But Rosenthal and other U.S. Jews stress that the destruction of Israel is Hamas' avowed goal. And the future he sees is one of constant conflict.
"There's a feeling this is not going to end well, one way or the other," he said.
"My own feeling is a feeling of despair. I don't see any way of resolving it other than going in and wiping out Gaza and that is certainly not what anyone wants to do."
The executive director of J Street, a Washington-based advocacy group which bills itself as "the political home for pro-Israel, pro-peace Americans" questions whether further military action by Israel "would end the rockets and make Israel more secure" after Cast Lead.
"Today, rockets are more numerous and powerful. Israel is more isolated in its region and more ostracized around the world," said Jeremy Ben-Ami, J Street executive director.
"Only a political resolution to the century-old conflict with the Palestinians resulting in two states living side by side can end the conflict. Without that, in a few short years, we'll be right back here again: anger deeper, rockets more powerful, and political forces yet more extreme.
There's no question that Israel has a right to defend itself, just like any other sovereign nation, said Lindy Miller Crane, a member of Atlanta's Jewish community.
"If rockets were fired to the United States from Cuba, I would hope that the U.S. would react," she said.
Yet, like many Jews who consider themselves politically liberal, she is "ambivalent and conflicted" about how to achieve peace.
If and when a cease-fire comes together, she's worried about the follow-through.
That's because she said it seems like no progress has been made to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian issue since the 2008 Israeli military operation in Gaza.
It's like "Groundhog Day," Crane said.
She believes that if Israel can start addressing issues of racism and inequality, this will help the Jewish state initiate a strategy that will bring permanent peace with Palestinians.
"It's something that's going to have to happen," said Crane. "When I think about the future of Israel -- peace with the Palestinians is one aspect of that."
Israel has negotiated with the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority which runs the government in the West Bank. A main stumbling block to an Israeli-Palestinian peace has been the existence and expansion of settlements in the West Bank.
There is vehement disagreement among U.S. Jews about Fatah and its motivations.
Fatah casts itself as distinct from Hamas, which calls for the destruction of Israel (Fatah does not). But they aren't much different, according to Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO of pro-Israel group StandWithUs.
Just read and listen to Fatah's anti-Israel rhetoric, educational system, and media, she said.
They "don't acknowledge there's an Israel next door," she said.
Israel "can get tough on Hamas" and weaken it politically by working with the Palestinian Authority -- which is dominated by Hamas' rival, Fatah -- toward creating an Israel and Palestinian state, wrote Peter Beinart for the Daily Beast.
"The problem is that in order to make Hamas suffer for opposing the two-state solution, Israel's government would have to truly embrace that solution," he wrote.
But he didn't hold out any hope that Israel would do that.
"Taking a hard line against Hamas requires taking a hard line against the settlements -- and at the end of the day, this Israeli government is soft on them both," he wrote.
Near the war but far from the political ferment, Jodi Mansbach, an Atlanta urban planner, sat in a Tel Aviv cafe this week.
Her 16-year-old son is spending a semester at an Israeli high school, and she was visiting him for the Thanksgiving holiday.