As Jewish people, we underscore the infinite value of human life, as we are taught in Torah, and in times of crisis and deep pain, we must look for humanity even when our pragmatic approaches differ across the world. It has now been nearly four weeks since the horrific attack by Hamas on the people of Southern Israel. The World Union for Progressive Judaism, the global network of over 1,000 communities in 50 countries, representing over two million reform, progressive, liberal, and reconstructionist Jews continues to embrace our siblings in Israel with our love and support. Our hearts go out to those who have buried their loved ones, those who remain in a bed of pain as they wait for news as to the fate of family members, and those who are living the daily agony of knowing that family members and friends are hostage in Gaza.
The World Union for Progressive Judaism stands with the families of hostages calling on the global community to unequivocally demand the release of all hostages immediately and without conditions. There can be no justification for holding civilians, including babies, children, and the elderly as pawns. While some are now attempting to provide moral justification for the actions of Hamas on 7 October we say in the strongest terms possible that there was no justification for the heinous crimes committed that day and we stand with Israel in its moral right to self-defense.
In doing so, we are starkly conscious of the toll this is taking on innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza who are bearing the burden of the IDF’s retaliatory efforts against Hamas who use civilians as human shields. We join the international community calling for Israel to allow essential food, water, medicine and other aid to flow more quickly into Gaza acknowledging that there must be guarantees that this aid will reach the Palestinian civilian population for whom it is provided and will not bolster the Hamas terrorist infrastructure.
Lastly, we note with great concern the rise of antisemitic rhetoric and attacks throughout the world. We acknowledge with gratitude those who have taken a principled stand to speak out both against the terrorist activities of Hamas and the antisemitic manifestations of their supporters, as well as to differentiate between this murderous group and the Palestinian people. At a time of strife for Jewish people around the world, we expect Jewish communities to be able to safely gather for prayer and call on local law enforcement to partner with synagogues and Jewish institutions everywhere to ensure the safety and security of all communities of faith.
As a global progressive Jewish movement, we pray for a swift end to this bloodshed and suffering.
יי עוז לעמו ייתן, יי יברך את עמו בשלום.
God will give strength to all God’s people.
God will bless God’s people with peace.