What to Say and Do About the Israel/Hamas War

What to Say and Do About the Israel/Hamas War
What to say and do about the Isreal / Hamas war Praying for Justice (acrylic) by Polly Castor

Yesterday, there was a lively discussion at our local clergy association, of which I am a long time member.  The prayer before our partaking of the lunch did not specifically refer to the Israel/Hamas war, and this fact was criticized. Recently, the town had a vigil to pray about that situation, and the first thing on our agenda was to review what we thought of that event. Basically, it was good as far as it went, but now what? Are we back to business as usual?

Our Jewish rabbi friends shared that when they hear nothing about it from non-Jews, they think at worse, anti-Semitism, and at best, mere apathy or inconsideration. Basically, they are in pain and grieving, and need to be treated as such. They feel like Jews are the “canary in the mine,” so to speak, so feel urgent about their perils being noticed for the good of everyone, not just themselves.

It is my experience that people generally do not know what to do or how to act around someone who is grieving. I have learned that the tendency to avoid the difficult topic is itself to be avoided. All that is needed is for you to express your care. Even a lame, “I don’t know what to say,” is better than nothing, and is appreciated as an acknowledgement. In the meeting when I said, “I feel for you,” that was overwhelmingly and gratefully received as enough. A warm hug afterwards helped further.

I understand why we don’t say anything in these circumstances, and it is neither animosity, lack of care, nor apathy. I think we humbly feel out of our depth, and at a loss to contribute anything helpful in such a complex and difficult situation. There is nothing most of us can do, besides empathize with the innocent on both sides. Furthermore, we can reach out and say so, which will make those close to the catastrophe feel supported and less vulnerable.

But we also can pray, and please don’t discount the real value of this, although treating those in our midst who are especially devastated with sincere compassion cannot be overlooked. I believe both individual and collective prayer is powerful. It is able to solve problems nothing else can.

This we must take up. This is a war between civilization and barbarism, and the higher thought must govern the lower. The whole world must be freed from the insidious imposition of unworthy tendencies. I believe progress is a law that can certainly be fulfilled, but each and every one of us must do our part in tipping the scale in the right direction.

Overcoming Obstacles (pastel) by polly Castor
I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


  1. Dilys 9 months ago

    Thank you so much, Polly for your words of encouragement. Like you I try never to avoid an issue someone is facing – even if what I say seems to me inadequate.
    I was feeling overwhelmed recently and thought to myself “I see only problems and no solutions” but the answer came back instantly “I see only solutions and no problems!” . “Thank you, God”. X

  2. John+gregory 9 months ago

    Thanks for these thoughts. It is difficult to comprehend the inhumanity of this. My heart is heavy.

  3. Susan 9 months ago

    Thank you Polly.

    May I share the last two paragraphs?

    • Author
      Polly Castor 9 months ago

      Sure with attribution.

  4. Thank you for your kind insights Polly. Very helpful.

  5. Sue+Krevitt 9 months ago

    Today, though doubting if my “little prayer” for this huge situation could do any good, I will set that doubt aside and …pretend…AFFIRM!… that prayerful communion with Omnipotent Divine Mind (God) is indeed powerful, and EXPECT results of some kind!!


  6. Sue+Krevitt 9 months ago

    And Thank you, Polly, and all, for your prayers, in thought and paint!!

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