Update: Yarden Roman-Gat is Free

November 30, 2023 We are overjoyed to share the heartwarming news that Yarden Roman-Gat, who was taken hostage in Gaza, has been safely released and reunited with her loved ones. Her brother, Gili Roman, spoke at our services on November 3rd, touching our hearts with the story of his sister’s bravery and her abduction by …

Together in Strength and Hope: Reflections on the March for Israel Rally

November 15, 2023 Yesterday marked a historic day for our community and the entire Jewish people. Nearly 300,000 of us gathered at the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for the March for Israel rally, surpassing the record set by the March for Soviet Jewry in 1987. Temple Emanu-El is proud to have played our part …

Together We Will Prevail

Rabbi Davidson’s Shabbat Message – November 10, 2023

Gili Roman, Brother of Hostage Yarden Roman-Gat, Addresses Congregation

On Friday, November 3, we were honored to be joined by Gili Roman and Yotam Polizer. They addressed the congregation to raise awareness about the more than 230 Israelis being held hostage and the critical efforts to support the survivors of the October 7 terror attack. Gili Roman is the brother of Yarden Roman-Gat who …

“Come support the Jewish people by praying with the Jewish people”

Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson is featured in The Times of Israel on October 24, 2023 It may have been a bit chutzpadik, but last Shabbat I welcomed worshippers, who include many non-synagogue members watching online, with these words:  “Shabbat Shalom and good evening. Thank you to those with us here in our sanctuary, and to …

Shabbat Service in Unity & Solidarity with Israel

On Friday, October 20, the Temple Emanu-El community held a special Shabbat service in unity and solidarity with Israel. We are grateful for the presence and heartfelt support of our Christian clergy allies. Reverend Dr. Eric Park of Christ Church NYC, Pastor Jared Stahler of Saint Peter’s Church, and Reverend Ryan Muldoon of the Catholic …

Communal Shabbat Service in Solidarity with Israel

On Friday, October 13, the Temple Emanu-El community came together for a special Shabbat service in solidarity with Israel. We were honored to be joined by Ambassador Dennis Ross, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Lt Governor Antonio Delgado. In addition to the hundreds in our sanctuary, we were more than 9,000 viewers from …

Our Prayers for Israel

Avinu She’Ba’Shamayim, O God on High, Rock and Guardian of Israel, bless the State of Israel, which marks the dawning of hope for all who seek peace. Shield it within the embrace of your love. Spread over it the canopy of your peace.

Dear Friends:

As we awoke this morning, we learned the devastating news that Israel had suffered a series of highly coordinated attacks by air, land, and sea at the hands of Hamas. In a fashion eerily reminiscent of the Yom Kippur War 50 years and one day ago, Israelis were terrorized as they prepared to celebrate a Holy Day – this time Simchat Torah.

At the latest count, 100 Israelis have been killed and 900 wounded. It appears that Hamas terrorists have captured a number of Israeli soldiers and civilians and taken them captive in Gaza, and Hamas militants that infiltrated through the Gaza border remain at large, creating terror in communities in Israel’s south. More than 2,000 rockets have been fired toward the center of Israel.

Hamas’s leadership now seeks to bring other Palestinian and Arab communities into this fight, demonstrating that, for some, their desire truly is to see Israel erased from the map. For them, coexistence will never be acceptable. That the attack comes just as Israel and the Arab world are endeavoring to strengthen ties with a commitment to aid the Palestinian people too, demonstrates the depths of Hamas’s cynicism. To those who, despite this attack, will nonetheless claim Israel will always have the upper hand, look and see for yourself: No people is safe from terror.

We pray for peace for all innocents caught in the crossfire of this hateful war against the Jewish State – Palestinians and Israelis alike. The Palestinian people are as much victims of their leaders’ cynicism as Israelis. All deserve a life free from conflict.

But in this moment, we stand firmly with the people of Israel – our people. May peace soon be established throughout their land, and fullness of joy for all who dwell there. Amen.

Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson
Peter and Mary Kalikow Senior Rabbinic Chair

“I Have No Other Homeland”

Rabbi Sarah H. Reines Temple Emanu-El NYC | Yom Kippur 5784 Two of my earliest loves, Judaism and poetry, are deeply and inextricably linked. The Torah describes itself as a shir – a poem, or song. Much of our liturgy is poetry, and poetry can often be offered as prayer. Why? Because with few words, …

“It’s Hard to Be a Jew”

Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson’s Rosh Hashanah sermon in the Times of Israel

Shver tsu zayn a Yid! Last Spring, walking in Jerusalem, I passed a man wearing a t-shirt quoting the old Yiddish maxim:  “It’s hard to be a Jew.”

Even in Israel.

Shver tsu zayn a Yid is how I felt that afternoon.  Only a few hours earlier at the Knesset I had met Simcha Rothman, a principal architect of the Netanyahu government’s proposed judicial reform that jeopardizes a cornerstone of democracy – judicial independence.  The reform is a means to an end.  If enacted, other coalition proposals would be difficult to defeat, including bills discriminating against Arab Israelis, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and women, increasingly segregated in public settings; as well as bills to re-legislate the Law of Return to halachic standards, and to annex portions of the West Bank, effectively killing the Palestinian people’s own national aspirations – aspirations already withered by decades of Israeli occupation and a corrupt Palestinian leadership that traffics in antisemitic canards and pays terrorists to slay Israeli civilians.

For thirty-seven consecutive weeks, Israelis of every political, social and ethnic stripe have assembled to protest against this government; hundreds of thousands wrapping themselves in the blue and white of the state they cherish.  Ein li eretz acheret, “I have no other country,” they sing.  “I will not stay silent….”  Poet Ehud Manor composed that cri de coeur during the first Lebanon War, in which many of these protestors fought.  Others served in ’48 and ’67.  Still others during Yom Kippur fifty years ago.  But most, too young to remember those existential battles against enemies without, fight now to save Israel from the threat within.

Read the full article on Times of Israel.