During dark times, we who are the Jewish community are summoned to kindle light. In solidarity with all of us who watch and worry from afar, I offer my thoughts as you consider your own:
My closest family and my closest cousins are fighting again. I feel helpless to stop it. They both are traumatized from too many generations of fear and scarcity. Nothing about the 21st century is going to make this better. I am pro Palestine and pro Israel; I love them all. I will not take refuge in blanket condemnations nor in vilifying any human being. I will insist on nuance and history even when I am exhausted and tempted to make an exception and declare something completely evil or good. I believe that every child born should grow up in love, joy, peace and safety.
There is no reason I should have to choose between peoples to work for this. Demonizing a person or a people is lazy, does not create meaningful community, and in my spiritual tradition is a sin. Milad and Manar of El Azarayiah, Fa’iz from the West Bank and Fatma of the Beduin village of the Negev, Na’amah in Netanya and Itay from the kibbutz, Biti the mom in Jerusalem and Eli the business owner in Tel Aviv – I love you. I will continue to work for a world in which you can be safe living together, without the machinations of politicians and the military industrial complex that uses you for its own wealth and power. People are good at heart; people will choose to live in peace until forced to act otherwise. Is the culprit nationalism, colonialism, climate crisis, mass brainwashing? I don’t know, and it’s likely very complicated. But love is not. I will keep on growing my capacity to love.I support those who seek to live together in peace as the only way to fight those who seek division and hate to gain power. Don’t just protest.
Support organizations that work for peace, mutual dignity and co-existence:
Just as in efforts to reform policing in Portland and elsewhere, protests are part of a larger effort: protests alone only express our outrage. They must be followed up by real efforts to support the positive that we see lacking in the world. Believe in a better world? Help to grow it. Hazak, hazak, v’nit’hazek, let us be strong and strengthen each other.
Rabbi Ariel Stone