On the holiday of Shemini Atzeret, on Oct. 7, 2023, Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on the people of Israel. This page compiles a number of resources that might be helpful to you during this difficult time.
Israel Emergency Fund
To aid the thousands of families affected by this catastrophe and to fund the extensive rebuilding and rehabilitation that will be required, Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) has announced a $500 million emergency campaign. Birmingham’s fair share is $1.4 million. 100% of those funds raised go to support those in need. Please use the link below to donate.
Where your donations are going
Food and financial assistance for impacted families, the elderly, and the homebound.
Evacuation, housing, respite, and support for frontline communities
Support for communities under fire and for new olim living in absorption centers through evacuations, temporary housing, respite trips, children’s activities, and increased security.
Funds for victims of terror
Provides immediate cash grants to families and individuals who have been impacted by acts of terror and violence, for post-trauma care, etc.
trauma relief and psychosocial care
Support widescale trauma relief and psychosocial support with expanded capabilities through telephone hotlines; providing direct care to first responders, Lone Soldiers, the injured, and families whose relatives were murdered, injured, or abducted; training and support for caregivers and responders including hospital emergency teams and municipal teams.
emergency medical services and healthcare
Medical supplies and equipment for first responders and hospitals in close proximity to the front line.
Targeted assistance to vulnerable populations and their caregivers, including the elderly, young children and people living with disabilities.
Support for evacuees
Enhance capacity and provide operational support to evacuees, special populations, frontline communities, and those responding to the crisis.
Family and Mental Health Resources
CJFS is the Birmingham resource for professional mental health support and resources. If you, or someone you love is struggling with the complex and dynamic feelings surrounding the war, please reach out to us. Some, with loved ones in Israel, are directly affected, others indirectly, and for some this triggers past traumas. Whether you need a session to identify coping strategies, need an ear to process, or need longer term support, CJFS can help, 205-879-3438.
This link provides guidance for helping children after a traumatic event. Age-appropriate suggestions offered.
Blog specific to the war in Israel.
Blue Dove is a Jewish organization focusing on mental health. This link provides coping resources and strategies for adults and kids for mental health and wellness in these difficult times.
What you can do
Contact Your Legislators
Our Congressional Delegation has been stellar in showing their support for Israel during this tragedy. Please use this link to message your legislators, thank them and urge their continued support as Israel works to eliminate the terrorist threat posed by Hamas.
As we continue to address the security concerns of this crisis, please use this link to ask your legislators to increase support for the Federal Non Profit Security Grant Program.
Federations across the country have received many questions from medical professionals seeking to volunteer. As of now, Israel is not experiencing a shortage of medical professionals due to the conflict. In the event of further strains on the health system, Nefesh B’Nefesh, in partnership with the Ministry of Health, will activate to bring people to Israel. They are actively collecting names of doctors who would be willing to volunteer should the need arise.
Nurses and paramedics looking to volunteer can visit the Ministry of Health website and submit their information there.
Speak Up Online- Social Media
We know that there is a tremendous amount of misinformation and antisemitic rhetoric being posted on social media platforms. You can help by making our collective voices stronger and louder. Please click here for downloadable social media images of support and solidarity.
Talking Points for Online & Offline
It’s important that we all stay up to date on the situation in Israel, but it’s even more important that we can talk about it knowledgably with our friends and family.
- This unprecedented and unprovoked attack on Israel, launched during the holidays of Shmini Atzeret and Simchat Torah, was the most significant attack on Israel since the Yom Kippur War 50 years earlier, and the deadliest day for the Jewish people since the Holocaust ended in 1945.
- Hamas infiltrated Israel in order to carry out a series of pogroms, killing over 1,400 Israelis, wounding over 4,500, and kidnapping over 200 civilians and soldiers. When compared to total population, the death toll from the attack is over 13 times that of the September 11th terror attacks on the United States.
- In a cruel and murderous rampage, the terrorist group shot entire families in their homes, took civilians hostage, burned down homes, and stalked innocents fleeing for their lives. Holocaust survivors, the elderly, and young children are among the casualties and hostages, as were dozens of Arab Israelis.
- The terror group fired over 7,800 rockets toward Israel’s major population centers, breached its borders, and infiltrated its communities.
- At a music festival outside of Re’im, near the Gaza border, Hamas massacred at least 260 attendees.
- In such a small country, this attack has personally affected the entire population; Every Israeli knows someone who has lost a relative, is missing a friend, or is desperately trying to find a loved one. Nearly everyone has a family member in the reserves.
- At least 31 American citizens and six Canadians were killed in the fighting, as were citizens of Ukraine, Thailand, Great Britain, Germany, the Philippines, and other countries. Fourteen Americans and three Canadians are still missing.
- Like every country, Israel has the right to defend its sovereignty and its citizens from terrorism, rocket fire, and incursions. Self defense is a human right recognized under international law. Jewish Federations stand behind our Israeli brothers and sisters.
- Hundreds of Members of Congress, Governors, and local officials have joined President Biden and leaders from around the world condemning the attacks and supporting Israel.
- Hamas is a terrorist organization backed by Iran that explicitly seeks Israel’s destruction—a goal laid out in its charter and reiterated by its leaders—and seeks to rule the entire territory “from the river to the sea.”
- Since its formation in 1987, Hamas has consistently stood in the way of peace and acted as a spoiler to achieve a two-state solution. This latest attack serves as a reminder of Hamas’s brutal track record of terrorism, human rights violations, and repression.
- Purposely killing and kidnapping innocent civilians are war crimes. These are not freedom fighters, they are terrorists.
- The United States and European Union classify Hamas as a foreign terrorist organization, alongside groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda.
- In response to the attack, Israel’s cabinet has declared a war to defend its sovereignty and its citizens.
- According to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “Israel does and will do everything possible to prevent harm to non-involved people, but the terrorist organizations knowingly operate from within the civilian population, committing double war crimes – indiscriminately shooting at civilians, while using the residents of the Gaza Strip as human shields.”
On November 14, members of our Birmingham community joined 290,000 others at our nation’s capital for what is being described as the largest pro-Israel gathering in American history.
Blue Ribbons for Israel
The blue ribbon symbolizes support and solidarity for the safe return of the hostages taken by Hamas terrorists in Israel. It 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.
For More information Click Here
Recordings of events related to the crisis in Israel
BJF CEO, Danny Cohn, and BJF Board Fundraising Committee Chair, Steve Greene, report from Israel to leadership in the Birmingham Jewish community. Danny and Steve represented Birmingham on the first Jewish Federations of North America solidarity fly-in mission to Israel since the outbreak of war.
Zoom recording with our sister cities, New Orleans and Rosh Ha’ayin, Israel on October 22nd. An intergenerational panel from Rosh Ha’ayin spoke about life currently in Israel.
On October 10th, the Birmingham community came together for an Israel Solidarity Program. Over 600 attended in person and 500 virtually.
BJF CEO, Danny Cohn, and Board Fundraising VP, Steve Greene, addressed community members on their experience in Israel on the JFNA solidarity mission.