Jewish Organizations Respond to the War in Israel: Chicago 2023

israel at war 2023 Chicago chitribe

ChiTribe brings together all the responses from Jewish organizations throughout the city of Chicago and beyond

In the wake of the recent war in Israel, the Chicago Jewish community has come forward with many different responses. ChiTribe is rounding up all of the voices of prominent Jewish organizations including the Jewish Federation, Mishkan, AJC, Shalva, FIDF, Moishe House, and others. We want to house all of these important responses in one place. We will continue to update this guide as new events are announced. Add all events here>>

Chicago Community Gatherings: All the Info

Giving Back and Resources


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On Shabbat, the Jewish world awakened to the horrific news that Hamas has launched multi-pronged attacks on Israel, penetrating the country on multiple fronts in the most serious security breach since the Yom Kippur War 50 years ago. The magnitude and deadly impact of the attack is unfathomable.

• JUF is immediately advancing $5.5 million to our partners – JAFI and JDC – who are already providing emergency assistance to victims in Israel.

• We also have opened an Israel Emergency Fund to funnel critical support from our community to the Israeli people.

• JUF will host a community-wide Israel Solidarity Gathering on Tuesday, Oct. 10, at 10 a.m. at NSCI, 1185 Sheridan Road in Glencoe. Register here.

JUF leadership has been interviewed on multiple major media outlets expressing our total solidarity with Israel at this pivotal time and is in communication with elected officials and interfaith allies. In addition, JUF’s security team is working hand-in-hand with Jewish institutions across our community to safeguard their facilities at this time of potentially heightened risk.

Hamas has declared that the operation is in retaliation for the “desecration of the Al Aqsa Mosque,” referring to Jews being allowed to visit the Temple Mount for Sukkot. In addition to launching widespread rocket fire far into north and central Israel, Hamas has made unprecedented incursions into Israeli border communities. Terrorists continue to hold hostages in several locations and the IDF has not yet regained control in all the communities on the Gaza border. The IDF has confirmed 250 dead and 1,500 injured, and we grieve those who have been murdered and pray for the recovery of the injured.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared Israel at war and launched “Operation Swords of Iron” to defend it. The IDF is currently operating in the Gaza Strip from the air, bombing Hamas targets and has called up four reserve brigades, which include thousands of reservists. Some units have already been deployed in the north, while most of the units are deployed around Gaza. Special forces are surrounding the areas where terrorists are still operating inside Israel and fighting them.

U.S. President Joe Biden emphasized that the U.S. stands alongside Israel and fully supports Israel’s right to self-defense.

We will keep you posted. In the meantime, our hearts are with the people of Israel.

-The Jewish United Fund of Chicago

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To the Mishkan community,

We are all watching with broken hearts the horrific news out of Israel this weekend. At Shabbat morning yesterday, while leading Hallel, the series of joyfully sung psalms we sing on festivals, there was the palpable air of cognitive dissonance in the room, alongside tears: how can we sing joyful songs when our brothers, sisters, cousins, children, and parents, are under rocket fire and being terrorized, kidnapped, and murdered in the streets by masked gunmen, in a horrific situation unfolding as we sing? By the afternoon, the numbers of casualties and people injured were in the thousands, Netanyahu had declared war on Hamas, and we were all bracing for what comes next, and to understand the full extent of the loss and damage. We condemn these attacks unequivocally.

As of this very moment, everyone who calls Israel, the West Bank and Gaza home, is living with uncertainty and fear. Over 600 Israelis have been murdered – including, of course, Jewish and Palestinian Israelis – and the number is still rising. An unknown number of innocent civilians have been kidnapped. We’re getting WhatsApp messages from friends in Israel whose family members have been murdered and/or kidnapped. Our brothers and sisters are living through a nightmare that we pray will be over as soon as humanly possible.

This surprise attack occurred 50 years to the day after the Yom Kippur War, in which Israel faced an attack from neighboring Arab armies, and the occurrence of this latest attack by Hamas on Simhat Torah feels painfully reminiscent. The Israeli protest movement, about which I spoke on Rosh Hashanah, is suspending protests against the government while the country comes together to both mourn and defend itself. 

