This week, I received a bit of “anti-fan mail” for a previous newsletter, within which I stated, as part of a longer discussion of Israel’s justified campaign in Gaza that “Israel has an obligation to do more and better to protect non combatants.” (words, I should add, that I used in passing reference, but which I paraphrased from the IDF’s own policy of Tohar Haneshek - Purity of Arms.) The anonymous writer headed their letter with a big SHAME ON YOU! In bold letters, and proceeded to share in their screed that they perceived me as “a biased critic of Israel.”


Those of you who have been reading the 100+ weekly messages I’ve written for this community may love my messages, hate them, find them boring, or illuminating. And I get feedback on them most weeks, mostly quite positive. But never in my life, not even once, have I been called a biased critic of Israel.

Not when I was leading, writing, speaking, tabling, protesting and countering anti-Israel activists for the entirety of my undergraduate student career;

Not when I was lobbying at municipal, provincial, and federal levels in my native country for Israel and the Jewish people;

Not when I organized and delivered dozens of successful rallies for Israel in multiple cities and communities;

Not when I was part of the executive lay leadership of Canada’s national Jewish advocacy organization;

Not when I was tasked with researching and building profiles on Israel’s political and activist adversaries;

Not when I was appearing on national television, writing in the largest newspapers, and working in communications for the most actively pro-Israel organizations in the country;

Not when I was training thousands of young, old, teen, and college student activists to advocate for Israel, including several who now occupy key leadership positions in Jewish organizations and in government;

Not when I led, for a short time, the most effective Israel advocacy organization on US campuses, training hundreds more students;

Not when I canvassed, door knocked, and worked campaigns for pro-Israel candidates for federal office;

Not when I advocated for Israel to Senators, Congressmen, Members of Parliament, Cabinet Members and Ministers, Prime Ministers, and in the White House to administration staff, face to face;

Not when I had the privilege of working with great leaders in the Jewish community of Rockland to raise over $720,000 to meet emergency needs in Israel;

Not when I was privileged to speak to 2,000 Rockland community members in the aftermath of 10/7 at a rally our leadership organized in under 36 hours;

Not when we met with hostages families as I traveled to Israel in October to show our solidarity;

Not when our team organized buses to take 700 Rocklanders to Washington to join 300,000 others in solidarity with Israel;

Not when we’ve advocated to school district superintendents, village councils, town supervisors, county executives, state assembly members and senators, as well as the Governor, to support and understand the imperatives of the Jewish people and Israel post 10/7;

Not when in my role here, I have encountered hate and bias and being hectored and accused in the manner of the worst antisemitic tropes by people once seen as allies;

Not when the entire fabric of my identity since I was a child, my legacy from my parents and grandparents, has been love of Israel and the Jewish people…

So I’ll ask you, my anonymous critic: I’ve been doing this for 40 years. And there are people in our community who have been doing this kind of work even longer. Do you think your communication, aside from being incredibly ill informed and false, served any constructive purpose at all?

If you were wondering, that question was the whole point of this long response. EVERYTHING we do to support Israel and the Jewish people must be done with an eye on effectiveness. In advocacy, effectiveness is all. Not what makes you feel good, or soothes your anger. Not what serves a particular political purpose on one side of an issue or another.

To each one of you who has attended a rally, written to or called your congressman, donated to our Israel Emergency Appeal, worn a blue ribbon, put an Israeli flag in your window, or spoken up for Israel, know that WE at Federation - our board, our staff, our donors, our beneficiary agencies here and in Israel, our program participants - we appreciate everything you do. We support it and you, and we’re here to help and listen to your ideas. We know that you are animated and motivated by a love for Israel and the Jewish people. So are we.

My anonymous interlocutor also concluded their message by writing “Shame on You”.


I’m proud, not ashamed. Proud of all of you, what you’ve done these past five months, Proud of Israel’s moral army, proud of its energized society, proud of how Jews in Israel, around our county, around the country, and around the world have come together in a unity unlike anything I have ever seen before.

My concluding message is to say to my anonymous critic - It is clear that you too are a passionate supporter of Israel. I’m sure you have acted to support and defend Israel and the Jewish people as well. I hope that your energy and conviction continues to motivate you - I’d just ask that you take aim at our adversaries.

Shabbat Shalom