Co Authored with David Abramowitz, President of the Jewish Leadership Institute
Let’s get our revenge:
Go to synagogue this Shabbat. You can go Friday night or Saturday morning – just go. I’m not asking or suggesting. I’m telling you to go. Here’s why:
First, when a family member dies, you sit shiva. No one has to ask you. You know it’s your obligation. And these boys are members of your family. Close relatives. How close? If it was you who was hitchhiking, you would be the one kidnapped and killed. You are them and they are you. Can’t get closer than that.
So you go to synagogue to sit shiva, to mourn, with the rest of your family – your fellow Jews.
The second reason to go to synagogue is to do the opposite: to celebrate. I know that sounds odd, so let me explain.
Those of you who recently visited the new Yad Vashem, remember how the museum is constructed? There’s one main hallway, but you can’t walk straight through to the end. You’re blocked and have to go side to side, forcing you to see every detail of Holocaust history. The very first exhibit blocking the hallway is not of cattle cars or camps. It’s a bin of books. Jewish books, with accompanying pictures of Nazis burning them.
The lesson of that first exhibit is clear. Those books represent who we are, our Jewish ideas and values. So the first step in the Holocaust was the lust to destroy Jewish life. The desire to exterminate the Jews was preceded by desire to exterminate Judaism.
The Nazis were not the first to try this and, as the Palestinians who killed Eyal, Gilad and Naftali have shown, not the last. Those Palestinians didn’t simply want to kill a few Jewish boys, they wanted to destroy what the three represented – living Judaism, having Jewish values, and being citizens of a Jewish state.
So you go to synagogue to celebrate the Jewish life that the terrorists want to snuff out.
You go synagogue to say to the killers: Eyal, Gilad and Naftali are not dead. They’re alive in me.