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Earlier this week, those of us who live in Baltimore awakened to an unexpected taste of war-like destruction when a cargo ship smashed into our 1.6-mile-long Key Bridge and completely demolished it. By now, I am sure most of you have seen a video of the bridge collapsing into the harbor. I have a clear view out of my window of all that is left: two concrete ramps, leading to nowhere, and twisted steel poking eerily out of the Patapsco River.

It has been more than 2 years since Russia invaded Ukraine, and almost 6 months since the start of the war in Gaza. These conflicts have led to the daily broadcasting and sharing of images of death and destruction. The media never seems to tire of showing a bombed-out building, a destroyed village, or a burning car.

Since most of us live outside immediate zones of danger, we usually witness the devastation on our screens rather than in person. That makes it hard to truly comprehend the toll combat takes on the cities and towns caught in the crossfire.

When we see it for ourselves, it changes us. A visit to the wreckage of the kibbutzim and moshavim brutally attacked by Hamas has left an indelible mark of the horrors of war on those who have recently traveled to southern Israel. Those who were in New York during and immediately after 9/11 are also scarred for life from the scenes they witnessed.

While the demise of the Key Bridge is not in the same category as those disasters, it is a stark reminder that none of us are immune from devastation and destruction, regardless of where we live. Each of us must approach every day knowing that we may experience unexpected and unthinkable damage at any moment, and resolve to be strong enough not to let it bring us to our knees.

We must endure and be prepared to do whatever it takes to rebuild our broken communities, physically and emotionally. We must lend a hand to those in need, and accept the help of others when the task in front of us is too great to resolve alone. We must make sure we are ready to meet the challenges in front of us right now, as well as into the future.

Given all that is happening around us, resilience is essential. We need to stand together, support one another, and rebuild our communities, embodying the principle of Kol yisrael aravim zeh bazeh. (All Jews are responsible for one another).

Together, we can overcome any obstacle and emerge stronger than before.

Shabbat Shalom and may this be the week the hostages return safely,

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