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Our hearts and minds are turned right now to the situation developing in Israel. Many of us have family and friends there and we recognize that the situation may escalate.

Right now the The Rubin Israel Experience is on the ground with 10 first-time visitors to Israel. Thanks to the generosity and vision of Pam and Ron Rubin, this 8th cohort of ten St. Louisans will experience the challenges and promises of modern Israel.

The situation for any visitor is of course different from the experience of local residents. While it may be statistically unlikely that any individual is harmed, and it may be true that more individuals are killed by violence in some American cities on a regular basis, terror works by getting into one’s psyche. In this case, the terror is directed specifically at individual Jewish civilians, each of them fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, cousins and friends.

There may well be political motives by those who are acting. But there is no excuse or justification for the use of terror and violence against civilians in the pursuit of their political aims. We as a community need to clearly and decisively reject and condemn this kind of action, and call on others to recognize this for exactly what it is.

Jewish Federation of St. Louis has created a relief fund to assist The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI) in providing Israel’s terror victims with direct, immediate financial assistance after an attack, complementing governmental relief and easing recover. 100% of money raised through Jewish Federation of St. Louis will be transferred directly to JAFI’s Fund for the Victims of Terror. Donate at JFedSTL.org/Israel-Current-Situation/#donate

For statements from JFNA (Jewish Federations of North America) as well as a message from one of our partners in Israel and updates on the current situation go to JFedSTL.org/Israel-Current-Situation.

The Jewish Federation of St. Louis is here to preserve and sustain a vibrant Jewish Community here in St. Louis, Israel and wherever there is a need. Thank you for your continued support, trust and faith in our mission and the value of Judaism in all of its diversity to a life well lived.

Andrew