Two prominent rabbis in the Las Vegas Valley, from different Jewish congregations, are making a trip to Israel in the midst of the war against terror group Hamas.
I recently sat down with Rabbi Felipe Goodman of Temple Beth Sholom in Summerlin and Rabbi Brad Tecktiel from Midbar Kodesh Temple in Henderson about their mission to the Holy Land.
Goodman and Tecktiel have known each other since their days in rabbinical school. So, it is fitting they are taking a trip together to offer support during the war.
"Maybe get to do some volunteer work while we're down there. That's the hope. The hope is to try to just show that we here in the United States are showing our solidarity and support with the people in Israel," said Tecktiel.
It's been an incredibly difficult month for these valley rabbis, and Jews across the world, after the worst attack on the Jewish people since the Holocaust.
It's also been difficult for the Jewish community throughout this to take the criticism for defending themselves against terrorism.
GOODMAN: "It's been very painful, first of all, what happened on October 7, I, I cannot believe that human beings can do this to other human beings the way those terrorists basically caught babies out of their mother's womb, some beheaded babies and raped women. And on the other hand, of course, we knew Israel's response was going to be absolutely determined, but we did not expect the world to turn around on us so quickly. But I guess they always do, you know. So it's important to know, though, that we cannot lose our determination to fight this war, which is a very righteous war. From my perspective."
TECKTIEL: "We've been through this cycle of violence with Hamas beforeand after what happened on October 7, Israel sees that they can't go through that cycle again. They have to deal with Hamas once and for all and do their best to recover those hostages that were taken on October 7."
GOODMAN: "And we're not happy to see this, of course, right. I mean, we're not eager to see this. Nobody wants to go to war. But we have to defend ourselves, Tricia."
What's also incredibly disturbing to the rabbis is to see the antisemitic pro-Palestinian rallies on college campuses that goes unchecked.
TECKTIEL: "Oftentimes the protests, the rallies, the pro-Palestinianalmost, I would say pro-Hamas rallies, that take one side of it and ignore the atrocities that Hamas perpetrated on the Israelis on October 7. That's, for me, probably the most difficult thing."
GOODMAN: "Not only do they ignore what they did, they almost, like glorify it. Right. They're calling the Hamas their martyrs and heroes. That's...that's...ridiculous"
SPEAKER1: "What these people did, they beheaded babies. They buried families alive. I don't know how young people in your country, how people in college campus can go and protest and declare them heroes. The president of these universities should be ashamed of what's going on those campuses."
And in the face of antisemitism, the rabbis say the Jewish community is more united than ever during this war.
In Israel they are staying at a hotel with 150 displaced families.
GOODMAN: "We know we're going to meet with people who have gone through the trauma of what happened in the Kibbutzim, under the villages in the south next to Gaza. We're going to actually be able to see some of the people who are missing, relatives who were kidnapped, hopefully we'll be able to visit wounded soldiers and of course also to be able to bring condolences to families that have lost loved ones on behalf of our congregations and our community."
The rabbis say the outpouring of support from their congregations has been tremendous. They are bringing much needed supplies like long underwear for the Israeli soldiers.
GOODMAN: "But we are really trying to make an impact from our little corner of the world down here."
TECKTIEL: "And people are eager to do something. So anything that they can get their hands on to touch, to be able to send over there, to send the love literally, is what people are trying to do."
Both rabbis tell me Jewish Nevada is a great way to donate to Israel. They heard from members of the Christian and Catholic communities offering support ahead of their departure for Israel on November 12.
Channel 13 will be doing a Zoom with the rabbis while they are there in Israel.
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