CBE Mourns the tragic and unjust deaths of Israeli youths Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrah, whose kidnapped and murdered bodies were discovered today, north of Hebron, by the Israel Defense Forces. For more than 18 days the Jewish nation and the broader world hoped and prayed for their safety; but today we learned, with broken hearts, that terror and hatred have cut short young lives of blessing and faith.
There are so many difficult emotions to confront and process at this moment. There are those of us who feel anger and sadness; there are those of us who feel confusion; and there are those of us who crave a desire for revenge.
And there is among so many of us a gnawing exhaustion from a conflict which seems to have no end; a world which seems to hang in the balance; and ongoing questions about what it is that we might do ourselves to eradicate the perceived insoluble hatreds over land, history and God.
But if the memories of Naftali, Gilad and Eyal are to be a blessing, as our tradition demands, then we must honor their lives with a renewed commitment to the varied and eternal expressions of learning, spirit and deeds of lovingkindness that have sustained the Jewish people for generations.
As Jews we must mourn the loss of life with the promise to live life itself to its fullest expression; we must confront the deprivation of life with a generosity of spirit to those in need; and we must remember, always, with this in mind, that to be a Jew in the world is a weighted privilege, which still, tragically, can come at the price of life itself.
On Tuesday evening July 1 at 7 pm, we mourn and remember together at a special service sponsored by the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, the UJA Federation of New York and the New York Board of Rabbis, to be held at the Jewish Center, 131 West 86th Street.
While we pray for a future peace with our Palestinian neighbors, tonight we mourn with the Fraenkels, the Shaars, the Yifrahs and all Israel. United as one.
May the memory of Naftali, Gilad and Eyal be a blessing.
Rabbi Andy Bachman