Amos Oz said that moving through each day and into the future is like driving with our windshields blacked out, with only our rearview mirrors to navigate.
And through our rearview mirrors, odds are 5776 is going to be a tough a year for the Jewish people.
Odds are, the rift between us in Israel and us in the diaspora will widen over the Iran deal, over a 48 year occupation and our refusal to define borders or extend full citizenship and equality under the law to everyone, over the years that mean tiny differences that become seemingly insurmountable in the way we see the world.
Odds are, our Prime Minister will continue to pull us farther and farther from a place of understanding with our cousins, that we will continue to choose fear instead hope. (Odds are we won’t think that’s ironic as we stand to sing our national anthem CALLED The Hope.)
Odds are that Iran will try to build a bomb.
Odds are, there will be more olive trees uprooted more mosques and churches burned.
Odds are, there will be shootings and stabbings throughout the region — especially in our City of Peace.
Odds are there will be too many funerals here.
Odds are, there will be more rockets from Hamas, from Hezbollah, from God knows WHO else hates us enough to try kill our children.
Odds are, there will be another war, and we will be forced to reckon with the devastation we cause to THEIR children, too.
Odds are a synagogue or several will be attacked in Europe, or in India, or in the United States or Canada.
Odds are a cafe in a Jewish neighbourhood in France or Australia will be besieged by terrorists.
Odds are that our ageing Holocaust survivors will suffer in poverty and cold during the dark days of winter.
Odds are, young Jewish people throughout the world will #Facepalm when Israel is mentioned, instead of fist-pumping, and saying “hell yeah, we love this country enough to hug AND wrestle with it.
(Odds are, you’re going to hate what I’m writing here.)
But I don’t play the odds. F*CK the odds .
When my mother got sick, the odds were she would be fine.
In fact, her oncologist would tell her, “play the odds. They’re good.”
Odds were that she would dance at my wedding some day, that she would make snacks for her grandchildren, that she and my father would come visit me in Israel several times a year, and she would walk those ancient roads she loved once at 27 when she came to visit for the first and only time.
Odds were that she would beat cancer. She didn’t.
Odds were that when my marriage crumbled here in Israel, I would run home to Los Angeles. I didn’t.
Odds were that my kids would suffer tremendous consequences for those long, hard days in just a few short years. They haven’t.
In fact, they’ve grown. They’ve thrived.
Odds were that when they destroyed our Temple a second time, that Judaism would cease to exist. It didn’t.
It grew. It thrived.
Odds were that Israel shouldn’t exist anyway. But we do.
Odds are that those of us living here in Israel would be bitter, cynical — and yes, sometimes we are, but underneath is a vibrant optimism that drives us to go out into the world and fix things, build things, have babies — and such beautifuL babies…
Odds are that after so much hardship we would lose of humour — but, GOD, we haven’t. We laugh with all our teeth showing. And we love even harder, too.
Odds are it’s going to be a tough year for the Jewish people. But I don’t play the odds. Instead, I’ll close my eyes and just have faith that we will find our way in the dark with compassion, humor, and a long-entrenched desire to lead the way to the right side of history, against all odds.