President’s November 2023 Column

“We can still pray …”

As I watch the news, I am saddened by what I see every day. I feel for the Israeli citizens slaughtered by the Hamas attack during celebration at the end of a Jewish holiday. I feel for the  hostages, both Israeli and American taken during this heinous Hamas attack. But now I seem to be having the same feelings for the innocent Palestinians caught in the crossfire because war is always horrible.

I was contacted recently by KCRG-TV asking how I felt about the increase in antisemitism in our community. They were doing a story about the comments made at the Iowa City Council meeting. I didn’t know what to say, because we have not seen this yet in Cedar Rapids. The Cedar Rapids Police Department increased patrols at Temple Judah without our even asking. The local FBI office contacted the Temple office and wanted to have a meeting to go over any current nationwide concerns. And finally, I was contacted by the Attorney General’s office for the State of Iowa to serve on an antisemitism advisory committee. It is becoming overwhelming!

I grew up supporting Israel by buying trees to help build the arid area of the country. I have always believed that Israel deserves to be a Sovereign state. I am torn because it still is a war.

Personally, I don’t know how I can help, except to pray for an ending of the violence. We are a small community but are strong with our ties to our Temple Judah family. Come join us in prayer and contribute to keeping the flame alive and burning bright. Don’t sit on the outside, looking in. Donate, participate!!

Brian D. Cohen