An amazing CNS Shabbat: Great davening and Torah, celebrating an aufrauf of two precious souls, marking a sweet young person becoming bar mitzvah, hosting the HIAS Country Director in Uganda to learn about how we, as a Shul, can participate in refugee resettlement, and standing together praying for three kidnapped Jewish boys to be redeemed from captivity. It felt like the five years we prayed every Shabbat for Gilad Shalit were back, and the pain was and is just so deep.
We are a special kind of shul whose members support New Israel Fund, AIPAC, J Street, Rabbis for Human Rights, FIDF, and others. But today we all left our politics behind and just held our boys in our hearts and wept as part of the larger Jewish family. All this is what makes our community so amazing.
I knew, when I plugged back in, after Havdalah, that I'd see some continued anti-Israel comments on my social media platforms. But the magnitude, volume, and tenor was a harsh reminder that all is not well nor stable for Jews in the world.
I deleted most of the hatred on my various media streams, but took a screen shot of a random selection and saved it as a reminder of an important point: there are some who believe that anti-Zionists are not anti-Semites. I reject the dichotomy, not because (politically speaking) a theoretical formula is impossible, but rather because the reality is that the two are conflated and overlap and are inextricably bound (which is how, as a religious Zionist I believe it should be in the first place). But my point is that, even if I believed they were separate, that "careful thinking" is eviscerated by the hatred of both.
I could point to the Shoah as "proof" that the world sees Jews as an identifiable global People, but we need not go that far for evidence. All I had to do was turn my phone back on.
Even if we would (God-forbid), try to forget that Eyal , Naftali, and Gilad are our sons, their abduction and our hearts' collective ache remind us that their fates are bound with ours, and that reality trumps theoretical constructs every time.
I highly recommend Ari Shavit's "My Promised Land," as its pain is all our pain. He doesn't let anyone off the hook. And his critique of the left's approach rang in my ears when I read some of the antisemitic comments on my social media streams tonight. My personal commitment to Two States for Two Peoples is well-addressed by his analysis, and I believe his critique of the messianisms of the "right" and the "left" when it comes to Israeli politics should be required reading for all Jews.
But really, what I want more than sympathy for my discomfort at some online hate-speech is to #Bring Back Our Boys. We can soothe each other's wounds and sort out political theories later, once they're home.
May Yaakov Naftali ben Rachel Devora, Gilad Michael ben Bat Galim, and Eyal ben Iris Teshurah be returned safe and healthy to their homes very, very, very soon.