Israel Resources

Beth Am Israel Committee

This committee will be dedicated to promoting a connection to Israel through education, advocacy, travel, and engagement with Israel, Israeli culture, people, and institutions. Our first meeting will be in January. Please let Rabbi Bellows know if you are interested in learning more or attending our first meeting.

Suggested News Resources

Online and/or on Paper News:

Jerusalem Post


The Times of Israel


JNF daily Israel briefings at 11:00am

Learn about the Israel-Hamas War: Multiple resources, including understanding Hamas, its charter & and history; maps of the region, and the US history of relationship with Hamas.

Thoughts and perspectives on Israel through articles, blogs, and podcasts from the renowned Shalom Hartman Institute in Israel in North America.

Radio & Podcasts:

The Times of Israel Daily Briefing Podcast

i24 News Radio

The Promised Podcast


Jessica Yellen: Speaker, Author, Former CNN Chief White House Correspondent.

Noa Tishby: Former Special Envoy for Combating Antisemitism and Delegitimization of Israel. Author: Israel A Simple Guide.

Sarah Tuttle-Singer: Writer of news and stories from Jerusalem


Magen David Adom: To make your emergency contribution online:

Or via mail: AFMDA, 3175 Commercial Ave. Ste. 101, Northbrook, IL 60062

Yesterday American Friends of Magen David Adom took the unprecedented step of launching an appeal on both Shabbat and the Yom Tov of Shemini Atzeret due to the terrible news that Israel had declared war on Hamas after a horrible surprise attack on its citizens. Israel was attacked by Hamas early yesterday morning, with rockets and terrorist infiltration across the border from Gaza which resulted in the murder of Jews and the kidnapping of dozens who are now in Gaza. According to the latest reports, there have been over 3,000 rockets fired with over 2,048 people injured and 500 dead (counts as of Sunday, 7am Chicago). Hamas has taken Jewish Israeli women, children, and soldiers hostage in Gaza. This is a nightmare for our brothers and sisters in Israel. 

“The situation in Israel is extremely urgent,” Catherine Reed, CEO of American Friends of Magen David Adom, declared from Israel. “MDA needs our support now!”

Magen David Adom (MDA) has been on its highest possible alert level since yesterday morning, as the air raid sirens have been blasting across the country reaching as far as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. 

The nightmare is getting worse for Israel. This morning, The Times of Israel reported that Iran backed terror group, Hezbollah fired dozens of rockets and shells at Israel. In retaliation, the IDF responded with artillery fire and a drone strike against “Hezbollah infrastructure.”

Today we mourn the murder of MDA Senior-EMT ambulance driver, Aharon Chaimov of blessed memory. He was shot in his hometown of Ofakim by Hamas while fulfilling his duty of saving lives. He was 25 years old with a wife, two young children, parents, siblings, and family members.

An additional four medics have been injured. And much to our horror, there are a few medics whom MDA has lost contact with and are unaccounted for at this time.

An MDA ambulance was destroyed in a direct attack by Hamas. There is word that two MDA ambulances have been stolen and taken to Gaza. As a Red Cross organization, Hamas violated international rules of war by these targeted attacks on our medics and ambulances.

All MDA vehicles – ambulances, MICUs, Medicycles, mass-casualty vehicles, bullet-proof ambulances, and helicopters – are manned with teams prepared to respond 24/7, providing medical assistance and evacuating patients to hospitals across Israel. Blood Services is operating emergency blood drives to provide supplies to all hospitals and hundreds of Israelis are waiting in hours-long lines to donate. MDA remains the sole provider of blood to the IDF and is responsible for over 96% of Israel’s blood supply.

MDA is operating at full capacity, at the cost of over 1 million shekels daily, and is preparing for a prolonged and very serious situation. If Hezbollah continues to attack Israel, the cost of helping save civilians from injuries sustained in terrorist attacks will increase exponentially.

While we in the United States watch with trepidation at the news reaching us on our screens, feeds, and inboxes, we are asking for your support to help MDA continue to care for the people of Israel. The situation is dire, and MDA desperately needs medical supplies for ambulances, medicines, blood services, flak jackets, helmets, and more ambulances.

If you would like to significantly help MDA save lives in Israel by donating an ambulance, Medicycle, or specific piece of equipment such as a defibrillator, please call Jennifer Schnepper at 708.369.9197.  

To make your emergency contribution online:

Or via mail: AFMDA, 3175 Commercial Ave. Ste. 101, Northbrook, IL 60062

Hatzalah: Israel’s Volunteer Ambulance Service

JUF Israel Emergency Fund to funnel critical support from our community to the Israeli people.

