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Support for Israel and for You

Updated Feb. 12, 2024

Here you will find information about the war’s impact on Israelis, on us in Austin, and ways we can provide both legislative and financial support. It also includes resources for emotional support.

Blue Ribbons for Israel
Send a powerful message of solidarity by wearing a blue ribbon, which symbolizes support and solidarity for the safe return of the hostages taken by Hamas terrorists in Israel. The ribbon also symbolizes solidarity with the hostages, their families, and all who care about their safety. Wearing a ribbon publicly unites you with people of all religions, races, nationalities, ethnicities, ages, and generations, and demonstrates for the people of Israel that they are not alone and that good people across the globe are with them and their families during this dark time. Order your blue ribbon or get instructions for making one on the Blue Ribbons for Israel website.

In addition, see the Blue Ribbons toolkit, for social media graphics and reels you can share, printable postcards, and other promotional resources.

See more helpful information and tips from the URJ here.

Emotional Support and Resources for Parents, Children, and College Students
We know that many seek resources about how to talk with children about this war. The Jewish Education Project hosted a webinar on Oct. 10 about "How to Talk to Children About Israel Today.” View the recording here. We can also recommend these articles that may be useful: one by Dr. Sivan Zakai, and this article from our movement

CALL Helpline for College Students
The Campus Antisemitism Legal Line (CALL) is a free, legal-protection helpling for students who have experienced antisemitism. Any student, family, faculty, or staff member can go to the CALL website or text "CALLhelp" to 51555 to report incidents of antisemitic discrimination, intimidation, harassment, vandalism, or violence that may necessitate legal action. Lawyers will assess reports of antisemitic discrimination and hate, conduct in-depth information-gathering interviews, and provide pro-bono representation for victims who choose to move forward with specific cases. CALL will also provide referrals to social services, mental health counseling services, and other relevant support services in their area. Read more.

Political Action
On Oct. 9, at our Israel Solidarity community event, we heard clear bipartisan support from four elected officials for Israel. We must continue to urge our city, state, and federal elected officials to provide for Israel. Please continue to contact your representative and senators in D.C. and ask them to bring the hostages home and to support foreign aid to Israel—you can use this link to send a letter

Our denomination’s Religious Action Center has also created a form to urge the UN Secretary-General to help secure release of hostages.

NEW! Shalom Austin issued a community action request regarding Israel that Rabbi Freedman suggests. You have an opportunity to sign up to attend Austin City Council meetings on Feb. 15, Feb. 29, and March 15 to show support for City Council's decision so far to oppose a ceasefire resolution. You may also email Mayor Watson and City Council to thank them for their support. See the details from Shalom Austin, including a message from Shalom Austin Advocacy Committee co-chairs Rabbi Freedman, Sandy Dochen, and Nora Lieberman, here:

Financial Support
Israel also is in need of our financial support and there are many worthwhile organizations raising money for Israel. Here are some recommendations.

  • Jewish Federation

The Reform Movement of Judaism is a part of the Jewish Federation, of which Shalom Austin is a part. The Jewish Federation is leading efforts to raise money. Announced on Monday, Oct. 16, Michael & Susan Dell and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation have generously created a $1.8 million matching opportunity for our community to support the JFNA Israel Emergency Campaign. All gifts will be matched 1:1. Donate to this campaign here.

The week of Oct. 9, Jewish Federations of North American (JFNA) released $10 million from the Israel Emergency Campaign to key organizations on the ground in Israel.  Please find the allocations here 

  • IsraAID

IsraAID is a non-governmental, international non-profit organization (INGO) based in Tel Aviv. IsraAID will provide professional, including urgent, trauma therapy for individuals, parents, and children, along with distribution of basic goods to meet the immediate needs of thousands of evacuees. IsraAID is also supporting the emotional needs of professional staffs and Israeli individuals volunteering their trauma services. Donate to IsraAID here.

  • JNF

JNF is at work on the ground in the southern region of Israel and has been for decades. They are assisting displaced families with basic needs; providing protective equipment for emergency responders; giving high-quality and tailored psychological treatment for civilians, including children, who have experienced this catastrophe firsthand; offered respite activities and/or childcare for the children and parents traumatized by terror, and more. Donate to the JNF Resilience Fund for Israelis in Need here.


Support for Israeli Businesses
Israel needs our economic support. Now is the time to discover and support artisans (and this is not a conclusive shopping list) such as those from this Facebook group or from this list, for example. 

Israel is likely still in the early days of response to these horrendous acts of terrorism perpetrated against innocent people. It is imperative that we continue to support Israel, even as the news cycles move on. We must be steadfast and resolute, chazak v’amatz, in our support for Israel.

As always, Rabbi Steinman, Rabbi Hall, and Cantor Gostein are available to speak with any congregant of any age about the evolving situation in Israel or any pastoral need that may arise. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us.

Tue, May 21 2024 13 Iyar 5784