Kehillat Ra’anan Desecration

Last week, our sister congregation in Israel, Kehillat Ra’anan, was marred by vandalism. Temple Rodef Shalom responded with a $1,000 donation from the Bridge to Israel Fund to help with the vandalism repair.

More donations are welcome; payment may be easily made at their website here. Donations through this button are in Israeli shekels at an exchange rate of 3.3 shekels to the dollar. Paypal will make the calculation for you after you’ve put your shekel amount in. Multiply your intended gift by 3.3 to come up with the correct donation.

This is the notice made by the Israel Movement for Reform and Progressive Judaism last week:

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Last night Kehillat Ra’anan’s synagogue was desecrated with graffiti painted across its façade. In recent years this Ra’anana synagogue has been vandalized several times, with damage to its walls and breaking their windows. To this day, despite the police saying they have invested significant efforts in locating the perpetrators, no suspects have been caught, and this terrible phenomenon continues to hurt this flourishing community. Here below you can see a picture of the front of the building taken earlier today. When faced with such images, one can only imagine the feelings of the young preschool children and their parents when arriving at the building this morning.

Following the incident, the media spoke with their Rabbi Tamar Kolberg, who said: “it is almost impossible to grasp the enormity of the shock we felt when we saw this graffiti tattooed on the beautiful Beit Shmueli building that houses our community. It is even more shocking when you read the quotes they wrote over and over again on these walls (Rambam, Laws of Repentance, Chapter III, 14; Psalm 139: 21-22): “None of them have a place in the World to Come, even though they are Jews. They are cut down and lost and doomed by the size of their wickedness forever and ever … infidels, unbelievers in Torah … sinners in the many ways of public dissent … Murderers and terrifying the public … Done but not over” and “Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies”. On behalf of the community and its members, I denounce this phenomenon of intense expressions of hatred from such low, dark people. I reject their right to sit in judgment, which they think allows them to use such harsh and derogatory words. I call upon Israeli public to wake up from its slumber and take revolutionary educational and social steps that will allow all of us to lead meaningful and significant Jewish lives, based a worldview that stems from the great legacy of the Torah that says “its ways are the ways of pleasantness and all her paths lead to peace” (Proverbs 3:17).”

In addition to this, the IMPJ joins in responding. We must all rally behind this community and re-emphasize our determination that these types of “Price Tag” actions will not deter us in expanding our work. On the contrary, there is no doubt in our minds that acts of villainy of this type are the result of our growing ability to serve a wider and more significant part of the Israeli public.

To all this, we declare the following:

The repeated violations of our synagogues undeniably proves that these are not isolated incidents, but acts of violence that require serious and thorough investigation, both on the legal level, and on the public level. The actions of “Price Tag” will not deter us from serving a community of thousands of families in Ra’anana interested in a Judaism of tolerance and equality.

We call upon the Orthodox rabbis and leaders of the city of Ra’anana to publicly denounce this act, in the strongest and most unequivocal terms.

In recent weeks the Israel Reform Movement received inquiries from no less than four different communities in the Sharon region, interested in establishing Reform congregations. This is our reply to those saboteurs who have in them no fear of the law, and no fear of God.

May this coming Shabbat be one of Shalom – Peace,

Rabbi Gilad Kariv

Executive Director


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