Crisis in Israel

connecting together

A Message from Rabbi Simon

Dear Friend


We are all shocked by the appalling atrocities perpetrated by Hamas in the Shemini Atzeret massacre in Israel. As of this writing (Friday 13 October 2023) more than 1350 Israelis were murdered, most of them unarmed civilians. 100+ are held as hostages in Gaza and more than 3000 injured. Israel is in the midst of a concerted counterattack against Gaza, and there are reports of sirens and infiltration in the north of Israel as well. A second front, against Hezbollah from Lebanon, is a distinct possibility. The entire country is on a war footing on a scale not seen since the Yom Kippur war 50 years ago.

360,000 IDF soldiers are on active duty. What can we do?

We recite Tehillim at Kesher daily and will continue to do so as necessary. We can all say Tehillim on our own as well. I am recommending any of Psalms 20, 23, 83, 121, 130 and 142, followed by the short prayer at the foot of Artscroll siddur p. 146. You may also like to add the prayer for the Israel Defense Forces, many thousands of whom are risking their lives at this very time.

We also endorse this project:, as well as any and all increase in Torah study, tefillah, mitzvot and especially acts of kindness and charity. All this adds to the merit of the Jewish People collectively.

sticking together

A Message from President Herzog

Please find a PDF of the message from President Herzog below


A note from Mike Freer, MP:

The terrible events in Israel and the appalling actions of the Hamas terrorists are at the forefront of everything today. I can only endorse those who have condemned Hamas and offered support to Israel.
I know that our local community has three principal concerns:

Safety in London
Overnight there have been incidents of abusive behaviour, vandalism and graffiti in Golders Green clearly linked to events in Israel.  Many constituents have sent me messages about the damage to Jewish shops in Golders Green and the graffiti that has appeared on the bridges. I am working with all relevant authorities to ensure this is dealt with as soon as possible, ideally today.
The Metropolitan Police are working with Community Safety Teams (CSTs) and other community organisations to increase protection locally. There was a significantly increased police presence in areas with large numbers of Jewish residents yesterday, and I will be working to ensure this continues.

People stuck in Israel
We are aware that many flights from Israel have been cancelled at a time when the religious festival season had just ended, and many were about to come home with schools restarting this week. I am in discussion with the relevant authorities to see what can be done to help, and have circulated a link (also below) to a Foreign Office website where those stuck or worried about becoming stuck can register.
Tell the UK government you’re in Israel or the Occupied Palestinian Territories

People missing in Israel
We know that there are UK citizens who were caught up directly in the Hamas attack, and that constituents may have friends or relatives in Israel who were attacked. We will be working with our colleagues in Israel to ensure available information is shared, and that any help we can give is provided.
I am meeting with the Foreign Secretary this evening, and as mentioned, I will be working with relevant authorities throughout the day.
Please continue to report any incidents to the police and feel free to contact me or your local Councillors if you need specific assistance

In light of the horrific scenes in Israel and the inevitable outpouring of hostility against the UK’s Jewish community that has already begun (appalling vandalism in Golders Green, for example), CST has circulated the above short video message.

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Questions and Answers

Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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