French police stand guard outside the Ozar Hatorah Jewish school in Toulouse on Tuesday, March 20, 2012.
I shared with my Bnai Mitzvah Students today news of the attack just yesterday on a young Jew in France (click here for the article) as well as a shul voicemail I received yesterday (one of 5) from a person urgently arguing that the only way for my Jewish soul to be saved is to accept Jesus' blood as an atonement for the Jews. My thinking was/is that, while our children are blessed to grow up in the supportive Jewish environment at shul and home, both Jewish places where Jews and non-Jews love and learn and grow together, there are students in our shul's class and in their friendship circles who I know encounter much harsher realities. I shared that, though I feel incredibly proud to be a Jew, there are moments that remind me that being a Jew is not so simple, and not always the Freedom ending of the Pesach story. I told my students that, while I believe the person who left me the messages is likely in need of some help, I also felt a bit afraid - as a Jew - when I heard his voice. Sometimes, I shared, being a Jew touches the fear and uncertainty of our history.
I had a beautiful day today. I stood with my sister, a passionate rabbi serving the U.S. Navy as a chaplain, at the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. We remembered our grandfather of blessed memory, who fought for America and shared hard-earned wisdom with his children and grandchildren.
I looked to my right and saw the Washington Monument. Looked to my left at the Lincoln Memorial. I read quotes engraved on massive stones. And I felt, to my core, one sad feeling: too much war.
Too. Much. War.
The quotes and certain retellings of history would have me believe that we fought for pure purposes: we fought for religious freedom, we fought to end slavery, we fought for freedom for all humanity, we fought to end tyranny. But it's also true that we fought (and fight) for economic interests. It&…