We must reach out to each other first
These days are confusing. The nights seem to be a touch darker. The days seem to be longer.
It is difficult to know what the future holds for the world, for the Jewish People and for Israel. A certain crack has appeared in our world, one that divides and allows for the pollution of our primary water source – goodness. We cannot know if the civility we have learned over the last seven decades will hold or if our empathy will reign supreme as the days ahead reveals themselves.
But we do know that our people, the Jewish People, is a special mass, and within our control, is the ability to show love for every Jew. We do know it is time for Jews everywhere to embrace all our brothers and sisters. We know in our nishamot (souls) that we must put aside our differences, such as our refusal to talk to a relative or a shul member we have not spoken to because of some small and insignificant insult or difference. This is work, but worthwhile because it will empower the Jewish People to do our primary task – repairing the world and ensuring our children are safe.
The days ahead are foggy. The recent surge of anti-semitism, swastikas on our religious edifices, is causing a thorny discomfort. No doubt many of us wonder what will happen this time, as angry terrorists and supremacists of all types raise their ugly hands, showing their disdain for everyone not them.
It is precisely during these hours however, that the Children of Israel, every man, woman and often our children, must extend their hands to the Jews who look different than they do, whether they have donned a shtreiml, or the silky kippah they pick out of a box at the entrance to our temples.
These days, the love of every Jew must be our priority, as the task ahead requires oneness.
What are we, the Jewish People, to expect in the months ahead, as immigrants and refugees are castigated, just as we were, and millions are accused of bringing terror to our lives. Do we forget our grandmothers and our grandfathers docked at Canadian harbours, penniless, exhausted with memories of marauding thugs beating any Jew they could find? Do we forget those turned back to die in death camps? Does our memory fail us when poor souls from other lands are called vermin and leeches? That is what they called us.
Or do we instead recall the words of Emma Lazarus inscribed on the Statue of Liberty meant to inspire future generations to act when evil tries to outsprint goodness in a race to reshape our world, our Earth, all peoples?
Do we take Emma’s words to heart: “Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand a mighty woman with a torch, whose flame is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand glows worldwide welcome... Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
These are confusing times, but we are a wise people with a mighty homeland – Israel. Let us do what is ours to do – and that is to open our hearts to our own people. Let us then, cautiously and with thought, nurture the world, which is ours to steward as long as we breathe the cherished gift of life God has given us.
Am Yisrael Chai. God bless our world.
These days, the love of every Jew must be our priority