The Avodah Blog

Heartbroken: A Statement from our CEO


Our community is hurting and horrified following the brutal terrorist attack by Hamas. To say we are heartbroken, would not be saying enough.

Our hearts break for the civilians massacred, abducted, and injured in Israel, in the largest massacre of Jews in recent memory. There is no justification for the unspeakable crimes perpetrated last Shabbat.

Our hearts break for the Palestinian civilians killed in Gaza under continued bombardment and the many now forced to leave their homes.

Our heartbreak goes on and on, and we fear what will come next.

For 25 years Avodah has focused on justice issues within the United States. We build pluralistic communities that put Jewish teachings into action locally, and have not made statements about Israel/Palestine in the past.

But we know that the grief for those killed is not bound by borders. We know that the fear for the safety of loved ones crosses the globe. We know that Jews everywhere, informed by our history of persecution, are hurting right now. And we know that violence afflicts the conscience of all those who value justice and human rights.

This sorrow is unbearable to hold alone. So instead, we hold each other, wrapped in the warmth of our communities, traditions, and history. We return to our teachings that have guided Jews for generations, like “b’tselem elohim”, that every person is made in the image of G-d, and that the highest mitzvah is “pikuach nefesh”, to save a life. 

So what can we offer? Each other. We are here. You can reach out to our staff who have brilliance in Jewish text and values that sustains and nourishes us. We can be there for each other, even now — we have the tools to do that so well.

We return to the words of our liturgy: “We pray that we see the day when war and bloodshed cease, and nation does not lift sword against nation”.

Until then, we hold you, our community, in grief. 

Cheryl Cook
Avodah CEO

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