I have received many emails and phone calls from people all over the world asking me the same question: “What can we do, from where we live, to help our beloved Eretz Yisrael during this difficult time?” Here’s my answer. (Thank you to my daughter Nava for brainstorming these ideas with me and, by the way, 11 in g’matria is alef + yud = Eretz Yisrael!)
1 Add something extra to your davening. If you normally do not say all of the prayers, this would be a perfect time to start saying one of the ones you skip; and if you do say them all, add something during Sh’moneh Esrei or after Aleinu. Hashem loves when you talk to Him, and He’s listening. So now is the time to say those few extra, yet powerful, words.
2 We have all heard of the magic of T’hilim, but we tend to keep saying the same ones over and over again. Take a look at your T’hilim book and you will see that it is divided in two different ways: seven days (around 20 chapters each day) or 30 days (just five chapters each day). Try doing this one time. Set aside the time and just Jew it… I mean do it! If you select the monthly option, it will take less than ten minutes each day and you will finish the complete T’hilim in one month. Amazing!
3 We seriously believe that all Jews are connected; therefore, someone who does a mitzvah in Australia, Ecuador, or Canada helps his/her fellow Jews all across the globe. Therefore, during these critical days, we need all of the mitzvos we can get, so please – do something extra and “wire-transfer” the credit of that mitzvah to your brothers and sisters in Sderot and Ashkelon, and to the IDF soldiers in Gaza.
4 Am Yisrael is based on chesed, and one of the best things to do is an act of chesed that you were not planning to do. When is the last time you called an elderly neighbor who is living alone? How about helping to clean after the shul kiddush? Or maybe offer to drive someone to the hospital to visit a loved one? The list is endless and the chesed is priceless.
5 What are today’s two most powerful words? Social media! Spend time and post/forward good, positive articles and videos about the situation in Israel. Use every tool possible, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, WhatsApp, Telegram, Instagram, Snapchat, and even TikTok. Email articles to friends and lists, and tell them to share and forward, as well. The anti-Israel people are very active on social media, and we must do whatever we can to combat them.
6 Educate yourself regarding the situation. Learn the history and facts, and make sure you know the truth! Most of what you read and hear is fake news and total lies. You must know what is really going on, so stop watching “Shtisel” and learn about real people in Israel. There is a tremendous amount of information available at your fingertips, so please invest the time to study it. It’s well worth the effort.
7 Make sure your shul is saying both the prayer for the State of Israel as well as the prayer for the IDF soldiers. If your shul normally does not say both of these prayers, impress upon your rabbi that now is the time to change that!
8 While on the subject of your rabbi, allow me to suggest that you urge him to speak to the community about Israel. Unfortunately, many rabbanim today do not mention Israel; so where should we find the truth? CNN? Where will our teenagers receive their education about Eretz Yisrael? From the liberal professors in university? Our community rabbis must guide us, and if you need to give them a gentle, respectful push, then do it!
9 I can guarantee – 100 percent – that your inbox will be filled with dozens of fundraising emails about giving money to causes in Israel. Trust me that I am the last guy on the planet to convince anyone not to give to Israeli causes, but I just want to warn you about scams. Yes, give money – now, more than ever! – but only to organizations you are familiar with and trust. Immediately after the Meron disaster, before the funerals even started, people were raising money “to help the families” – and many of these were dishonest and without authorization. The same will be true now; so please make sure you give your hard-earned dollars to places with proven track records. Allow me to repeat this: Many worthy organizations indeed need money, so please help them, but only those you know and trust.
10 This is probably the last thing on your mind, but if you truly want to help Israel, start planning your next trip! Tell your family and friends that you are coming to visit soon – and watch them smile and gain tremendous strength. Nobody wants to feel alone and abandoned, so plan that trip and give incredible chizuk beyond what you could ever imagine!
11 My final suggestion is something completely different. Every time Israel is involved in situations such as these, anti-Semitism soars higher around the world. In the last week alone, anti-Semitic acts have tripled in the UK, and I expect that number to be the same in Europe and North America, as well. University campuses in the United States and Canada will experience new waves of violence against Jews, so please: Learn how to defend yourself and use every legal measure possible to keep yourself, your family, and your property safe. Israel will be taking very severe measures against Hamas in the coming days, and the anti-Israel Jew-haters will attempt to punish their local Jewish neighbors. Therefore, be vigilant and on high-alert and make sure you prevent attacks – which are definitely on their way.
Dearest friends, I could have added many more things to this list, but I wanted to focus on these 11. From prayer to chesed to education to social media – and all the way to defending Jewish lives and property around the world – I urge you to take these 11 suggestions seriously. The Jewish people are strong and undefeatable – but only when we stand together. May Hashem annihilate and destroy our enemies while protecting us from harm!
Am Yisrael Chai!
Shmuel Sackett is a 100% product of Queens. He was born in Middle Village and moved to KGH shortly before his bar-mitzvah. He graduated from YCQ (1975) and YHSQ (1979). He was Havurat Yisrael’s first Youth Director (4 years) and started the first 2 NCSY chapters in Queens. Shmuel made aliyah in 1990 and co-founded Manhigut Yehudit, together with Moshe Feiglin. His website is www.JewishIsrael.org Sackett is married with 6 children and 4 grandchildren. He lives in Herziliya Pituach.