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SCV Jewish community shows support for Israel

Three local congregations voice unity amid war in Gaza

Posted: August 4, 2014 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 4, 2014 2:00 a.m.

Santa Clarita Valley’s Jewish community showed its support for Israel Sunday when rabbis from three congregations spearheaded a demonstration of unity.

Rabbis representing Temple Beth Ami, Congregation Beth Shalom and Chabad of Santa Clarita Valley rallied support for Israel as fighting in Gaza intensifies.

More than 100 people filled the Chabad Jewish Center of SCV on Lyons Avenue Sunday morning.

“We are gathered here this morning to show our solidarity for Israel,” Rabbi Choni Marozov, of Chabad of SCV, told them. “What better way for us to show our support than to have all three Jewish (congregations) here today.”

“The land of Israel belongs to us and we will do everything in our power to remain there,” he said. “We are not gathered here as friends of Israel, we are gathered here as the people of Israel.

“We may not live in Israel or know many people in Israel but Israel and the people of Israel are one,” he said.

Rabbi Mark Blazer of Temple Beth Ami, made special reference to his former student, 24-year-old Max Steinberg, of Woodland Hills, who was killed in Israel on July 20. He was among 13 Israeli soldiers and 65 Palestinians killed during the first major ground battle in two weeks of fighting between Israel and Hamas.

“Nine years ago this week it was his bar mitzvah,” Blazer said of Steinberg. “We’ve been communicating with Max’s family.

“It’s difficult for us to see what’s going on now and to not talk about what happened 70 years ago,” he said referring to atrocities committed during the Second World War.

Blazer said he recalled Steinberg telling him that he represented a “generation ready to enter the land of Israel and do what their parents were not able to do.

“His parents had never been to Israel,” he said. “Until they buried their son.”

Blazer, Marazov and Rabbi Ron Hauss of Congregation Beth Shalom then read the names of Israeli soldiers — including Steinberg — killed in the fighting in Gaza this past month.

“I’m used to sadness,” Marazov told the group. “But these past three weeks are part of a more recent sadness that has affected all of us as Jewish people.

“It’s easy for us to feel overwhelmed, and we find ourselves wondering ‘How will we ever prevail when everybody is against us?’” he said. “I don’t know about you, but I find strength in this room.

“This morning, we Jews in the Santa Clarita Valley have gathered together,” he said. “There are things we must do now if we are to be effective advocates of Israel.”

The rabbis urged those attending Sunday’s information meeting — intended to unite Santa Clarita Valley’s Jewish community in “prayer and solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Israel” — to pick up a pamphlet prepared for the event called “7 Ways You Can Help Israel.”

The “seven ways” were described as: prayer, care, share, protest bias in the media, increase Torah study, get the facts and recognize the “God Factor.”

Marazov also reminded the group that Monday night marks the start of Tisha B’Av, the saddest day on the Jewish calendar. It is the date when both Holy Temples were destroyed, and exile, persecution and spiritual blackness began, he pointed out.
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