Israel is central to world Jewry and a priority for the Jews of Westchester County.
A primary vehicle for supporting Israel is the Israel Roundtable for Volunteers, conceived to help increase county-wide consciousness, connections and commitment to Israel, in addition to our Israel Roundtable for Professionals. Like all of the Council’s roundtables, we also share best practices and plan joint programs.
The Council also sponsors and coordinates the following:
- The Westchester marching cluster in the annual Israel Day Parade on 5th Avenue in NYC.
- Lectures and community gatherings in support of Israel. On December 6, 2016, Westchester welcomed the Consul General of Israel in NY and the Heroes of Westchester in celebration of "Honor Week".
- The engagement of a Shlicha (emissary), Oshra Rosenberg, who is based in Westchester County for two years. The Westchester Community Shlichim (emissaries) initiative is a county-wide program coordinated by the Westchester Jewish Council with support from UJA-Federation of New York and the Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), along with the generosity of the Adnim Foundation. Get to know Oshra by following her on Facebook
- The Council maintains ongoing communication with the Israel consulate on behalf of its members organizations.
Over 200 people attended the community-wide 'Honor Week' Celebration in recognition of those who gave of themselves to defend the State of Israel. Ambassador Dani Dayan, Consul General of Israel in NY, was our special guest.
An Evening of Unity with the People of Israel
November 2, 2015
Thank you to the over 600 people who attended this program to show their support for the people of Israel.
Click here for a list of partner organizations
In Memory of Our Boys
July 1, 2014
The leadership of the Westchester Jewish Council (the Jewish community relations council for Westchester County), representing our membership of 152 Jewish organizations and synagogues, joins the worldwide Jewish community in expressing our grief at the tragic deaths of Naftali Frenkel z"l, Gilad Shaar z"l, and Eyal Yifrach z"l.
"The Westchester Jewish Community mourns the loss of our three sons, murdered simply because they were Jewish", said Paul Warhit, President, Westchester Jewish Council. "I pray that this wanton act serves to unify Westchester Jewry in support of Israel's right to defend its citizens and to punish Hamas for supporting and encouraging terrorist activity. This terrible tragedy underscores the fact that Hamas is not a partner for peace and will not be until it changes its charter and mission."
Yoav Cohen, our Westchester Community Shaliach (emissary), expressed his grief in the beautiful letter below. There are no additional words to describe this tragedy and our collective grief. Below Yoav’s letter you will find sentiments from other prominent members of our community.
Dear Eyal, Gil-ad and Naftali,
I am sitting and staring at a blank screen, thinking how to put my thoughts and feelings into words. The only way I felt right in doing so was to write to the three of you directly.
At 1:05PM on June 30, in Westchester, NY, just after I had shared my prayers for your safe return with a synagogue group, I learned that you, our boys, are coming back. But you are not coming home to us as we dared to imagine and hope. Around the globe people are pouring their hearts out for you and your families. All we wanted was for your safe and sound return. This tragic end has left us all mourning you as if you were our own.
You lost the most precious of all things we hold holy, your own lives. Our enemies targeted you to hit us where it hurts most, and it does. We are depressed at the thought of your empty seats at every Shabbat dinner. We are angry that you will never grow up to discover the riches of life. We are horrified at the vile hatred in the blood running through the veins of your murderers and the lack of appreciation for basic dignity and morality.
Yet, even from the abyss where your physical lives ended, you brought out the best in Am Yisrael and in humanity. You must know that you have united an entire people and beyond. Congregations gathered and prayed. Communities rallied and shouted. Individuals from around the world were guided by their moral compass to campaign on the ground and in the virtual jungles of social media on your behalf. We all followed every snippet of news and every alluring rumor that might contain a grain of truth to where you might be. Today we hurt and share our grievance together as one family.
We will grow stronger and we will grow wiser and yes, soon we will resume our petty bickering and arguing of our daily issues, but not before we fully mourn you. You are our boys, you will forever be our boys.
- Yoav Cohen
“Sheila and I offer our condolences of the families of these three kidnapped boys, one of them an American, who are the victims of a deliberate and heinous crime against children. As several relatives of these boys are New Yorkers, the pain of their death is particularly acute here in our home state.
At the same time, we are outraged by the reaction of the Hamas leadership, part of the new Palestinian government, who welcomed this crime.”
-Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino
"Every parent's greatest fear is harm coming to his or her child, and so I can't imagine what the parents of Gil-ad, Naftali, and Eyal are experiencing on this sad day. "As we look at the faces of these young boys, it is my hope that even those who seek harm upon us realize that children are off limits. Young kids should never be targets in conflict. "I'm heartbroken today at the loss of these three boys. I wish comfort upon their families. And I hope whoever is responsible for this evil is brought swiftly to justice."
-Representative Eliot L. Engel
“Our hearts are broken by this appalling act of terrorism against three innocent Israelis, and our prayers are with all of their family members in Israel and the United States. President Abbas must make clear that such extremism will not be tolerated, and lead the effort to hold accountable every single person who played a role in this evil act.”
-Congresswoman Nita Lowey
“The Westchester Board of Rabbis expresses its heartfelt condolences to the families of Gilad Shaar, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrach. We stand together with the American Jewish community, and, especially, with our brothers and sisters in Israel, at this time of Jewish national sorrow. We pray that the memories of these three young boys will remain as a blessing to their families, friends, and the Jewish people.”
-Rabbi Seth Sternstein, President, Westchester Board of Rabbis