Committed to Home: Reflections from Israel: 5 Years, 2 Years, and 1 Year Ago Today - And Today
© Rabbi Menachem Creditor
I. Five Years Ago
just entered yad vashem's valley of the communities, saw my ancestral community (moldova) listed, and I'm lost. where/when is here?
staring at a boxcar with suddenly, intentionally stopped tracks that today point to (and, oy, would that they had led to) the forests of jerusalem. no words... my heart is devastated once again.
a grandson, a dear soul, spoke of his grandparents' legacy as partizans from vilna. when we recited the el maleh (prayer for memory), we added the words "those who fought" to the passive "those who were murdered." moved, afraid, and pulled by the commitment to act, and what must continue to mean for Jews today.
the irony (and tactile education) at yad vashem of being forced to wait in lines to watch footage of jews waiting in drastically different kinds of lines as I pass guided tours in hebrew, english, german, spanish by teen-aged guides to thousands of visitors. how can memory be translated? shared? preserved?
the transition from watching ethopian israeli soldiers training at yad vashem to visiting the fallen at har herzl cemetery is so hard to bridge. leadership, sacrifice, and the unity of the Jewish People in the face of national trauma? what would herzl say of israel today? what internal/external nation-building remains?
returning from extra-ordinary home hospitality in tekoa. troubled beyond words, trying to reconcile human warmth and the (unfathomable yet "understandable") readiness to dehumanize another type of person, based on years of violence and psychological trauma. but isn't that the case on every side?
II. Two Years Ago
Felt the heartbeat of the stones. Delivered notes from my students. Promised I'd be back soon.
Regarding the necessity to respond militarily to Hamas' relentless attacks on Israeli civilians: The need for such horrible things is the deepest tragedy. If Hamas weren't sending a barrage of missiles into every part of Israel, there would be no "knocking on anyone's roofs" in advance of returning fire (an incredibly humane act by the IDF in the context of terrorism, which never warns in advance). Reality is never simple, but it is sometimes horrifying clear.
A Prayer for Right Now: Dear God, Source of Life, May every human being on earth live without fear. May my family be safe tonight. May both prayers, O God, be fulfilled in the same moment, a moment that lasts for all eternity. Amen.
Clinging to hope, crying and trying not to lose my grip from the wetness of all our tears. May we see glimmers of hope here, there, and beyond any borders, soon and in our days. Amen.
I pray to the Oneness that Binds Creation to itself, and name that Oneness "God." There are infinite names for that Force that leads the world through Love. Sharing the Name for that Oneness is a delight, and no claim borne of Love lessens my experience of the One whose Name is Love.
III. One Year Ago
With Women of the Wall: Haredim yelling curses at us at the start of the month when we mourn the destruction of the temple - for gratuitous hatred. Irony? We don't need internal enemies, we'll just self destruct as a people.
More #AIPAC #RabbisInIsrael experiences than I can name in these scant pre-Shabbes moments. Two images demonstrate the diverse and passionate ideas and people we are meeting. In the last 2 hours we met with Dani Dayan, immediate past chair of the YESHA Council and Yariv Oppenheimer, General Director of Peace Now. Dizzying, and demanding demonstrations of the dignity of difference. #MyZionism
Flying home from home, feeling the weight of history, the despair of history, the power of history. Reeling from testimony from inspiring Jewish and Arab thought leaders, exhausted by non-stop learning, grateful for a stunning Shabbat in Jerusalem. Hearing the wisdom of rabbis and Israeli LGBTQ leaders, Palestinian visionary builders, respectful Knesset opponents, civil rights activists...
Just heard that hours after I took leave from my colleagues, a terrorist was stopped in Jerusalem before being able to murder with a bomb. On the same block they shared a falafel and delightful Saturday night together.
Just days ago, I promised the Western Wall stone I've now visited 28 times, a stone whose devotees include those who don't call me rabbi, that I'm coming home again soon.
Heart in the East, body heading West, committed to hope, committed to my Home.
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