Israel needs us now

As we mark Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut today and tomorrow—Israel’s Days of Remembrance & Independence—no words will hold back the tears. We carry unbearable pain these last days, weeks, and months. But there is community. There is prayer. There is love. And there is hope.

My April Israel trip shook me to my core, partly because our allies there—amazing progressive Israelis building a more just and sustainable society—are as exhausted and somber in their outlook as I’ve ever seen. Israel was in major crisis before October 7th, and it’s now beyond anything we can imagine—truly a nationwide trauma.

From the beginning, nothing about Israel has been easy or simple. But our Israeli allies, both Jewish and Arab—some of which are listed below—are resolute. They are determined. And they embody a grit and resilience that demonstrates just how this country—a miracle of Jewish history—came to be.

It may be that some current Israeli leaders seem like global villains these days, but Israel itself does have a right to exist, and we must not take its existence or its future for granted. It was never inevitable or invincible, and today Israel needs profound change. Many other countries need profound change too, but Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people, and so for all of us who have a sense of—or a belief in—Jewish Peoplehood, we feel called in this moment to support the people of Israel as they try to find their way through this horrific crisis.

At Adamah, we believe in Peoplehood & Planethood: building bridges for the Jewish People, from Israel and the Diaspora, to create a more sustainable future together. Israel has been an important part of our work for over 20 years, and today we are weaving Israel and Jewish Peoplehood into our four core strategies: immersive experiences, Jewish environmental education, leadership development, and climate action. After October 7, this work is more challenging, complicated, and important than ever.

We believe in Israel, we believe in peace, and we know that compassion is a renewable resource. Amidst these holy and traumatic days, we hold empathy and mourning for Israelis and Palestinians. As Leah Solomon writes in the Hartman Institute’s Haggadah supplement:

“Never, until now, were we confronted with the excruciating task of holding another people’s suffering even as our own is so vast and raw, let alone doing so when the perpetrators of the atrocities against us are members of that very people, and when the suffering of that people is being inflicted in large part by our own…Yet, it is not despite this connection, but in profound awareness of it, that we must compel ourselves to see.”

May we find the strength to see.

Yesterday, I discovered this poem about seeing, by Luai Haj, a Palestinian poet and activist living in Acre (northern Israel). He speaks his poem slowly, calmly, first in Arabic and then in Hebrew:

Should compassion cease to beat in my heart
Or love dwell within me
Should hope no longer be found inside me
Despite everything and no matter what
For all human beings. For every person. For every nation
For these two nations
If silence creeps into my voice. Or being silenced
And my soul be gravely afflicted
With rage and consuming vengeance
I’ll know my soul has left me. I’ll know I’ve strayed from the path
Paved with my scars. And mixed with my blood
For then I’ll cease to be myself
I’ll know I’ve been beaten. And I prefer death

Together let us hold onto compassion and empathy as essential to our humanity. For further inspiration, listen to this beautiful song, the Prayer of the Mothers.

May G!d remember all those who have been taken from us. 

May the All-present have mercy upon our people in captivity and bring them forth from darkness into light. 

And may the One who makes peace in the heavens, make peace for us and for all Israel, and for all the world.


Jakir Manela
Chief Executive Officer