Reports emerged Friday, April 26, from the Israel-Gaza border that a group of rabbis were arrested while attempting to bring food aid into the besieged and starving Gaza Strip. 

Among those arrested was our own Rabbi Alana Alpert of Ferndale's Congregation T'Chiyah.  

Let that sink in. A leader of our own community has been arrested during chol hamoed pesach while attempting to actualize the liberatory values of the holiday and the commandment of the Hagaddah which says: 

"Let all who are hungry come and eat." 

Many of our Metro Detroit rabbis have been silent in the face of the Israeli military's engineered famine in Gaza. Now that one of their respected colleagues has been detained and jailed by the Israeli police and military for trying to aid her fellow human beings, will their silence continue? 

In Rabbi Alpert's words: "How can we celebrate freedom as these atrocities are committed in the name of Jewish safety?" 

If a peaceful contingent of rabbinical professionals guided by the highest ideals of Jewish faith and belief, arrested in the course of following their spiritual duty to alleviate the suffering of other human beings — “praying with their feet,” to paraphrase the great Rabbi Heschel — is not enough of a wake-up call for our community to consider adding their voices to the growing calls for a ceasefire, then what will be?

God willing, Rabbi Alpert will soon return to her anxiously waiting family and congregation. Until that time, we will pray for her safety and the safety of her colleagues using the ancient words of our faith, the Acheinu, inflected now with the bitter irony that the Jews for whose freedom we beg are held in captivity by the Jewish State: 

“Our family, the whole house of Israel, who are in distress, or in captivity — who stand either in the sea or on dry land — may the Omnipresent have mercy on them and take them out from narrowness to expanse, and from darkness to light, and from oppression to redemption, now, swiftly, and soon!”

Kol Nistar is a pseudonym.