As we sit in the safety of our homes, synagogues and offices, our brothers and sisters in southern Israel will enter into Shabbat in dire peril.
On Tuesday, I sat with our colleague and friend, Mauricio Balter and heard about the horrors of last Shabbat in Beersheva's large and loving Masorti kehilla.
With no advance notice, rockets hit Beersheva at numerous points during early and late Friday night, early and late Saturday morning and throughout the afternoon.
Without a large enough bomb shelter, congregants had to quickly decide "who could and who could not go inside to safety."
Mauricio remained with those who were outside the shelter - lying face down on the floor with his hands covering his head.
Of course, the Bar Mitzvah family canceled their ceremony, since guests from other places throughout the country were too intimidated to attend.
Schools were closed by the municipality on Sunday and Monday, while a fragile "truce" was negotiated.
As we enter Shabbat, what we do in solidarity with our friends and family?
We can and should pray the prayer for "Shalom HaMedinah."
We also should send emails, phone calls and other forms of solidarity communications.
And we should donate funds --- tangibly indicating that we STAND WITH Rabbi Mauricio Balter and Beersheva, with Rabbi Gustavo Surazski and Ashkelon, with Rabbi Gil Nativ and Omer and their communities.
It is time for us to STAND UP AND BE COUNTED.
Shabbat Parah urges us to become cleansed in preparation for Passover. It focuses each of us upon being part of Am Yisrael, suffering under oppression emanating from Egypt and Gaza.
So, too, this year, Shabbat Parah calls upon us to act, to become cleansed of the sin of inaction or indifference and to respond to the call.
I urge each of us to enlist the generosity of our membership in responding meaningfully, by donating to the Masorti Foundation.
To learn more, please contact: Masorti Foundation for Conservative Judaism in Israel 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 832 New York, NY 10115-0068 (212) 870-2216; 1-877-287-7414 http://www.masorti.org/; firstname.lastname@example.org