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Middlesex/Monmouth Community Bomb Shelter in Halutza

Anne/Adrian Kroll

Anne/Adrian Kroll

Shavua Tov!
Anne Kroll's D'var Torah:

Shabbat Shalom
I would like to dedicate my D’var Torah in memory of the 364 civilians that were killed by Hamas at the Supernova Sukkot Gathering on October 7th and in honor of those that were wounded.
Tuesday is Yom Haatzmaut , Israel’s Independence Day, a day of great celebration since 1948. Across Israel, events and celebrations take place. It is a real family day, filled with barbecues and picnics. parades, and fireworks, sound familiar, very much equal to our 4th of July here in America.
So, I began to reminisce about what the 4th of July was like when I was a little girl back in the 60’s in New Brunswick. You see I am a Jew by choice and grew up Italian Catholic and it was the only holiday that we had only American food. Even on Thanksgiving there was always lasagna or ravioli to go along with our turkey. My mom would make what I thought was her world-famous homemade macaroni salad and potato salad, well it was famous in my world, right? We would also have hot dogs and hamburgers with all the fixings on our small round barbeque grill using the dusty charcoal briquets. My Dad would start the fire with lighter fluid, how could you ever forget the smell of lighter fluid? We would then go and watch the fireworks in Milltown. I looked forward to it every year, especially the grand finale!
Then I began to think about the hostages and their families, especially the children and what their memories would be of Yom Haatzmaut. Would their memories be of the fun times they used to have, or would they be permanently scarred after the events of October 7th?
I began to specifically think about Noam Or, age 17 and Alma Or, age 13 from Kibbutz Be’eri (3 miles from Gaza) who were taken hostage by Hamas and then released in November. They were taken along with their father Dror Or, age 49 who is now confirmed dead. The family was forced out of their safe room as terrorists set the house on fire. A neighbor witnessed the terrorists grabbing and taking them hostage.
Days later, the body of Yonat Or, age 50, Dror’s wife and mother of Noam and Alma, was recovered.
Yonat Or, was an entrepreneur who created Ayuna, her own carpentry and furniture line in Be’eri. which had earned national accolades and made her a well-known name in the Israeli decor world. A native of Be’eri, her father once ran the local carpentry shop, and she grew up amid the wood shavings, before continuing the family tradition herself.
Will Noam and Alma remember the sounds of the fireworks or the sounds of the sirens going off and trying to run into their family’s safe room before the terrorists broke into their home. Will they remember and picture the sky beautifully lighting up from the fireworks during the grand finale or will they remember the visions and screams that echo in their heads repeatedly after witnessing their Eema being raped in front of them as the beasts even broke her pelvic bone before killing her and the sounds of the barbarians beating their Abba in front of them. Trying to grieve the loss of their mother while being held in captivity surrounded by the smell of death. The months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds that went by while being held hostage, never knowing if they would ever be released, while constantly being tortured and beaten. Wondering if their older brother Yahli, who was volunteering in the IDF in the north and their family dog, Nella, were safe.

Holocaust survivors know it all too well that those psychological and emotional scars will last forever even with the most sophisticated of PTSD therapies and treatments.

In this week’s Parsha Kedoshim, G-d instructs us to be holy by observing and following mitzvot’s, we are to emulate and behave like G-d. The mitzvots that we are commanded to do govern our relationships with others. They are designed to preserve the dignity of others. The primary mitzvot is that you must love the stranger as yourself. This mitzvot is mentioned 36 times in the torah, more times than any other commandment.
Relations between Be'eri residents and Gazans were good. Bret Stephens writes:
Be’eri was well known for its pro-peace sympathies: It had a special fund to give financial help to Gazans who came to the kibbutz on work permits, and kibbutzniks would often volunteer to drive sick Palestinians to an oncology center in southern Israel.

The residents of Kibbutz Be’eri were following G-d’s commandments and preserving the dignity of the Gazans as commanded in this week’s torah portion.

