Stop it. Just stop. Please. Stop asking me why I haven’t blogged about the murder of Ezra Schwartz. Don’t text me. Or send an email. Don’t come over to me at youth sports events. I grow tired of trying to lie to you. I will tell you that better writers than I have already said all that needs to be said (including a brave 18-year-old friend from Teaneck). I might tell you that I am too sad to write. I might explain that it’s arrogant or presumptuous to speak on behalf of this boy or the Jewish people if you are not in his inner circle. I may well just ignore you.
It’s been going on all weekend. It has to stop. Sometimes there is a truth that just cannot be spoken. Today, I added my voice to the impossibly muted movement decrying the silence by our president, who refuses to speak Ezra’s name. Who refuses to acknowledge his murder. Until, a well-meaning friend pointed out that I haven’t either. And with thousands of readers, I was told, my silence was even more deafening. He stayed at your house! He knew your son!
How could I explain that he IS my son. He simply would not understand.
You see, talk is cheap. Words are cheap. Actions are cheap. Everything is cheap. Except the life of an innocent 18-year-old Jewish boy.
I am so tired. And sick. I just am not sure against whom to direct my anger. And, there’s the sorry truth. It’s us. We don’t know what to do. We cry. We pray. We hijack Facebook with our valueless expressions of moral outrage. We open our wallets. We pay shiva call after shiva call. We established, against impossible odds, a homeland in the desert. We built the most powerful army in the world. But we are still losing. Read the papers. We are in the midst of a slow death march to another world-wide Jewish destruction. Never again? Give me a break. It’s already happening on campuses, in parliaments, and on busy roads all over the world.
A black criminal attacks a police officer in St. Louis and gets himself shot. It sparks a protest movement heard around the world. A protest that is still paying dividends. What are we doing about the piecemeal annihilation of our precious children? Sharing on Facebook a Jewish media report of Ezra’s murder with our predominantly Jewish “friends?” Hey. Here’s an idea. Let’s sign a digital petition to have President Obama mention Ezra’s death in an upcoming press conference. That’ll show the terrorists that Jewish Lives Matter. I have a friend. He has become the self-anointed defender of the Jewish people on social media. He means well. But I swear to God, if I read another post questioning the order of the universe, I will have no choice but to de-friend him.
Meanwhile, a score of my closest friends and I aren’t sleeping tonight. It wasn’t just Ezra who was harmed last week. It was our children who literally stand in his place. Every day. If I bring Benny home, do the terrorists win? Screw the terrorists. I am not going to bury my baby. But will that ruin his new-found sense of responsibility and in the process crush his self-image? Trust me. I know a little bit about this. A fractured ego is as disabling a handicap as any other life impairment. Do I lock him down until June? I cannot keep him safe. That’s the bottom line and it is terrifying.
What’s the answer? I have no idea and nothing to add. Don’t blame me – – you brought this up.
So, I will continue to stay quiet. Cry myself to sleep and pray for the lives of all our children. I will go to Israel next week to see my boy and admire him from up close. It’s not much, I concede. But, it’ll have to do, for now. Until someone comes up with a better idea.
* The title of this blog comes from a touching eulogy given by Ezra’s brother.
Ari Weisbrot’s award-winning, record-breaking blog can be found at www.ariweisbrot.com