Letter from Rabbi Ross

Rabbi Michael RossDear TBS friends and family,

It has been a dark, horrible week in Israel and Palestine. On one hand we have seen this type of violence wrack the region like it did 7 years ago. We know the terrible script will likely play out the same. On the other hand, rioting in the streets of Israel is something we haven’t seen before. The unrest is disturbing. It feels different.

There are countless accounts of what started this round of violence, most of it had to do with Israeli settlers wanting to expel 6 Palestiniian families from their homes in East Jerusalem in a neighborhood called Sheikh Jarrah. For now, the Israeli Supreme Court has set aside its ruling in this case for a month in an attempt to calm the matter. This violence coincides with the end of Ramadan and the celebration of Jerusalem Day earlier this week.

To respond to the hundreds of beatings in Jerusalem, Hamas began missile launches on Tuesday. Israel has responded to that escalation of violence with its own bombing attacks in Gaza.

Personally, our babysitter is huddling in a bomb shelter in Jerusalem. Our rabbinic school friends and our relatives are also seeking safety in bomb shelters now.

When words fail us we can turn to poetry for inspiration. This was posted on Ritualwell.org by a colleague of mine, Hila Ratzabi.

The Smoke Has Not Cleared: A Prayer for Peace

By Hila Ratzabi, https://www.ritualwell.org/ritual/smoke-has-not-cleared-prayer-peace

“We will inflict blows on them that they have never dreamed of” – Benjamin Netanyahu
“Thousands of leaders and soldiers will follow in their footsteps” – Hamas
– BBC News, May 12, 2021

God who makes peace in heaven
Make peace for us, now, here
On Earth, because we can’t
Do it alone and we have lost
Our way, our eyes clouded
By rocket fire, our faces smeared
With belief in “You,”
You, God, who would never
Direct us to defile your name,
Your earth, your children,
You, God, who does not
Divvy out land, who instructs us
In love, who gives visions
Of peace, God, make peace for us,
Now, because we’ve tarnished
The words you placed upon our hearts,
We’ve twisted faith
Into fighting into fire,
We’ve wasted
Precious life after life,
Make it end, because we can’t
Seem to stop ourselves
From one last act of retaliation,
One last war, one last argument
To win. Make peace, make peace
Here on earth, right now,
Peace for us, peace for Israel,
Peace for all people on Earth,
Lift us up, lay us down,
Hold us in our grief,
Quiet the trembling earth,
Quiet our trembling hearts,
Make peace for us right now
Because we can’t
Do this alone,
Because parents are grieving
And the land is ravaged
And the smoke
And the smoke has not cleared.


This Saturday we will prepare for Shavuot by studying the Book of Ruth, which depicts the story of the first possible convert to Judaism. All are welcome!


The holiday of Shavuot begins Sunday 5/16 at sundown. It’s a time to commemorate the giving of the 10 commandments at Mount Sinai. It’s also a spring harvest festival and dairy foods are often served in abundance.

TBS has co-sponsored the community Shavuot night of learning, at Bnai Jeshurun in Pepper Pike, the past few years. We will do so again this year, and Rabbi Michael Ross will be teaching on Zoom at 8:30 pm, Sun. 5/16, on “Re-imagining the Covenant.” Please click here to read through the pdf for details. We will all need to register beforehand to access the Zoom link that night.

You can register for the Shavuot sessions here: https://bnaijeshurun.formstack.com/forms/snl

We will add Shavuot themes into our Friday service on 5/21.


  • Sat. 5/15, 9:30 am: Torah For Our Times – Book Of Ruth
  • Sun. 5/16, 7:30 pm – 2 am: Community-Wide Leil Tikkun Shavuot – A Special Night of Learning. Rabbi Michael will be teaching at 8:30 about “Re-imagining the Covenant.” Registration: https://bnaijeshurun.formstack.com/forms/snl
  • Fri. 5/21, 7:30 pm: Zoom Shabbat Services led by Ian Katz
  • Sat. 5/22, 10:30 am: Ian Katz Bar Mitzvah
  • SAVE THE DATE – Fri. 6/4, 7 pm – TBS Outdoor Service at Kim and Mike’s backyard! (RSVPs needed)