As the war enters its 7th month, Israelis try to put their scars behind them and return to their communities. One such community is Halutza in the Negev. Located on Israel’s border with Egypt and Rafah and only 4.3 miles from Gaza. Halutza was founded by a group of families evacuated during Israel’s disengagement from Gaza in 2005. They moved to this remote corner of the desert – which had never been inhabited or farmed – because they saw the development of the Negev as Israel’s next national mission. Their 21st century pioneering spirit served as the engine to bring other new young families to the region. For two decades, Israelis who live on the border, have endured continual attacks from the bordering Gaza Strip – rockets, incendiary balloons, and more. The residents of these communities are resilient in the wake of the October 7 attacks and their aftermath, returning home after being evacuated and looking for ways to stay strong and restore their sense of safety and confidence amidst the challenges they face. They left behind their hopes and dreams, but their spirit was not broken.

Another mitzvot mentioned in this week’s torah portion is lo ta’amod al dam re’echa, meaning literally “do not stand by idly by the blood of your neighbor.” One of the first lessons I learned when I converted to Judaism is that being Jewish is not a spectator sport. You cannot just sit by the sidelines. It is not permitted to stand by and do nothing. That is why after the events of October 7th my husband Adrian and I began to help Jewish National Fund USA raise the critical funds needed for additional bomb shelters.


One of the most important responsibilities of being a Jew is a sense of Jewish memory. Jewish memory is not just individual, it is communal. As a community, let us create meaningful memories out of these horrific times as we help our brothers and sisters in Eretz Israel by building additional bomb shelters for the residents of Halutza, named the Middlesex/Monmouth Community Bomb Shelter. Won't you please join us in this wonderful mitzvah and support our campaign to ensure that they are protected. Adrian, and I, through Jewish National Fund USA and donations from you can make this dream become a memory of how we helped by building additional bomb shelters. We personally thank all of you that have donated to JNF already. Bomb shelters provide protection from rockets that besiege families in the region not only from Gaza but as we just saw from Iran on April 13. Since 1901 Jewish National Fund -USA has not only planted over 26O million trees but continues to stand true to their passion, commitment, and vision for the future of Israel and the Jewish people. It remains clear and unwavering.

A roadside shelter protects up to fifteen residents with a real floor, day, or night. It provides essential shelter for residents when they are not near their home– the park, playground, bus stop, driving to work, etc.

*COST-$50,000.00 per shelter

* NEED: 6 Roadside shelters and 200 in the North and
in the south

I do not have to tell you how important Israel is to the Jewish people, nor do I have to explain to you that we haven’t any friends out there (The UN, government officials, college presidents, college students, the media). And if you happen to stumble across a friend out there, they are exceedingly rare. Without a strong Israel, antisemitism will continue to rise even more, and every Jew worldwide is in danger.

Since 1948, we have vowed to never forget. Having amnesia and betraying the survivors a second time is not an option. “Jews do not have history, we have memory! “While history is about what happened in the past, memory is about how that past drives our present and our future. It is all about action! That is why the verb that appears most in our prayers is Z’chor. Zecher, Zicharon Remember, remember, remember. During the Passover Seder, we do not teach our children that our ancestors came out of Egypt. We teach them that each person must see oneself as if he or she personally came out of Egypt. Our challenge as a Jew is how do you take this collective memory of our people and make it a part of your life. This is a moment to reaffirm our Jewish commitments. Kol Yisrael Areivim Zeh Ba’Zeh, the entire Jewish world, is intertwined with one another. 

As I was writing this, I could not stop thinking about the hostage family I spoke about earlier, the Or family from Kibbutz Be’eri. The word Or means light in Hebrew. I came across an article written by Rabbi Lauren Eichler Berkun on the JTS website referring to the mystical commentator, Sefat Emet’s, explanation that performing a mitzvah is like lighting an eternal candle. So, I ask you to please light your own personal eternal candle by making your meaningful donation after Shabbat in Memory of Dror and Yonat Or and in Honor of Noam and Alma Or. By doing so you will shed some light on these very dark times for Jews worldwide and emulate and behave like G-d as we are commanded to do. Whatever meaningful amount you can donate will make a difference.


We are on our way to raising enough for a second bomb shelter!
JUN
10

Our First Bomb Shelter Completed!

Our First Bomb Shelter Completed!

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$65,360
raised of $100,000 goal
 

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Team Middlesex/Monmouth NJ Bomb Shelter

$67,160
$50,000