Rabbi Ilyse on a light blue background, banner reads The Word from the DJC.

Discover, Watch, Listen: Witnessing…and Being in Sacred Community

Screams Before Silence

The first offering is a new documentary by Sheryl Sandberg called “Screams Before Silence” about the sexual violence committed by Hamas on October 7. The film shows “never-before-heard eyewitness accounts from released hostages, survivors, and first responders” about what happened in Israeli towns and at the Nova music festival where “women and girls were raped, assaulted, and mutilated. Released hostages have revealed that Israeli captives in Gaza have also been sexually assaulted.”

Since October 7, Sandberg’s focus has been on rape scrutiny and denialism encountered by human rights groups, academics, and media outlets the world over. This documentary is one of the ways that Sandberg is fighting against this tide in an attempt to raise awareness of the atrocities that occurred on October 7.

Listen to Sheryl Sandberg discuss the film on Dan Senor’s May 10 episode of his podcast “Call Me Back”.

Watching this documentary was difficult and so, so important. In the final minutes of the film, Sheryl Sandberg shares her reflections on why she made it and I’d like to share these words here:

This is the most important work of my life…I have spent a lot of time in my life advocating for women and it felt like this was a moment where we needed to be really honest and direct about what happened. Rape is never acceptable. In this moment – since October 7th –  I felt like we were sliding back, sliding back to a place where we would start accepting the unacceptable. And I can’t let that happen…I have to believe that we will tell these stories and give these amazing witnesses the chance for people to hear from them their words in this film – what happened. Anyone who watches this film can bear witness and we can take that, and we can take that pain and take that trauma and turn it into hope, turn it into commitment, turn it into conviction that we are not going to let this happen again.

The DJC’s Survey on Israel

My second offering is about the DJC’s recent Israel Survey. I am pleased that last week’s e-blast shared the key findings with our community (they are again included in today’s e-blast). The survey had five overall objectives and solicited a 56% response rate (which is a very strong response rate and therefore considered representative of the DJC membership). There are many interesting and elucidating findings from our survey and I want to share just a few:

  • 2/3 of members feel “very attached” or “somewhat attached” to Israel
  • Most DJC members have spent time in Israel. Close to 1/10 were born in or lived in Israel 
  • A very high percentage of our members stated that the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish Democracy is important 
  • Many members believe that it is important for the DJC to publicly support the existence of the State of Israel

There are many more findings to summarize and explore together. I look forward to coming together on June 13 for our community conversation debriefing the results: “Community Survey on Israel: Debriefing Results and Finding a Way Forward”. I hope you will bring your questions about the survey, and ideas on how you would like to see the DJC engage meaningfully and respectfully on the ongoing conflict.

From Rabbi Ilyse Glickman:

This is our ongoing blog series to introduce the DJC community to podcasts, books, websites, and other media offerings that may expand our understandings of the current war in particular and Israel/Palestine more broadly. I hope you listen/watch/read these recommendations with curiosity, openness, and empathy. Please let me know what you think about today’s offerings: rabbiglickman@djctoronto.com. I look forward to the conversation.

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