Despite the fear that often pervades through much of our society, the Jewish people have always been a people of hope. How could we not be when it was easier to slip quietly under the world’s rising tide of darkness than to tread water relentlessly hoping and praying for safe shores?

As a people, we have always chosen to cling to the hope in our lives, rather than the fear that surrounds it.

We continue to live in our ancient land out of hope for the world to come, and not the fear of the world that is.  We build homes, because our focus is always on tomorrow, while not forgetting yesterday.  We develop the land, not only for us, but for those that will come after us.  We dream, because dreams are the true energy source that give meaning to our hopes.  Without dreams, we are spinning aimlessly, and without hope, we have only fear.

Outside of Israel, we hope for a safe environment to raise our kids and celebrate our culture, but we fear the anti-Semitism that is rising on levels not seen since before World War 2.

And when Israel decides its government in March next year, we hope that whoever lands up in power will lead us to safety, security and prosperity, but we fear that it will make no real difference.

We hope that our Palestinian neighbours will give up their bloodlust and truly negotiate for a better future for both them and us, but we fear that this will not happen and they’ll continue in the path of damnation they have chosen for themselves.

We hope that a world that has turned its back on us so many times in the past, will finally realise the folly of their ways and work with us rather than against, but we fear they’ll continue to be influenced by the false prophets of those who want to hurt us.

We hope that the Jewish mission of healing the world will come true, and the sounds of suffering will be replaced with laughter.  We hope that the tears of sadness will be replaced with tears of joy.  We hope the nightmares of children who have aged before their time will be replaced with the dreams of children who are forever young.  We hope that the rhythmic creaking of swings going back and forth, or the hypnotic squeaking of see-saws going up and down, will always be louder than the marching chants of hatred and the constant screams of rage.

We hope always for a world filled with happiness and peace, yet we fear constantly a world filled with animosity and violence.

But despite the palatable fear in the air, hope will always remain a stronger force.  And so we will continue to tread the water desperately – always looking to grab that last gasp of air, refusing to let the darkness pull us under.

For almost 4000 years Jews have walked the earth in one form or another, holding on to customs deemed archaic, clinging to covenants deemed invalid, clutching to beliefs deemed insignificant.

And the thing that has sustained us through our darkest times has always been hope, for despite all the fear that constantly surrounds us, we have always and will always be a people of hope.