogue were shattered and a nasty inscription was scribbled on the wall.
All day long, both on Thursday and on Friday, beautiful letters of support kept arriving to my email address, literally from all over the world.
We speak a lot about our global community, but here was proof; that for our people, this is not just a modern phenomena – it is the way we have always bonded. It is part of our sacred value system: to be there for one another, "Kol Yisrael Arevim ze-ba-ze".
I felt proud to be part of this ancient and unique culture and people; I felt uplifted, encouraged and strengthened in my conviction that we will continue to do our good work and do everything we can to prevent such acts of violence.
Here in Israel all of us are now "masters" of our destiny. We, the citizens of this country, share the responsibility of caring for the well being of one and all. We can't look over our shoulder and blame others for what we bring upon ourselves. We have to seek and find out why these things happen and ask ourselves how to stop them from occurring.
As our entire congregation stood to welcome the Shabbat on Friday (April 15), we were joined by many who came to share our sorrow and show their support.
The mayor, Mr Hofri, and one of his deputies, Mrs Weintraub, spoke about communities needing to work together in Ra'anana; Mr. Amir Shacham, representing the United Jewish Communities of Metrowest New Jersey (with whom our community as well as other communities in town have partnerships), spoke about the unwavering support Metrowest has of our work in town; Rabbi Gilad Kariv, the CEO of the Israeli Reform Movement, spoke of the challenges and plans he sees facing Kehilat Ra'anan. Their words were comforting and encouraging.
But perhaps most unique of all was the attendance of two well-known local Orthodox rabbis, both of them leaders of big Orthodox congregations in Ra'anana. Both are dear friends: Rabbi Farber's youngest daughter attends our preschool class; Rabbi Beller and I are partners in a Beit Midrash learning project we have begun in town. They came to be with us and stayed for the very first part of the service.
I was given permission by Rabbi Farber to read a letter, written and signed by eight Orthodox leaders in town, who stood by Kehilat Ra'anan and condemned the act of violence against us.This was an unusual show of communal togetherness and I would like to believe that it is due to the continual work we all do together in town, quietly and slowly, step by step.
Your letters of support will only encourage us all to continue developing the path of joint education and friendship. We will remain strong in our conviction that pluralism is the goal we need to uphold in town and in Israeli society. And yes, we need your support of this important work, and appreciate your ongoing efforts to stand by this goal and help us achieve it.
Israel is home to all Jews. We all have a share in the ancient biblical vision of seeing our people grow strong upon this land. Our strength will only be solid if our society is able to give voice to all Jews who accept the shades and varieties of our tradition and the communities created along these differences.
Thank you for being with us during this difficult time.
Thank you for being with us in good times, when the routine of hard work is what keeps us going and the courage to do it rests both upon the belief we have in what we are doing, as well as upon your belief in us.
May you have a very meaningful and happy holiday of Passover!
Best wishes, many thanks,
Rabbi Tamar and members of Kehilat Ra'anan