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Rabbi Emeritus Reuven Taff

Shalom chevrei (friends),

With Israel confronting atrocities of an unfathomable scale, the likes of which can be compared only to ISIS or the Holocaust, I am devoting my page on the Mosaic Law Congregation website to thoughts on Israel, including messages I received from relatives, congregants, and others from Israel and the Diaspora. Please take a look at these as they each reflect the gut wrenching emotions of a nation under attack. 

While we are all undoubtedly traumatized by these events, we cannot leave it at that. Just as Israelis are mobilizing for war, we too must act. As one people, we have an obligation to help. Upon reading these stories, take but a few moments to contribute to the organizations listed on the new Israel Resource Page for this website. We need to pray, and we also need to act.  

As always, feel free to contact me at

I invite you to read my latest blog, published May 26 in The Times of Israel, An Appeal to Israel’s Prime Minister: Stay Home!

Please watch this inspiring program, The Jewish State of Mind: Stand With Israel, from June 3, featuring several of our congregants who recently returned from Israel. May we be blessed with the freedom of the hostages and a future of peace in our homeland.

Am Yisrael Chai.

On August 28, 2023, we were honored to be joined for The Jewish State of Mind by Osik Akselrud, Director of Hillel in Ukraine, Anna Beilis, Hillel Kiev Student and Public Relations Coordinator, and Nelli Kuznietsova, Hillel Odesa Program Coordinator.

As Israel continues its historic fight to rescue the hostages and uproot Hamas, let's remember that it is not a nation of professional soldiers, but of civilians, who do their part for the its defense. In this respect, they have become a nation of superheroes. 

Please enjoy this video which musically illustrates that and consider donating to one of the many important Israel organizations listed on our Israel Resource Page

Am Yisrael Chai | עם ישראל חי

Bring Them Home

My son, Rabbi Avi Taff of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles (and a proud alumnus of Mosaic Law Congregation), traveled to Israel to bring essential items to IDF troops. Here is his daily diary entries to help keep his synagogue connected to our Holy Land:

Day #1

I arrived at LAX with four huge bags and five boxes of army supplies for my unit and a few others—all essential items for IDF soldiers on the front lines in Azza and the North, and all packed and provided by the incredible families of Sinai Temple, Sinai Akiba Academy, and Sinai Temple Religious school. 
(Thank you to everyone who helped provide, pack, and deliver the supplies to my house—you know who you are—and for the insanely delicious cookies for my kids, but I happened to have a bite of one before I left…don’t tell them. :)! I also want to thank my wife Amy for holding down the fort. You are my rock. And to my kids. Love you to the moon and back.

Our friends Iriet and Ken took me to the airport. Eliana had a basketball tournament which she was very excited about, so Amy and I decided it would be best to have the kids stay in their usual routine. Amy says she couldn’t take me because of the emotional toll it would have taken on her and the kids. It’s different to leave from home while they are distracted than watch me get out of the car and walk away. She might be right. Probably would have been harder for me, too.

Sepi Nourmand, who is helping mobilize our community, met me at the airport to help with check-in and to take back any boxes that may not have been accepted due to weight restrictions. Luckily, thanks to Orit Topf, our relentless travel agent, all boxes were approved for loading.

While standing in the TSA security line, I met Kfir, in his twenties, built like a tank. I only could tell because, like a typical Israeli, he is wearing a tank top. His arm are three times the size of mine. Kfir is from Rosh Ha’ayin, in the North. He was in the States traveling following active duty. Now, Kfir was called back to serve with his unit. “Al tidag achi,” he said as we parted ways so I could get a bottle of water and a pack of gum. “Don’t worry brother, ze yigamer maher, this (war) will end quickly.” From Kfir’s lips to God’s ears. My money’s on Kfir. It’s actually the same sentiment I get from all the soldiers I’ve talked to: my cousin Evy, my friends from my team. They all say, “Don’t worry, we will win.” We are a resilient and strong people.


As I boarded the plane, I was very surprised by what I saw. I thought I’d find a plane full of soldiers heading back to join their units. Of course, there were some, but the plane was mostly full of young couples with babies, grandparents, and other travelers all returning home after visiting family in LA for Sukkot. The horrifying and tragic events of last weekend delayed many due to canceled flights or internal doubts about going back to Israel right now. But they are here, ready to go back to Israel to LIVE (and yes, some to fight).

As I stood there by my seat, looking around at everyone I am flying with, I zoned in on the two babies right next to me and I felt a tear stream down my face. They are absolutely precious and adorable. Both are six-months-old, their whole lives ahead of them. They are smiling and happy, in the safe and loving embrace of their parents. The way it should be.


I was about to sit down when I saw Kfir a few rows behind me getting a few things out of his backpack before closing the overhead compartment. I reached into my bag, grabbed a stack of paper, and walked back towards him. “Put these in your bag, Kfir.” I said. “Ma Zeh? What is it?” Kfir replied. “Letters of support for you and your team from the kids in our community (our Sinai Kids).” “Todah Achi,” he said with a big smile. “I’ll take a bunch.” He gave me a man hug (it’s what my kids call two men giving each other a high five while simultaneously slapping each other on the back). I turned around and went back to my seat to buckle up.


As I sat back and closed my eyes, I thought back to this past Shabbat when our community packed-in Ziegler Sanctuary to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Israel. I could see our community standing united, together as one, waving Israeli flags and vociferously applauding Rabbi Guzik’s passionate and heartfelt sermon emphasizing our community and our peoples resolve, strength, and unity and praising Sinai Temple’s steadfast and unwavering support of the people and the State of Israel; reminding everyone that we at Sinai Temple know how to show up! We have incredible models in Rabbis Guzik and Sherman who are leading the way. Each one of us, doing our part, helping, giving, in our own ways.


For the first time in the last week, I was able to close my eyes and sleep a bit. While I know there will still be moments where I feel I can’t breathe, still in shock from the horrors of last weekend, still unable to fathom how this could have happened, still heartbroken for the families of victims and hostages, I pray for many more moments where I feel the strength and resolve of our people, like last Shabbat at Sinai and like my first few hours of this mission.


As Rabbi Guzik reminded us, out of the darkness and chaos of creation came light. There is light ahead. We can be light. We can bring the light. In the words of Amanda Gorman, “For there is always light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

We at Sinai and the entire people of Israel are brave enough to be the light. I see the light in Kfir, in the two babies sitting near me, in their parents who believe in the dream that is Israel and are therefore bringing their kids back to raise them in their Jewish homeland. I see it in the families that packed boxes and the community support that is happening all over the world. There is so much light everywhere we look.


Am Yisrael Chai! Love from however many thousands of feet in the air.



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