December 21, 2023
We have been overwhelmed by our congregation’s outpouring of support for Kibbutz Kissufim. As you know, the kibbutz was destroyed in the October 7 attacks and its displaced members now live in temporary housing in an isolated hotel on the Dead Sea. (To learn more about Kibbutz Kissufim, click here.) Shortly after the attacks, Beth Emet was asked to take the lead in raising $200,000 to fund six months of trauma counseling and related programming services for the kibbutz’s 58 school-aged children. We agreed to do so, including committing to raise at least $100,000 from our own congregants and recruiting other area congregations to participate in the effort. Three other local congregations have joined us in this project (Temple Beth Israel, Congregation Hakafa, and Oak Park Temple).
Your response to our appeals for support of Kibbutz Kissufim has been remarkable and says so much about our community and its values in action. To date, we have received donations or pledges totaling approximately $108,000! In turn, the other synagogues with which we are partnering have raised $48,000. We are thus at a combined total of $156,000, well on our way to meeting our combined $200,000 goal but with significant funds yet to be raised. In short, your donations continue to be needed. To donate, click here or you can send your donation to Beth Emet. And, to be clear, the funds we have been asked to raise only scratch the surface of the kibbutz’s overwhelming needs.
Your support for the members of Kibbutz Kissufim has been much more than financial, however. On December 12, more than 60 Beth Emet households participated by Zoom with members of Kibbutz Kissufim in lighting candles for the 6th night of Chanukah. Rabbi London provided our congregational greetings and best wishes, and Cantor Young chanted the prayers and sang some songs. Click here for the recording. Although the conditions were far from ideal, with the kibbutz’s members collectively Zooming from the busy lobby of the hotel they share with other displaced persons, there was no mistaking the warmth and appreciation conveyed. Those sentiments were reiterated in messages we received after the event. “Thank you all. You touched my heart.” “I hope it was as meaningful to you as it was for us.”
Our thanks to all of you for helping kindle lights of care and support amidst the current darkness.