Our Time is Now

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Every generation has its time. This is ours.

Will we rise to the challenge and persist through the trauma of October 7th and all that has followed? Will we have the difficult conversations with friends and neighbors to help them understand our pain – and how their vocal support for the Jewish people is needed now more than ever in our lifetimes? Will we raise our voices for the children, parents, grandparents – and Holocaust Survivors – who were kidnapped by Hamas during their terrorist attack?

We have no choice. We must rise to this challenge – for the generations that stood for us; for the more than 1,500 brothers and sisters in Israel who were murdered during Hamas’ terrorist attack; for the 250 hostages in Gaza that need to come home now; and, most importantly, for the sake of our children and our children’s children.

Our time for action is now.

Last week, I traveled to Israel as part of a Jewish Federations of North America Solidarity Mission with Beth Wain Brandon, campaign chair and Michael Haas, Israel Emergency co-chair. We went to listen, comfort, and try to make clear to them that they are not alone in this war against terrorism.

We met with Gideon who shared the story of Tamar Gutman, his sister-in-law. She was 27 years old and had complications from Crohn’s disease. Four of her friends are also missing. She was loving and caring to others and was loved by her friends and family. The following day, the family contacted our group to share that Tamar was confirmed dead by intelligence and the family is now sitting shiva. There was no body to bury.

Osnat shared the story of her Aunt Ruti and Uncle Avraham, both in their late 70s who were kidnapped along with their daughter Karen and Karen’s son Ohad. They were stolen from Kibbutz Nir Oz. Ohad turned 9 years old just a few days later in Gaza under captivity. Ruti and Avraham don’t yet know that their other child – their son – was murdered on October 7. Karen is a talented teacher that works with special needs students. And Ohad is a child that is loved by all.

As we comforted them and many others, we were strengthened by their bravery, courage, strength, and resilience. They shared with us their sense of isolation (“the world is against us”), as well as their concern about us in the face of rapidly intensifying Jew hatred in the United States. And they asked us for help.

They need us to share their stories and make the memory of their loved ones a blessing that inspires action so that no other family needs to suffer with this kind of pain. They asked us to help pressure the international Red Cross, elected U.S. officials, and the global community to return the kidnapped to their families immediately. And they implored that we ask people: “why are you supporting terrorists instead of innocent people?”

This is why I am asking you to join me in Washington on November 14th. It is our turn to stand together and make sure our voices are heard. Stand with Israel against terrorism. Demand that the hostages are released. And make it clear that Jew hatred will no longer be accepted in our country.

This is the moment. Our time is now.

Am Yisrael Chai.

Erika B. Rudin-Luria

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