by Stacey Leavitt-Wright
(Edmonton) – To our community members,
As you may have heard about the unprecedented and largest terrorist attack on Israel in years, we are breaking our protocol not to email on Shabbat and Yom Tov and sending this message before Yom Tov ends. Israel is at war because of heinous and ongoing actions by Hamas and its backers. Now is the time to show solidarity for Israel, the only Jewish state.
We all have some connection to Israel and there are now reports of Canadians missing and killed. Hamas has fired over 2,500 rockets toward Israel’s major population centers, breached Israel’s borders, infiltrated Israeli communities, and kidnapped civilians. Over 300 people have been killed, over 1,590 injured, and an unknown amount have been taken hostage into Gaza, including children, women, and disabled.
In response, Israel launched Operation Swords of Iron to defend its sovereignty and its citizens. Earlier today Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the country was at war with Hamas and reservists have been called up to boost the armed forces. We can expect a significant response in coming days.
Rest assured that we have been in communication with all the Federations across Canada, the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, and all levels of police. Out of an abundance of caution, Edmonton Police Service will be increasing their patrols around all institutions and made a statement on social media. We very much appreciate their ongoing support. I personally visited all the Edmonton synagogues during services today to provide an update and address security. As of what we know now, there are no local security threats and we will keep you updated about the situation.
We are also in touch with our partners in Israel and Keren Heyesod as well as the Jewish Federations of Canada – United Israel Appeal as the needs will be great. A local fund will be launched after the holiday.
We are working with rabbis and community partners to plan a community solidarity gathering at Beth Israel Synagogue on Monday at 7 p.m. to gain strength from one another in this incredibly difficult time. Details are still being worked out and we will communicate once they have taken shape.
The Jewish Federations of North America is planning a webinar tomorrow where you can hear the latest updates.
Operation Swords of Iron Webinar – Update on Israel
Sunday, October 8
10 a.m. MST
We will be creating a web page on our website where you can find important updates.
As flights to Israel are interrupted, Canadian consular assistance can be found here for anyone visiting Israel right now.
Our hearts are with Israel but are also breaking as we watch from afar as the unspeakable terror unfolds in Israel. We are one with Israel and pray this war ends soon.
Stacey Leavitt-Wright is CEO, Jewish Federation of Edmonton.