A letter to José Andrés

Dear Chef José Andrés,

I write to extend my deepest condolences to you and your team and the entire World Central Kitchen (WCK) family on the devastating loss of your workers in Gaza. I write not in any official capacity, but as an individual — a proud Israeli and Jew, raising a family of five in Jerusalem together with my wife. We have a son currently in the army and a daughter in the reserves. I harbor tremendous anger and criticism toward my government, yet I also believe that we are engaged in a just war that was forced upon us with terrible cruelty and that our military is courageous and deeply moral.

This asymmetric war is unlike anything the world has ever seen, in a dense urban environment against an enemy entrenched and holding hostages underground, fighting in civilian clothing, and deliberately attacking our forces, while hiding behind women and children. And yet, the fact that this war is necessary and just in no way makes the human suffering of Palestinian civilians any less painful.

The work of WCK (in both Gaza and on behalf of displaced families inside Israel) has been a source of hope and a testament to human kindness during a time of such darkness for the region. The news of the attack on your workers filled me with shock, horror, and heartbreak, and I know I am not alone. My family and friends have been terribly saddened by the loss of your selfless workers, and we are committed to ensuring that their sacrifice will not be forgotten. I pray that this tragedy will not weaken your resolve to continue your tremendous work in helping feed those in need, particularly in Gaza and other war zones around the world.

I understand that you founded WCK in the aftermath of the awful earthquake in Haiti in 2010. I vividly remember this event since my brother, a medical officer in the IDF reserves, helped set up a fully operational field hospital on-site, 6,000 miles away from Israel, less than four days after the quake struck. This is emblematic of a wonderful aspect of my country and its military, imperfect though we may be.

In Jewish tradition, prior to asking forgiveness from God, an individual must first recognize their sin and apologize directly to the person they have hurt. The person harmed, however, has no obligation to immediately accept such an apology. In recognizing WCK’s pain and loss, we harbor no illusions or expectations that our nation’s apology will be accepted in the immediate aftermath of this tragedy, though we do hope there may be a path to attain forgiveness in the future. Until then, alongside your terrible grief, please continue your critically important work in our part of the world. We need you and your organization’s help.

Yours sincerely,

Glen Schwaber

About the Author
Glen Schwaber is a veteran technology investor and founding partner of MoreVC, an early stage venture capital firm in Israel. He is passionate about eliminating barriers to upward social and economic mobility for all segments of Israeli society and is actively involved in several social ventures and non-profits in this domain. Glen grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts, moved to Israel in 1994, and lives with his wife and five children in Jerusalem.
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