A particular line from Hallel can help us face this moment. Min HaMetsar karati Yah anani b’merhav Yah: “From the narrow place I called out and You answered me with great expansiveness.” (Psalm 118) We pray that those in power can restore peace and safety for everyone who calls Israel, the West Bank and Gaza home, knowing that a lasting and sustained peace cannot come at the safety or well-being of anyone else, lest the cycle of violence continue forever, God forbid. Let us, and let Israel’s leaders remember that the enemy is not Palestinians, but the zero-sum ideology of hate and revenge that motivated Hamas to commit these horrific acts.

To quote my friend and teacher, Jerusalem-based Israeli Leah Solomon, “Hamas, in its choice to try to murder me, my family, and our fellow Jewish Israelis, has positioned itself as the enemy – n

not only my enemy but the enemy of all who want a better future here in this land, including Palestinians. They are, and are destined to be, our fellow inhabitants of this land, and they are our present and future partners in building a future of long term security, justice, dignity, equality, and freedom for all who live here. We are all here to stay. We should start acting like it.”  

I pray that Jews and Israelis – justifiably hurt, angry, violated and traumatized, resist calls for revenge, and I pray that Israel’s and Palestine’s leaders be imbued with merhav Yah, an expansive vision, that enables them to see one another as neighbors destined to share the same land, all of whom deserve to live in peace, freedom, and safety. 

While it feels impossible to marshal an ounce of any emotion other than anxiety, anger and sadness for this moment, Jewish tradition demands that we widen our scope and do something proactive, something that helps us remember that we are not powerless to help. We can stand in solidarity with victims of terror and violence, and can send support. There are links below for how to do both, and how to learn more about what’s happening.

We are here for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out if we can support you.

Sending blessings for peace, comfort, and solidarity.

Rabbi Lizzi Heydemann and Rabbi Steven Philp

How to Support

As more details on how we can support our brothers and sisters in Israel emerge, we will share them with you. In the meantime, we want to alert you of two briefings today (October 8): at 1 pm CT, hosted by AJC and JFNA and 2 pm from JStreet.

We also will gather virtually in community tomorrow morning, October 9th, for Morning Minyan from 8 am – 9 am CT. We will include prayers for safety and peace in Israel followed by space to hear from Rachel Goldberg about life on the ground there and processing in community.

There will also be a solidarity rally on Tuesday in the Chicago area at 10 am.

If you would like to make a donation, check out the following:

America Israel Democracy
JUF Israel Emergency Fund
International Committee of the Red Cross and Magen David Adom

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Response on Instagram by Yinam Cohen, Consul General of Israel in Chicago

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Dear Moishe House Family,

We remain devastated by the ongoing and vicious terrorist attacks first unleashed in Israel yesterday, on Simchat Torah, Shabbat and the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War. We continue to monitor the situation closely, with concern for the whole country and the safety of the sizeable Moishe House community in Israel. 

We are in close touch with our Moishe House team members and community builders – six different Moishe House locations and dozens of Moishe House Without Walls leaders throughout Israel. So far, we understand that they are all physically safe, though understandably shaken. Many have already been called up for Army Reserve Duty and some have direct family members who have fallen victim to these attacks. 

We stand ready to offer all appropriate means of support and will share updates, and whenever possible, ways that we as a Moishe House family can be supportive.  

עוֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם בִּמְרוֹמָיו הוּא יַעֲשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם עָלֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל יִשְׂרָאל וְאִמְרוּ: אָמֵן

May he who makes peace in high places,
make peace for us and for all Israel, and let us say, amen.
     – Your Moishe House Mischpacha (family)


My heart is breaking. As the terrible news reaches us of devastating violence in eretz yisrael I find myself without words of comfort to offer you. On other days, I will be ready to teach torah, offer analysis, feel anger, and lift up hope – today all I can do is grieve for those who have been lost, who are held in captivity, and who will be lost in the days to come.

All I know today is that we need to be together.

Here are some opportunities:

Meet Ups

I will be available tonight at Base from 8-10 and tomorrow at Bageler’s Coffee Shop on North Lincoln from 9:30-3 to offer hugs and listening ears. I’m here to support you, whatever you are feeling right now. I’ll update with more times throughout the week on my social media platforms.


