- Write letters of encouragement to Senators and Representatives -- and even state and local officials -- who have been supportive of Israel in any way. The letters should be personal and to the point, signed with respect and a valid address. E-mail is a good second choice, but nothing beats a hard copy.
Name of Rep/Senator, United States Capitol, Washington, DC
- Write letters of objection to those whose support for Israel has been less than adequate. Those letters, too should be respectful and to the point. The goal is not to berate, but to persuade.
- Write or call the White House to encourage the President to continue his extraordinary support for Israel and to persevere in the war against terror.
President George W. Bush, The White House, Washington, DC 202-456-1111
- Read the newspaper and watch television with a special eye for reporting on Israel and the Middle East. When someone has done a good job, write or call with praise. When someone has done a poor job, carefully communicate your objections. It is as important to watch carefully local news as it is national news. One good source for being a media watchdog is www.honestreporting.com.
- Shop for Israeli products. They are everywhere if you just look for them.
- Support Israeli emergency medical services. Magen David Adom fulfills the function of the Red Cross in Israel (www.magendavidadom.org/). Likewise, Hadassah Hospital and many other hospitals and emergency centers in Israel need your support.
- Call friends in Israel just to talk to them. Invest ten dollars in a phone card and you can probably talk for an hour. Ask them about school, about work. Tell them you miss them. Promise you will visit.
- Make plans to go to Israel. Put the money away. Buy a couple of Israel bonds to cash when you get there. Send for the brochures. Enroll in the El Al frequent flyer program. If you can go now, go now, on a solidarity mission or a quick trip or to stay in a hotel in Tiberias or Eilat.
- Talk to friends and neighbors, particularly those who are not Jewish. Send them articles that are short and to the point. Engage them on the issue and about how important it is to you. If they show sympathy for the Palestinian cause, agree with them to the extent your conscience allows. But make it clear that there is no alternative for the Jews in Israel or in the world other than a secure Jewish nation in Israel.
- Show up to organizational events. (Two were listed, including the AIPAC policy conference on April 21-23. Information is at www.aipac.org.)
- Keep yourself informed from many perspectives. If you only read books and listen to analysis by the people with whom you already agree, you will remain a well-informed ignoramus. If for no other reason than you need to know your opponents, you must educate yourself with information and disinformation from the right and the left, from the Arabs and the Israelis, from the Muslims and the Jews, from fundamentalist Christians who love Israel but dismiss Judaism, and from liberal Christians who love Judaism but dismiss Israel. Go to their web sites -- it's free and it's an education.
- Pray. Maybe a rabbi has to say it, but maybe it is as necessary as any of the other steps. Prayer in our tradition is not magic. We have no contest with other religions as to who can flood God's office with the most signatures on a petition. Prayer serves to reinforce our values, our connection with God and the strength we need to do what is right, even when what is right isn't always comfortable. Without a grounding in religious life, we are nothing but anther nation vying for a piece of the world's power. And likewise, if we rely only on our religion, we become nothing but narrow-minded partisans. Prayer keeps us balanced and mindful of the need to honor our Creator in everything we do.