Statements on Israel

Stand with Us: Facts and context about the current round of violence

J Street is shocked, outraged, and horrified by the surprise, ongoing terrorist onslaught launched by Hamas against Israel today, on Shabbat and Simchat Torah/Shemini Atzeret.

At this moment, at least 40 Israelis have been reported killed and at least 800 reported wounded in an unprecedented infiltration of dozens of terrorist gunmen into communities near the Gaza border and a barrage of indiscriminate rocket fire against Israeli cities. Terrifyingly, dozens of Israelis have reportedly been kidnapped and taken hostage. Many are still trapped in their homes waiting desperately to be saved, as live combat in many border communities is ongoing. This is a day of profound anguish and horror. Israel is in a state of war and national emergency.

J Street stands in solidarity with the Israeli people in this hour of terrible danger, fear, and worry. We stand with the Israeli armed forces working furiously to repel this assault, protect Israelis, and defeat the terrorist onslaught. Our thoughts and our hearts are with all of the victims and their loved ones, and in particular with the many communities facing bombardments of rocket fire, infiltrator attacks, and the kidnapping of family members.

Hamas’ murderous actions must be met with unequivocal condemnation from the entire international community. We hope for their swift and decisive defeat and urge the US government to do everything possible to assist the State of Israel in confronting this threat, defending its citizens, and preventing a slide into even further conflagration and suffering for Israelis and Palestinians.

Talking to Kids About Israel

Empowering your Kids in Times of Hate- When a hate crime, mass shooting, act of terrorism, or other terrible and hate-inspired event occurs, one of the first questions many people ask is, what should we tell the children? How can we explain to them what has happened?

PrayersEnglish Translations

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

May those who love you prosper! Let there be peace in your homes, safety within your borders. For the sake of my people, my friends, I pray you find peace. For the sake of the house of the Eternal our God, I will seek your good. (PSALM 122:6–9)

For the Israel Defense Forces

May the One who brought blessings to our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,

and to our mothers

Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah,

bless the soldiers of Israel’s Defense Forces,

and all who stand guard in order to protect the Land of Israel.

Give them strength against our enemies,

and strengthen their spirit

to preserve their highest moral values at this time of trial.

Protect them from all troubles and afflictions,

so that they will return in peace and joy to their families and friends, and may they prosper as human beings and citizens in their land.

For Israeli Soldiers or Civilians Being Held Captive

Our God, the One who raised Joseph up from the pit, be “a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble” (PSALM 9:10).

Send complete rescue and full redemption to those held captive by the enemy: [insert names].

Strengthen their spirit and bring them our prayers that they be protected from all harm.

Implant understanding in the heart of the enemy that they may return the captives in the wholeness of body and spirit.

Grant wisdom to the Israel Defense Forces that they may secure freedom for the captives without loss of life.

Grant strength of spirit and courage of heart to all the sons and daughters of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar to release bonds of captivity and allow us all to live in freedom.

“They shall call upon Me, and I will answer them; I will be with them in distress; I will rescue them, and honor them” (ADAPTED FROM PSALM 91:15).

Prayer for the State of Israel

O HEAVENLY ONE, Protector and Redeemer of Israel, bless the State of Israel which marks the dawning of hope for all who seek peace. Shield it beneath the wings of Your love; spread over it the canopy of Your peace; send Your light and truth to all who lead and advise, guiding them with Your good counsel. Establish peace in the land and fullness of joy for all who dwell there. Amen. 

Prayer for Peace:

GRANT ABUNDANT peace to Israel Your people forever, for You are the sovereign God of all peace. May it be pleasing to You to bless Your people, Israel, in every season and moment with Your peace.

Baruch atah, Adonai, oseih hashalom. Blessed are You, Adonai, who blesses Your people Israel with peace. 

Beth Am Security Update – October 2023

Dear Friends, 

We are now nearly one week into the War in Israel, and the number of Israelis killed, wounded, and taken hostage is staggering. The responses from the world have both been heartening and disheartening. Additionally, on many of our minds are our security protocols. 

The safety and security of our Beth Am students, families, membership, teachers, and staff is of utmost priority. 

Beth Am works in partnership with the Security Community Network (SCN), whose mission is To ensure the safety, security, and resiliency of the Jewish community in North America, and receives timely updates from the JUF security team (comprised of former FBI agents and former Chicago Police Officers) which sends out email to all synagogues with up to date information on best practices and procedures in light of the current ongoing tension. Additionally, we are in regular contact with local and federal law enforcement. Our Beth Am security team includes CBA President Ed Zare, Rabbi Prass, and dedicated congregants, two of whom are professional first responders professionally. The safety of each person in our community is a pillar of all our programming. 

