I am a mother of four young children. They have all been born in the last ten years. I can honestly say, I usually look to avoid a fast due to nursing, pregnancy or the exhaustion of young motherhood. This year my youngest will turn three and as of now, I will be fasting every fast this year. So why would I want to add another? My motherhood demands it.
I want to fast this year on the 9th of Adar, because constructive conflict resolution is something I truly pray for, cry over and yearn for. I made aliyah to be a part of the greatest blessing of our time. I committed to raise my children here, so that they will play a unique role in the building of our jewish future. Every part of who they are will be tied to this land, this culture, and our people. Every person here, no matter what their religious or political affiliation is a part of them.
I want peace within these amazing diverse people to be a part of them. I want our house to be a bastion for different Jewish ideas and feelings. I want them to be empowered to live a rich Jewish life, that they feel passionate about and committed to. I want them to love every Jew equally. I desperately pray that we can achieve this dream. I cry because it is so hard. It is difficult to for me to make time to listen to their views, when I just want them to listen to mine. It is difficult to relate to someone who receives the protection of our army and yet refuses to serve. It is difficult to connect to someone who would remove me from my home.
I will fast, I encourage you to fast, and I will educate my children about this day the 9th of Adar. I am no longer willing to simply cry and pray and yearn for what I want. I know that I must internalize this intention and commit to the actions, I can do to build the relationship among the jewish people, that I desire.
I made aliyah eight years ago and it was the best thing I could have done for my children. Constructive conflict resolution is the missing piece to lasting internal peace. Conflict is normal, natural and expected. How we choose to confront it and resolve it, is what will determine the culture my children will absorb here. I will fast this year, I will abstain from food and water, so that I feel and connect to the pain and loss of peace within our people.
This mother has avoided every fast possible for the last ten years, and yet it is my motherhood, my maternal instinct that moves to make this fast meaningful.
This post is part of the 9 Adar project, an initiative of the Pardes Center for Judaism and Conflict Resolution, part of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies.