It’s just gone past midnight here in Melbourne. Outside, the night is quiet and the skies are dark – and our hearts are even darker.
I’ve spent the last couple of hours processing the loss of Ari Fuld, trying to understand that someone who was blessed with an abundance of energy, a determination unparalleled and a presence that seemed to exist everywhere – can simply be gone.
Around the Jewish world, hearts are breaking right now. Tears are flowing and a great sadness is descending upon us like the early morning mist on a cool winter’s day.
As I put my own kids to bed tonight, I thought of Ari’s kids who woke up this morning with their dad and will go to bed without him. How does our collective Jewish soul, a soul that celebrates life and living and family, ever comprehend that a father can be ripped away from his family in the most devastating and cruel and deliberate of ways?
Looking through my Facebook feed, it’s impossible to ignore the effect that his death is having on all of us. Because if the value of someone is measured, not just by who they are, but by the effect they have on others, then Ari’s value has exceeded far beyond worldly goods. There is utter shock, absolute devastation and an unbearable sadness. One can almost feel our spirits deflating.
I shed a tear for Ari tonight – not just because of who he was, but because of what he represented. He was driven by a passion for his country, a love for his people and an unbreakable belief in his message. Having met him in person and spoken to him both privately and publicly on each other posts, I admired those qualities about him – qualities that are genuine and honourable and filled with a love that comes directly from the heart without pretense or fakery.
He had qualities that represent the very best of us. He was a Jew who came home to his country and fought to defend it both on the fields of battle and in the fields of advocacy. He wasn’t just a warrior of war, but a warrior of knowledge who used that knowledge to educate others, not just for the State of Israel, but the Jewish people as well.
Ari was the activist we all want to be – a man who was more than words, but actions too.
Perhaps his light has gone out today, but the light he held… well… that will burn forever, as long as there is love for our land, passion for our people and a belief in the value of all of us.
There will be a time for anger and there will be a time for mourning and there will be a time for reflection, but right now, the time is for an embrace, for we all need a hug, a collective hug that stretches to every corner of the world and holds our small nation together.
Tightly. Closely. Lovingly.
The land shook with anger and the skies wept with tears and the mountains roared with pain as a nation mourned the loss of their child…
…and the heavens called him home.