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A Message to the Congregation

March 22, 2024 | Messages From Leadership

The following message was shared with the congregation on Friday, March 22, 2024. 

Dear Central Family,

Last night the Times of Israel published an article with a misleading headline about my stance on Israel. While it was subsequently corrected, the original piece inaccurately misconstrued as my personal view the remarks in which I described the current reality of shifting American Jewish support for this ongoing war. These remarks were made by Zoom to an Israeli audience at a recent World Zionist Congress Conference. Knowing the speed at which misinformation travels, I wanted to personally reach out to you to make sure you heard from me directly. As I shared from the bimah after October 7, Israel has an absolute moral imperative to protect its citizens and to rescue its hostages. Like many, I am pained by this war’s devastating and tragic consequences for Gazans and we must never lose sight of that, nor Hamas’s responsibility for their suffering. But I believe Israel is 168 days into this war because Hamas still holds 135 hostages in Gaza and has not retreated from their promise to continue attacking Israel.

Since October 7, I have traveled to Israel repeatedly to meet with families of hostages, first responders, elected officials, and leaders of civil society, and hosted many of these Israelis at Central. I have spoken at hostage rallies in Tel Aviv and New York. I am proud of everything we at Central are doing to support Israel during arguably the most painful chapter of its history. My description of our wider Jewish community’s complex and diverse views regarding the ongoing war should not be conflated with my personal perspective which is clear in my sermons, actions and other public statements.

I continue to pray for the safe return of our hostages and for a resolution that enables Israelis and their neighbors to live in security and peace.

Am Yisrael Chai, Angela Angela W. Buchdahl Senior Rabbi

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