Word for the Herd: Torah from your favorite teacher
I just got back from one of the most spiritual trips of my life to Israel and it makes little sense to know that the family and friends I visited with less than one month ago NOW have only 15-90 seconds to find shelter from falling rockets from Hamas. I was just in these cities praying, relaxing, shopping, touring and learning and now there is a war, where my relatives and friends are being called back up for service, are terrorized by alarms, sirens, and feel morbidly guilty for the loss of human life on the Palestinian side that is seemingly necessary to protect them from raining fire.
It is no wonder that I’m effected by the current Israeli-Hamas conflict that has erupted over the last few weeks. Just take a look at these pictures above. These are kids at their summer-camp, during a code-red siren, hovering on the floor, preparing for a rocket explosion. Some are pictures a friend of mine took of rockets in her backyard or right by her work. This is what the IRON DOME missile defense system looks like when it shoots down and intercepts Hamas missiles and rockets with direct precession. This is what an air strike looks like in Gaza.
Besides talking to my Israeli friends and family and trying to make them feel supported, loved and distracted from this intense situation, here in the USA I’m constantly talking about the news. My roommate listens to me tirade against the US leadership for pressuring Israel. My co-workers patiently listen as I explain the day’s attacks and developments. My mother and I post relentlessly on social media to help get the word out to Jews and Non-Jews alike about how Israel tries to preserve human life while Hamas’ goal is to destroy.
If you can’t serve to protect, you can help spread the truth and you can help make those under-fire feel like they aren’t alone.
Last night I spoke with an interfaith couple at an Upper West Side restaurant. They wanted to know what I think of everything going on with the Middle East, as I had just gotten back from the land and I’m a teacher. They both suggested that Israel should go into Gaza already with a full ground invasion and obliterate every last Palestinian. They are entitled to their opinion but they are of course wrong.
Israel is a Jewish Homeland. More than that, it is the only nation in the Arab Middle East that has religious freedom. It is a land full of secular and religious people, but built on the values of those who survived oppression and violence. Israel can and will do the right thing to win against terror…. Whatever it is, it will not just be to obliterate the Palestinians. Gaza’s population has a right to exist non-violently, and if we “kill them all” we will be just as bad as those who sought to wipe us off the planet. Israel will protect the land for the Jewish people, but that includes keeping the world opinion of Israel high. We must continue attempts to restore peace in the land.
I have grown my opinion about everything largely through my best friend, Noa. If you know me, you remember when I brought 20lbs of custom M&M’s to her wedding in Israel, of you’ve met her when she went to elementary school in the states or when she’s come to visit me several times. Noa is a brilliant, beautiful and patient woman. She is the daughter of an Ambassador in Israel’s Foreign Ministry and wife of a businessman who was immediately drafted to serve in Gaza again. She wrote me this:
“I think the main message is that although we are at war, civilians in Israel feel very protected. That’s why we continue our lives…. Go to work, Summer camps, weddings... everything is normal. This sense of protection is because the government of Israel and the IDF work non-stop to protect us. The Iron Dome is THE example for that: A project that took years to develop and now in real time, its saving our lives. The budget for the Iron Dome was given by the USA and that is why we need the continued support of our greatest ally. It is why the only tragic pictures are seen from the Palestinian side. Hamas is not protecting the Palestinians, only using them as human shields.”
Please do what you can to show your support. Am Yisrael Chai.