He asked my sister if she had work for him.
He stood before her a starving man who hadn’t eaten for days.
And without work and without money he couldn’t go home empty handed.
So he wandered.
Looking for work and for food and for money.
So she gave him money. It wasn’t much, whatever she had in her wallet that the kids hadn’t already snatched on their way to school in the morning.
And then he started to cry. He blessed her and kissed her hand and her head all the while praising Allah his god.
What was born at that moment in that exact spot in a small neighborhood of Jerusalem emanates loudly in my heart and in my mind.
For there is much good that exists between those of us who semi-co-exist together in Jerusalem. There are the fighters, and the pacifists, the business people and the children and the elderly, the secular and the religious, the newly arrived and even those who are a long-time standing.
And I keep trying so hard not to go backwards and fall into the way things were, even in my mind. Because I truly believe that time is a healer and incitement a destroyer.
And as I sat there on my drive home from work, my mind overwhelmed with thoughts of the terror of the last few days and the kindness of my sister that morning. I became distracted by the scene playing out on the street in front of me. There stood a Jew and an Arab completing a business transaction, talking animatedly and when it was all over, shaking hands excitedly.
I was mesmerized by their very interaction and enthusiasm until the honking startled me back into reality, not noticing that the light had turned green in front of me.
And yes, I have heard a million times how one of them will kill the other if given the chance. And I know that someone somewhere is always telling a story about that guy who ripped them off on the purchase of their new car stereo or didn’t pay them their salary when the work week ended.
Believe me. I know.
We are filled with fear, and hatred and we judge many for one and we judge one for many. Because the power of one and of many are so so great.
But we continue to integrate and to reassess that which we were taught to think and feel growing up: Anger, fear, hatred, doubt and entitlement.
Wasn’t it just last week that I sat in the car wash, in the small Arab village just outside my Yishuv, my usual Friday morning activity while chatting on my cell, drinking Turkish coffee with the owner and driving the guys who clean crazy if they didn’t vacuum every little corner of my car? And now I am wondering if I am making a mistake going there.
Am I too trusting? Too believing? And at what price? If I am right no one will reward me. And if I am wrong, God forbid, then the hatred lives on.
So what little good there is for us to do, we do. Which doesn’t say much as we all hide out, locked away and scared in our homes. And we pray, and we build and we rebuild once again.
For ourselves. For our children. For our sanity. For our country.
Those of you who are healing, and caring and educating and supporting are helping to build what many are trying to destroy.
Don’t give up. I beg of you.
Because a starving man needs food and a starving nation needs peace.