Rabbi Septimus shares thoughts from Shalom Austin on war in Israel

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Rabbi Daniel A. Septimus
Shalom Austin CEO

By Rabbi Daniel A. Septimus
Shalom Austin CEO

The October 7 th Hamas terrorist attack on Israel has changed the lives of Israelis,
Jewish communities, and people everywhere. We have lost thousands of lives, over 200
are held hostage in Gaza, and families are changed forever.

This war affects many, and our thoughts and prayers are with all those who are
suffering, grieving and forever changed. All of our hearts are broken. But no one is
alone in this, especially here in Austin. Our community has swiftly come together to
show support for one another, inspire advocacy and raise critical funds to help our
brothers and sisters in Israel.

On October 9, the Greater Austin community gathered in solidarity with Israel for a
community-wide event at Congregation Agudas Achim hosted by Shalom Austin, Israeli-
American Council (IAC) and 32 local Jewish institutions. With over 2,000 people in-
person and close to 1,000 people online, the evening brought people together, earned
the support of our elected officials and gained positive media attention on all major local networks.

At the gathering, we heard from Governor Greg Abbott, Congressman Lloyd Doggett,
Council Member Alison Alter and Mayor Kirk Watson. Interfaith community leaders were in attendance as Ajit Giani read a statement of support on behalf of Interfaith Action of Central Texas (iACT). We joined in song together, heard words from Consul General of Israel to the Southwest Livia Link-Raviv, followed by a very heartfelt testimony of this horrendous attack from Oren Shay, who is visiting Austin from Israel for a year-of- service program through our Jewish Agency for Israel partnership. We joined together in blessings for the IDF, Israel and took a moment to say Kaddish and sang Hatikvah. During this difficult time, we are reminded of our slogan, Am Yisrael Chai – the people of

Israel live. There have been many times in our history that these famous words have
been sung despite systematic attempts to exterminate and annihilate the Jewish people.

It also symbolizes the unity of the Jewish people and how we will continue to fight for
our security and peace as one unified people.

Now, more than ever, it is critical to act. We encourage the community to give
meaningfully to our partner’s Jewish Federations of North America’s Israel Emergency
Campaign. We urge our community to advocate and tell your federal, state, and local
elected officials and representatives to support Israel. And we ask our friends and
neighbors to stand together with Israel now and in the future.

Please visit our website for more information: shalomaustin.org/standwithisrael.