HUC-JIR’s Statement in Solidarity with Israel

October 7, 2023

Dear HUC-JIR community,

We condemn the devastating attacks by Hamas rockets and militant invasion of Israel early this morning and mourn the terrible and mounting loss of lives. As Shabbat comes to a close in Israel, the scenes of the horrific and indiscriminate attacks are both heartbreaking and reprehensible.

Over the last year, Israel has seen government action met with unprecedented protests to ensure that Israel’s democratic foundations remain strong. The Hamas rockets and attackers make no distinction between Jew and non-Jew, protester or government supporter. Nor should we. At this moment of horrendous assault on innocent life, HUC-JIR stands as one with a unified Israel.

The leadership team on our Taube Family Campus in Jerusalem has advised students and faculty on recommended guidance and steps to remain safe in this new emergency. They are all accounted for at this time. We continue to be in touch with them and to pray for our Israeli community as the situation unfolds.

To reduce unnecessary exposure, our Year-In-Israel faculty will teach on Zoom tomorrow and will proceed in concert with ongoing guidance from the Israeli authorities, while our other programs remain on break until next week.  We are working with municipal authorities and nonprofits to make our campus shelter available and we are prepared to offer humanitarian assistance where necessary.

I have been in close contact with campus leadership since early morning and continue to assess the situation. I want to thank our campus leadership for supporting and caring for our community, especially the directors of our educational programs Rabbis Talia Avnon-Benveniste and Reuven Greenvald, Cantor Sarah Grabiner, and Professors Michal Muszkat-Barkan and Ruhama Weiss, who are backed by our campus managing directors, Dganit Jenshil and Einav Lahav, and supported by our facilities team lead, Salim Yagmur.

As we conclude the fall festivals, our sukkot remind us of our fragility, a message tragically reinforced by the appalling events unfolding in Israel.  With gratitude to the brave Israeli soldiers and the dedicated first responders who are steadfast in their work, we pray for a quick resolution of the conflict, speedy return of hostages, and full recovery of the wounded.

May God bring the shelter of peace over the entire region.

Andrew Rehfeld Signature

Andrew Rehfeld, Ph.D.

Statement in Hebrew