A few days ago, I went to an event at Cooper Union, which addressed the never-ending problem of genocide, and the Jews. The panel featured, among others, Elie Wiesel, who survived the atrocities of the Holocaust and who has long-since emerged as one of the most vigilant fighters for the rights of all humanity. While both inspirational and thought-provoking, the panel was ultimately unable to answer that eternal question: why in every generation does there rise an intense hatred against the Jews? Why have we historically been persecuted more than any other nation? Why do our enemies seek not only to belittle us but also to completely exterminate us from the face of this earth?
That night, Professor Wiesel said that man has always had the power of words; that words can build castles or tombstones; hope or despair—the choice is in our hands. But how can you speak to a people whose only language is violence? To what purpose are words of reason or peace when our enemies speak only through guns, butcher knives, and innocent blood? The night of the event, I asked, what can we do about this hatred? We may never truly understand the source of this ancient animosity, but how can we deal with it in the here and now?
The next morning, I woke up to the most devastating news; to find that our most righteous people are once again being slaughtered for no reason but their religion. The next morning, someone painfully, heartbreakingly, trying to make sense of the tragedy, asked of me the very same question I asked the previous night: so what do we do now?
I answered him the best I could. What can we do now, but band together and support our own people; however each of us is able. Let us give money to Israel and the IDF; let communities all over the world cry together as one; let us continue to petition and fight for pro-Israel legislation in government. Let us comfort the families of the slain and let us comfort our own children who see our pain and our tears but cannot understand this kind of hatred. Let Jews embrace Jews regardless of religious affiliation and personal practice. Our words and actions will not change our enemy’s mind; but let us find strength in each other. Let us continue to demonstrate unity, empathy, and compassion, until the most Merciful One has no choice but to release His compassion upon us. Let our words reach Him, so that He may finally respond.