Tomorrow night at 8pm I’ll be gathering together with my beloved friends and Base rabbinic colleagues Rav Ezra, Rav Moshe, and Rav Jonathan to hold space for all members of our communities who need a place to share and connect, framed by a little quiet singing. All the info and registration is here.

The JUF is offering an Israel Solidarity Gathering in Glenco tomorrow at 10am. Information and registration here.

The Lakeview Jewish communities will be gathering Thursday evening at Anshe Emet Synagogue for a vigil. I will share timing and other information by social media as I receive it. 

On Simchat Torah, only partially aware of what was happening a world away, I sang with tears in my eyes “Aneinu b’yom koreinu! Gd, answer us on the day when we call out!”. We are not the first Jews to find ourselves in heartbreaking and terrifying circumstances, and in this moment I turn to our tradition, our God, and our community for strength and faith that the voices calling out in pain from the holy land will be heard on high.

With so much love in my heart for each of you,

Rav Sarah

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The war in Israel is intensifying. And the atrocities perpetrated upon the people of Israel are continuing, with rising numbers of kidnappings and killings. Soldiers are fighting to regain full control of several points in Israel, working day and night to bring safety back to their land and loved ones.

The worst massacre Israel has ever seen in its history, tens of thousands of soldiers and reservists are on the front lines, putting their spirits and resilience to the biggest test. As the war escalates, these soldiers will be living, eating, and sleeping on the ground all while experiencing horrifying images of loss and terror.

IDF soldiers are currently facing an unprecedented and harrowing conflict, making our support for them more vital than ever before.

As the true and only authorized partner of the IDF in the United States, you can have confidence knowing that your donation will fund the multitude of needs of IDF soldiers as they arise. FIDF is ready to respond to all requests received by the IDF for the care and well-being of the soldiers. 

We at No Shame On U are distraught about the news coming from Israel.  This is a horrific time for members of the No Shame On U community.  Terror and war can cause intense stress and anxiety for many reasons on an individual level and on a broader societal level.

Experts suggest the following coping skills to reduce stress and anxiety:Social Media:  As hard as this may be, limiting the time you spend going down the rabbit hole of social media will minimize anxiety.   Try to avoid scrolling before going to sleep at night.  Monitor the images and news your children are viewing.  Connect with those directly affected:  Take a moment to make meaningful connections with those who you know are affected by the trauma.   Seek Help:  If your anxiety becomes overwhelming, consider reaching out to a mental health professional, therapist, or counselor who can provide support.  The American Psychological Association and Anxiety and Depression Association of America both provide treatment locators. Physical Activity:  Even a small amount of exercise can lead to a reduction in stress and anxiety.  Talk:  Make time with your friends and family. If you have children, make sure you are available to talk when they are ready.  Be Aware:  It is important to prioritize calmness in the presence of children and teenagers.  
Remember that everyone’s experience with stress and anxiety is unique.  What works for one person may not work for another person.  For more information on coping, click HERE.  
With Gratitude and Appreciation,

No Shame On U Board of Directors & Staff
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Dear friends, family and the SHALVA community,

As the President of an organization whose mission it is to support women who are traumatized by abuse, I want to strongly condemn the horrors that are occurring in Israel. Regardless of one’s feelings about Israel, its government or the Palestinian conflict, Hamas’ hostage taking and murdering of innocent civilians, young and old, is criminal and must be denounced.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Today and always, SHALVA is committed to the safety and respect of women and all human beings.


Naomi Senser, SHALVA President

Jews have fought the darkest of evil with the bright light of our Torah for thousands of years. Mourning… yes. Pity parties…no. The tragedy in Israel with (as of now) over 900 murdered, 2616 wounded, & over 140 kidnapped into Gaza demands both processing & a firm response. And that’s exactly what we are going to do at Project 613.

Quite simply, we are going to increase OUR spiritual light in an effort to fill the void left by the hundreds of extinguished lights. Pick a mitzvah & #IgniteTheLight. Many people have already signed up. Please sign-up & SHARE with your family & friends. Click Here for more information on how to #IgniteTheLight! Lots of love, Rabbi

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