Kesher: Nir Oz

March 25, 2024 in Israel

By Salo Zelermyer.

Since October 7, 2023, the question many of us have been asking is: “What can we do to help?” Some of us have traveled to Israel to volunteer – including on the recent Beth El trip – and sent donations to groups operating in Israel and there is no question that these efforts are valued and appreciated. But how do we and our families connect to this effort in a sustained and meaningful way that recognizes that, for the communities impacted by the terrorist attacks, the recovery process will take years and last long beyond the current military conflict?

Kesher: Nir Oz seeks to provide one possible answer for members of our community. It is a project of Ohr Khodesh, Beth El, B’nai Israel, and MoEd to support Kibbutz Nir Oz, a community that was devastated by the Hamas terrorists on October 7, 2023. The program will harness the resources of the dedicated and caring congregations of these synagogues to provide tangible support to this devastated Israeli community.  More than 10% of Kibbutz Nir Oz’s residents were murdered on October 7 – 46 killed out of 400 residents – with another 71 residents taken hostage with 31 still in captivity. More than 80% of the kibbutz was destroyed and the remainder is currently uninhabitable. Since October 7, surviving residents have lived in a hotel in Eilat, and just recently moved to apartments in Kiryat Gat where they will live for at least two years as the Israeli government determines a plan and timeline for rebuilding the kibbutz.

Kesher: Nir Oz is modeled after the U.S.-Israel “sister city” partnership program. For decades, Jewish communities across the United States have developed “sister city” relationships with cities and towns in Israel. These relationships have fostered mutual support, friendships and connections with activities ranging from delegations traveling back and forth to school-to-school projects.  Starting this past November, a small group of members initiated discussions about ways in which our community can support the kibbutz with the Head of Development for Nir Oz and a liaison for Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Both confirmed the level of need for the Nir Oz community and their desire for a partnership.

The program will be directed by a steering committee composed of members of the three synagogues and MoEd, in close coordination with members of the Nir Oz community. Activities will be structured in the synagogues so that all age groups – children, teens, adults and seniors – will have the opportunity to participate and make meaningful connections with Nir Oz community members. Committees are currently being formed and activities planned and we welcome your ideas, participation and help. If you would like to learn more, please email us at We look forward to working on this together.