Saturday, December 9, 2023 -
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Two Denverites: ‘How Oct. 7 changed my life’

What are you doing differently as a result of Israel’s war against Hamas?

Rachael Solomon, JNF-USA Mountain States regional executive director


Our world has changed immeasurably since Oct. 7, yet I’m still doing what I did every day before that infamous date — which is specifically helping the residents and communities of Israel’s north and south. 

This atrocious moment in our history feels especially personal, as the Israelis you see on the news every night are colleagues, family and friends. 

I’m now working at a much more frenzied pace to bring in as many donations as possible for our Emergency Resilience Campaign — with 100% of contributions going directly to the Israeli people at this critical time.

I’m trying to ensure that every one of those evacuees, who left with nothing, has basic essentials, housing, food, clothing, mental health services. I’m trying to provide volunteers to help with schooling the children, caring for farms left unattended, and so much more. 


What I’m doing differently in my personal life is a trifecta of crying, praying and working, non-stop. I find it difficult to do anything but these three things at this time. 

Working, however, allows me to actively do something productive for my colleagues there on the ground, for those Israelis who lost loved ones, their homes and their communities, and those anxiously awaiting their loved ones’ safe return. 

So, I speak for myself, and my incredible team of professionals, when I say we are working a lot. It helps.

Debbie Jacobs, real estate agent and founding board member of #EndJewHatred in Colorado

When asked what, if anything, I was going to do differently after the events of Oct. 7, I found myself flooded with thoughts and emotions. 

First, I am going to be more consistent with reciting Modeh Ani in the morning. I am very thankful for my life. 

I love studying and learning Torah from so many amazing Denver rabbis. 

I have always assumed that I could pass that optimistic life outlook onto future generations. But the fact that life can change in an instant has come into clear focus and the uncertainty of the future looms large. 

From my point of view, the days of hand wringing are over; it is time to dig down deep, stop being afraid to speak out and start taking positive actions. 

Every time one of us speaks out and stands up, we become our own little whirlwind and as each of us connect our voices, we will become a tornado of support for each other. Six million small whirlwinds will make a huge statement!

I am also taking action for our college students who are taking the brunt of these openly anti-Semitic rants. 

I, along with supporting other important Jewish organizations. will be supporting an organization specially related to college campuses, Students Standing with Israel.

They set up chapters on college campuses. They are very effective in providing talking points, education about Israel’s history, banners signs and “how-to’s” to offset the annual Apartheid Week, which is conducted in February on so many college campuses throughout our nation. 

I will work to bring the founder here to Denver to speak about how to help in Colorado and beyond. 

I think it is important to act decisively now. Many of us attended the “support for Israel” rally at the State Capitol on Oct. 15. But as the days go by, inevitably the news cycle will move past us and on to the next big thing. I want to set aside a moment to contemplate how we are hanging in the balance between destruction and a continued Jewish heritage, good vs evil, darkness and light. 

I am planning to light a yahrzeit candle before Shabbos in memory of Israel’s fallen, the destruction that Oct. 7 has brought; and when I light for Shabbos, I will be ever hopeful for a community of voices singing with a unified voice.

Copyright © 2023 by the Intermountain Jewish News

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