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Support Israel, But Don’t Forget About the Diaspora

One thing is clear: When we support our fellow Jews wherever they live, we strengthen the Jewish people as a whole.
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June 5, 2024
oveguli/Getty Images; mathisworks/Getty Images

“Nobody is donating to our organization. All the donations are going to Israel.”

My friend, who works at an incredible Jewish nonprofit in the U.S., recently told me this. It echoed what another friend mentioned a few days prior: “My synagogue reached out and asked for a donation, but I told them I was sending everything to Israel right now.”

Ever since Oct. 7, Israel has been on all our minds. Constantly. We are praying for the release of the hostages, for a safe and speedy end to this war, for Israelis to finally be able to live in peace. We’ve fervently checked the news and scrolled on social media for updates, feeling our hearts skip a beat when we hear the heartbreaking news about another soldier or hostage who didn’t survive. We won’t be able to take a deep breath until we know this is finally over.

At the same time, we are sending money to Israel not only to support the war effort, but also to try to revive the economy – which has suffered greatly post-Oct. 7. Israelis who had to put their businesses on pause because they went to fight in the IDF or were displaced from their homes are struggling. It’s important to be there for them by donating, publicly showing our dedication to Israel and sending messages of love.

But we cannot forget about the Jews in the diaspora.

The Jewish people are one big family. We are connected to each other. When one of us rejoices, we all rejoice; when one of us is in need, we all pitch in to help. It’s what makes our community so remarkable.

The Jews in the diaspora, along with their synagogues, institutions and non-profit organizations, need your help too. Your support may not help Israel directly, but I fully believe it will help indirectly by strengthening our people during a time of turmoil.

For instance, if you sponsor a kiddush at your shul, you’ll show that you want to give back to your community – and it encourages others to do the same. It may also make them more likely to show up to synagogue, knowing kiddush is going to be special that week. Perhaps you can sponsor it in honor of a loved one who passed away or for a birthday celebration.

Another idea is to donate to organizations like Hillel and Chabad, which are working hard on college campuses to foster a sense of Jewish pride among students, who need that right now. Those students could end up becoming much more connected to their Jewish identities, going on Birthright and having Jewish children who keep our beautiful tradition alive.

You could also simply Venmo a Jewish person in need, like a single mother who can’t afford food for her children or a friend who lost their job and needs help paying their rent. There’s no question that people are struggling financially in our country right now; our community is not immune to this harsh reality.

One thing is clear: When we support our fellow Jews wherever they live, we strengthen the Jewish people as a whole.

Of course you should keep sending packages to IDF soldiers, donating to displaced families and saving up for a trip for Israel so that you can spend lots of money there and help out the country’s economy.

But don’t forget your friends at home, either. When Israel thrives, the diaspora thrives – and vice versa.

With our collective efforts at home and in Israel, we will ensure our Jewish family continues to flourish, even in the face of hardship. At this time of great need, I encourage you to be as generous and giving as you can.


Kylie Ora Lobell is the Community Editor of the Jewish Journal. You can find Kylie on X @KylieOraLobell or Instagram @KylieOraWriter.

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