From the desk of Rabbi David Lyon
The situation in Israel is critical, again. The media isn’t our only eye-witness account. Our friends and family in Israel are reporting exactly what’s happening in their own words and with personal pictures. We also learned about events on the ground in a scheduled Beth Israel Zoom program live from Jerusalem, with Herb Keinon, a reporter with the Jerusalem Post. Like others, he cited the “perfect storm” and political opportunism that conflated events and ignited the conflict. Keinon taught us an Israeli expression, “תהיה חכם לא צודק” (tiheyeh chacham, lo tzodek), which we understand to me that sometimes it’s better to be wise than correct.
In the midst of this conflict, where justice and peace will not arrive simultaneously, it’s vital that Israel and her allies exercise wisdom, a scarce commodity among warring factions. Wisdom might lead to a cease-fire as respective Jewish and Arab observances and holy days end, and the smoke clears. Then new understandings might be reached.
Rabbi Joshua Weinberg, V.P. for Israel and Reform Zionism for the Union for Reform Judaism, writes, “As Reform Jews, we stand strongly together with our brothers and sisters in Israel. At last report, Hamas’ rocket barrage has killed six Israeli civilians and hundreds of thousands more are confined to bomb shelters. Innocent civilians in Gaza have fallen victim to this latest round of violence, as well. The rapid escalation of violence within Israel’s own borders between Jewish and Palestinian citizens is a new, and deeply troubling, development. We pray that calm will be restored soon.”
To understand the situation for yourselves and others, please click these links. The first link is an article by Rabbi Weinberg that was published this week. To subscribe to his weekly newsletter, follow the link, ARZA Weekly newsletter. The second link is a letter from our friend, Benjy Maor, at Leo Baeck Educational Center in Haifa. He writes to his school community of Israelis and Arabs. Both links are without hyperbole or bias; they are honest, personal, and hopeful.
We are all Israel. We pray for the Land and its people. We pray for the Jewish people everywhere. Let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem.