A Community of Chesed

Chesed is my favorite word in the Hebrew language. It means kindness or love between people and/ or loving kindness.

In the new year, as a community, we need more Chesed.

Due to cultural diasporas, the rise of different sectors of Judaism, and the rise of antisemitism; we have never been so distant yet so close at the same time.

There are divisions between Mizrachim and Ashkenazim, or reform and modern orthodox and now divisions within those communities of liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican.

However, antisemitism or rockets that are shot into Israel don’t notice these differences, they see us as one Jewish community.

And for the most part we are, if we look back into history we descend from the same place, we all read from the same text and learn the same language for our bar/ bat mitzvahs and we even sing similar tunes on Shabbat and the holidays.

Fundamentally we are all united, yet we still lack a sense of unity.

At most synagogues, we recite the prayer: Sim Shalom which translates to grant peace.

שִׂים שָׁלוֹם טוֹבָה וּבְרָכָה חֵן וָחֶֽסֶד וְרַחֲמִים עָלֵֽינוּ וְעַל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל עַמֶּֽךָ׃ בָּרְכֵֽנוּ, אָבִֽינוּ, כֻּלָּֽנוּ כְּאֶחָד בְּאוֹר פָּנֶֽיך

This translates to:

Grant peace everywhere goodness and blessing, Grace, loving kindness and mercy to us and unto all Israel, Your people. Bless us, our Father, all of us as one with the light of Your face;

When we pray, we pray for us all. We are all G-d’s children and we all believe in the Jewish values of chesed and Tikkun Olam.

This year, let’s grant peace, goodness and loving kindness to unify our community, instead of letting antisemitism knock us down, let’s come together stronger and as one unified Jewish family spreading light and chesed.

About the Author
Chloe Levian is a Jewish student leader at UCLA. She is the President of Bruins for Israel, the Campus Communications Coordinator for BIPAC, and on the Y&S Nazarian Israel Center Student Advisory Council. She is also the StandWithUs Alumni Network Liaison, a Hasbara Fellow, a Ronald S. Lauder Fellow, and a proud member of Iranian American Jews for Racial Justice. Chloe is passionate about Israel advocacy, combating antisemitism, and social justice.