When my grandfather passed away I remember my grandmother, a survivor from Hungary, preceded to secure her home. Her living room windows were suddenly transformed into cages. There were thick black bars on every window. Her front door had both combination locks, chain links and heavy bolts. I understood but it was sad to see.
Last week there was a protest here in Raanana, my new home, in front of the city council. Parents stood outside demanding security guards for every gan. Today as I drop off my son I see a man standing outside the kindergarten texting on his phone barely acknowledging my presence. Right across the street is another busy construction sight. I don’t have to spell out what that entails. The parents walk by the guard feeling a bit safer. Yet again, I get it but it’s sad to see.
Building higher walls and better cages might quiet our minds but it does so little in reality. A scared elderly widow is not exactly the image of he proud Jewish people. When did this happen? Perhaps thousands of years of galut will do it. Perhaps being murdered and mocked in every country we land will make us lower our heads and hire more guards to watch over our shuls and schools. That might work in Switzerland and France but not here.
We would advise our children to be careful and watch their backs late at night in a deserted park. What about their living rooms? Deep inside in their actual homes? Do the same rules apply? We aren’t guests in some hostile country anymore. We are home. We need not be afraid anymore.
I hope we can adapt to where we are in history. The Jews of Nazi Europe and Stalinist Russia and persecuted Spain have come Home. Let’s act like it.