Israel & Security Update

Dear Fairfielders,

It was an extremely difficult week on the world stage for democracy and the fight against terrorism. We stand strong with Israel today and every day and condemn the horrific attack against our ally and the Jewish people. Our prayers are with the victims, their families, the people of Israel and Jewish people around the world who are struggling with the impact of the horrific events taking place in Israel. 

I received a call from the Police Chief a little while ago regarding the potential threats from Hamas tomorrow, October 13th, and in coordination with law enforcement, I wanted to share the Police Department's message that was just posted on social media directly with our community. 

"The Fairfield Police Department is aware of several calls to action from foreign organizations threatening global violence on Friday, Oct. 13. We have been in contact with Federal authorities who have been actively monitoring global intelligence and have found no credible threat to Fairfield or our surrounding communities at this time.
We remain in communications with Federal, state and local law enforcement partners. While there is no known credible threat to our community, Fairfield Police will have an increased patrol presence at our schools, places of worship, and other areas throughout town. Please keep in mind that this conflict remains dynamic, however we will keep our community informed of any updates that may come.
We ask the community to also remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities to the police department immediately."

Chief Kalamaras is in direct contact with federal authorities and is being updated regularly. The Fairfield Police Department takes all threats to our community very seriously. Together, we urge our residents to only listen to credible news sources. The Fairfield PD will post updates to their Facebook page you can view here.  

Here in Fairfield we must continue to stand up against hate in all forms and support our Jewish neighbors, many of whom feel unsafe. I spoke with Rabbis Evan Schultz, Shlame Landa and Josh Ratner this week to share our strong support. I asked the Rabbis if they would share their thoughts with our community for our newsletter this week to help all of our residents reflect on the gravity of what has taken place.

I hope you will take a few moments to read the messages from the Rabbis below. My regularly scheduled newsletter will go out tomorrow. 

If you see something, say something, and please stay safe,

Brenda L. Kupchick 

Rabbi Shlame Landa
Chabad of Fairfield

Dear Fellow Fairfielders,

It has been an incredibly difficult, heartbreaking and trying week. As a grandson of holocaust survivors, I grew up hearing the stories of Jews being rounded up by evil men; of terrified families being burned to death in their homes and synagogues; of survivors hiding under the corpses of their friends, pretending to be dead.

And I grew up — as did we all — with a firm resolve that never again would this take place. Never again would a people be massacred, burned, violated and mutilated while the world looked on with apathy—or glee.

Never Again.

And here we are.

We are witnessing inhumanity against the Jewish people at a scale that has not been seen since my grandmother was in Auschwitz. And just as the world had a choice in how to react then, the world has a moral obligation to act now.

During the Holocaust, some chose to do what they could to help. Some were apathetic, choosing to stand by as the genocide of millions took place. And some joined in, cheering on the murderers.

Never Again is now.

Every person of conscience understands that there can be no rationalizing the barbaric behavior of Hamas in Israel.

This is the moment when each of us has to make a decision: will we stand up and unequivocally condemn the beheading of children, the burning of people alive, the intentional targeting of innocent civilians, the taking of women and children—even an elderly holocaust survivor—hostage, the use of human shields?

Now is when each of us needs to act.

I am grateful to our local leaders who have reached out personally as well as publicly. I am touched by the friends and neighbors who have messaged, contributed to relief efforts and offered their assistance and support.

I call upon each and every citizen of Fairfield who has not already done so, to reach out to your Jewish friends and neighbors, have your children reach out to their classmates, and let them know that they have your friendship and support, that the words Never Again mean something to you.

Finally, as we stand together during these dark times let us resolve to battle the senseless hatred with light and love, to increase in acts of goodness and kindness. For as history has proven time and again. Goodness and light will always prevail over darkness.

With blessings for peace and prosperity for all mankind.

Rabbi Evan Schultz
Congregation B'nai Israel
I can't speak for all Jews, but I can try and articulate why these attacks in Israel have hit so hard emotionally for me these past couple of days. From the time we are young, we Jews learn a lot about two things.

The first is tragedy. 

We grow up hearing the testimonies of Holocaust survivors, who watched their mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles brutally taken to their deaths, as they somehow managed to survived hiding in floorboards or enduring the horrific conditions in the camps.

We grow up watching films like Fiddler on the Roof, which, once you get past the catchy dance numbers (we do all love those), is a deeply tragic movie about the small Jewish town of Anatevka whose Jewish residents must flee due to the growing antisemitism in Russia.

We grow up learning about the holiest sites in Israel, like the Western Wall and Masada, both deeply connected to tragedy. The Wall is one of the only remnants left of the ancient Temple destroyed by the Romans. Masada is the site where scores of Jews took their own lives rather than die subject to the torture and swords of the Romans.

And the second is love of Israel.

My earliest memories growing up in Boston are going to the annual Israel festival. We would taste Israeli food, sing Israeli songs, and wave Israeli flags together. We would sing Hatikvah, the Jewish national anthem that speaks the message of hope.

And when talking about Israelis, we would always use the language of our "brothers and sisters," in Israel. Those in Israel were like our distant cousins to me, our family thousands of miles away.

And every time I visit it just feels in some way like being at home. Yes, America is my home. I love America. I use Leonard Cohen's language of Israel as my mythic home. My Jewish home. Imperfect, challenging, beautiful. It's where I can practice my Hebrew and wear a yarmulke and feel Shabbat in the air. It's just a place I love like no other.

So, to see those who I consider distant family brutally murdered this weekend in their homes and at a music festival, and when I see the elderly and children taken hostage, and when I see this beautiful land up in smoke, it all equals a broken, broken, heart. It was the sad, next iteration of tragedy that I as a Jew have learned of my entire life.

I pray one day my children will no longer know such tragedy and only know a world of love. 

May there soon be peace in the land. Amen.
Rabbi Joshua Ratner
Rabbi Josh Rattner
Or Hadash
Dear Citizens of Fairfield, 

This past week, Jews across the world were supposed to celebrate the joyous conclusion of our fall holiday season. Instead, on Saturday, October 7th, we experienced the worst day of carnage and barbarism our people have faced since the Holocaust. The terrorist organization Hamas invaded Israel and murdered more than 1200 innocent civilians. At least 100 children, men, and women were kidnapped by Hamas to be used as human shields in Gaza.
Today, we sit in grief, horror, shock, disgust, and anger. How can we even begin to cope with the trauma of this Israeli parallel to 9/11? How can we process the depravity of an evil like Hamas? All while knowing, simultaneously, that Israel now must fight a ground war with Hamas both to avenge the fallen and to ensure that Hamas never again can terrorize Israel? How can we function, how can we live, when we find ourselves mired in such an abyss of sorrow and pain?
We begin by joining together in community, in solidarity. We begin by reaching out to one another, supporting each other in our particular and collective grief. We begin by being present and sensitive to one another in our distress. We begin by calling on our non-Jewish friends to lift us up, to be our allies in our time of despair. We begin by sending charitable contributions to those in need in Israel. 
And we move forward by looking to the people of Israel to be our North Star. We are guided by their spirit, their determination, their hope, even while they grieve, dodge rocket fire, and prepare for what might be a long and traumatic war ahead. We are inspired by their courage not only to envision a world in which Israelis can live in safety and security, but also to take the difficult actions necessary to make that vision a reality. 
I pray that you, the good people of Fairfield, will be a source of comfort and support to the Jewish community now, and in the difficult days ahead, so that we, together, can proudly proclaim:

Am Yisrael Chai. The nation of Israel lives!