Our security plans and protocols are constantly reviewed, evaluated, and upgraded as necessary. Some of the security you can see, other security measures are kept out of view. This is by design and done in consultation with our security experts.

At this moment, many voices are trying to scare and intimidate us as Jews. We are aware of the threat of a “Day of Rage” this coming Friday. We have been in touch with SCN, the ADL, and law enforcement, and there is no credible threat. Nevertheless, we have asked the Buffalo Grove Police Department and they have agreed to be available and monitor our site; our security guard will be in place as is routine. Ed Zare also asked the staff and board to refresh and review our already existing safety procedures, as that is always prudent. 

On August 9, 2023, President Ed Zare organized an active shooter training session for the congregation. The JUF provides a building risk assessment and 90-minute active shooter training for all congregants, which was attended by many of you. There were many lessons from that training, among which the former FBI and security professionals confirmed that Beth Am is meeting the standards of security protocol.  

We appreciate your cooperation and concern as we make this a safe and secure community for all of us.  

Ed Zare Rabbi Richard Prass Rabbi Lisa Sari Bellows

College Students

Beth Am cares about our College Age students and would love to reach out to them as they face rising antisemitism on campuses and elsewhere across the country. If you or your child is interested in this, please provide their information here!

Beth Am College Boxes. At the beginning of the year, we offered relatives/friends of college-age youth the chance to purchase a “goodie box” to be sent to our college-age friends on High Holidays, Chaukkah, and Purim to let your child, grandchild, niece, nephew, or friend know you’re thinking of them during the holidays. If you missed the sign-up deadline, we are extending the deadline to sign up for Chanukkah and Purim boxes.         

To sign up, please complete this form along with payment. The cost per student for the two remaining boxes is $36 if you are a Beth Am member and $54 if you are not a Beth Am member. 

If you’re sending to more than one student, please use one form per student. Sign up here by Nov. 21.

Take ActionJoin the American Jewish Committee (AJC) in calling on university and college leaders to act against antisemitism and protect Jewish students on campus.

Take Action: Join the ADL and Call on university presidents to speak up against antisemitic hate and anti-Israel vitriol on campus. Take action here

CBA Israel Family & Friends and Israel Mi Shebarach

Israel Mi Sheberach List and Israel Friends/Family List

Please share here the names of loved ones who are missing or wounded in Israel, to be recited during the Mi Shebarach blessing at all services. Please also list the names of family/friends living in Israel that you would like to include on our newly created Israel Family Board in the sanctuary. Shortly, you will be able to place the name(s) of family/friends living in Israel on the board. We hope you will come to Beth Am either on a Friday night or during office hours to place the names on our board yourself. We think of our Israel family with love and send prayers to them for their health and well-being. Please fill out this form if you have family/friends in Israel to include in our thoughts and should be added to the Mi Shebarach.

ADL on Antisemitism

ADL on Antisemitism: Understand What’s Happening:

The Latest from ADL on the Situation in Israel:

  • Learn more here about the latest from ADL Center on Extremism. Preliminary data points to a dramatic increase in U.S. antisemitic incidents following the October 7th Hamas Massacre in Israel. 
  • Learn more here about the primary groups behind the Anti-Israel rallies in the U.S. Some key reminders:
  • Do not engage with anti-Israel protestors, as they may be eager to escalate the situation. 
  • Consult and share ADL’s “Best Practices for Responding to Demonstrations and Protests Involving Hate and Extremism“. 
  • Report here any bias or hate incidents to ADL.
  • Learn more from ADL on our We Stand With Israel page about the evolving situation in Israel and its impact on antisemitism domestically and across the globe.

ADL Debunk Myths and False Narratives about the War– Updated 11/3/2023

Shop Israeli Local

Gabrieli Beautiful Tallits since 1964

Yad LaKashish  This wonderful organization’s mission is to give Jerusalem’s needy elderly a sense of purpose, self-worth and connection to mainstream society through creative work opportunities, essential support services and a warm community environment.

Yair Emanuel This art studio is located in Jerusalem. The artist is known for beautiful art, Judaica and Jewelry

Israel Museum Gift Shop and more The Gift Shop of the Israel Museum offers beautiful gifts, art, games, books, and Judaica.

Shop Made by Dahlia– Eco-Friendly homeware made in Tel Aviv

Can’t decide what to buy, subscribe to Lev Haolam  Lev Haolam supports local Jewish businesses through a monthly subscription box featuring 7-9 different Israeli producers with different products per month, delivered right to your door!