From Federation’s KB Goodkin,

Director of Community Engagement and Advancement

Tues., Oct. 10:


We are still awaiting official updates– as you can imagine there hasn’t been time for the dust to settle or the full picture to become clear in any way.  The following is the update of firsthand accounts prepared for the rally yesterday.

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Our own Partnership Region of Eshkol has sustained serious anguish.  Many of our colleagues, friends, and families have been murdered, taken, or are missing.  On Saturday our team received a text from our Partnership Region Director, Tali Roitman, who shared:

    “We are in the midst of one of the most difficult security incidents we have ever known, and since this morning we have been under a criminal terrorist attack the likes of which we have never known. Neighborhoods surrounding Gaza, kibbutzim and moshavim, maintain a stubborn fight with the aim of repelling the terrorists who entered villages and houses, committed crimes, killed, kidnapped people while they were sleeping, vandalized and looted property.

“Despite the unimaginable difficulty and the pain from the heavy losses we suffered, we make every effort to act together and help each other, until our forces regain control of the situation.

“We are all in pain and at the same time are currently focusing on one thing: Protect ourselves and our communities. We thank the emergency classes and the residents who fight valiantly to protect our home. We will pray for the peace of the security forces, who are now going to battle to restore security at the border and for the safety of all the abducted and missing persons. God willing, we will soon be able to return to the days of inner and outer peace in our region and in the whole country. The great concern of the international Jewish community warms our hearts and strengthens us. The world’s support for Israel is overwhelming.”

She went on to share that her own mother in law was missing and that our dear friend Juddih Hagai and her husband Gadi are still missing.  They went for a walk in the early morning as they do every day, and, as it became clear something was amiss, her daughter texted her to check in.  Her last text to her child was “We’re outside. Face down in the field.  We see tons of rockets” and then her location.  She was 2kms from her home at kibbutz Nir Oz and hasn’t been heard from since.

Thankfully, some members of the region were able to hide and/or were rescued once their villages were cleared of threats or be relocated to the emergency centers in Eilat and elsewhere. Our partnership Director Tali is in Eilat, helping to sort through the chaos while her son and husband stay in their town to guard it.

Dana Kozlofsky, one of our partnership teachers in Eshkol, shared her thoughts with our team on Sunday: “There are no words to describe the hell we are in.  Finally, after 40 hours of being besieged the army evacuated us last night so we reached Eilat at 4am. My family, we are all afraid and devastated, we lost friends, I lost students. I have horror stories that only Satan can think of.”

At least 300,000 soldiers have been called up in the largest recruitment of reserve troops in decades.  If any of you were at our wonderful Yom HaAtzmaut concert in April, our dear band leader Eliran was among them.  He sent his gratitude to us for the outpouring of support and well wishes. He has had at least one of his bright and talented music students, Asaf, murdered in Kibbutz Reim on Saturday.  We know that there are many stories like this one emerging in the coming days as the fog clears.

Our Shinshinim from last year sent messages of gratitude for the support as they mourn, worry, search, and serve Israel.  Every Jew across the globe is impacted.  Everyone knows someone who is lost, murdered, waiting for answers, injured, or helping someone else.

Albany local Susannah Levine is in Eilat helping with the children and painting faces to keep them active and calm.  Our Peter and BJ Rosenfeld are in Jerusalem currently.  While standing in line to give blood, the siren went off and everyone ran for shelter.  Once they were all clear, everyone got back into the queue in exactly the same spots!  People even got out of line to buy cookies and food for those in line and then returned to their places.  Israelis are committed and united to one another right now.  So should we be!

No doubt you have all been touched by the news, and may be struggling emotionally. Our partners at Jewish Family Services can offer support. To reach the counseling team at JFS, please go to their website,

A recording from recent updates can be found on our website as well as full details of how you can help.  For now, Give. Our Shinshinim for 2023/24 share their thoughts on what can be done as eloquently as any 18-year-old we  have ever met:

Mia says:

On Sunday the people of Israel began to gather food and supplies to the soldiers and the families in need and open the houses to the families that need a place to stay. These times remind us that we are stronger together, we have the power to help each other.

My uncle collected money to buy toiletries and then he went to the Chabad place in Jerusalem, made sandwiches, and drove as close to the fighting area as he can to give the food and the supplies out. My uncle is one out of many people that are giving as much as they can to the soldiers. My brother and my uncle are in the fighting forces right now. My uncle is in the front line and my brother is near Hebron.  I have some friends from school that are in the front lines as well and we hope that they will all come back soon and safe. We send our prayers to all of the people and the soldiers in Israel.

One of the ways that we can help is by donating money so people like my uncle will be able to buy food and supplies for the soldiers in need.

Alon says:

  In light of recent events, we want to emphasize the strong bond that connects us to our friends and family in Israel. As a small nation, the impact of recent events has hit close to home, with almost everyone knowing someone affected by the recent actions of Hamas. This has brought Israelis together as one big family, with many volunteering and supporting our soldiers in both the south and north. Almost every Israeli volunteers today somewhere, packing food, clothes, hygiene supplies, hosting families from the south, logistical assistance in hospitals. Activities for kids at shelters. And the list goes on and on.. Even in challenging times, we find hope in the resilience and unity of the Israeli people. Let us stand together, support one another, and continue to pray for better days ahead.

KB Goodkin

Director of The LAB: Center for Learning And Belonging
JFNENY’s Deep Dive Into Collaborative Innovation, Engagement, And Education

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