No matter where we are… who we are… as Jews, we are members of K’lal Yisrael. There exists within each of us a spark, deep within our being, of the unique sense of identity as a Jew. This is true even for those who wish to deny it. This is a powerful force I champion – as someone who became Jewish by choice, an an observer and as a participant in the rich fabric of life. I have many interesting, entertaining stories I want to tell in my TOI blog..
Fifty years ago, I converted to Judaism under the auspices of Orthodox Jewish ritual at a mikvah. I keep the letter of certification written by the rabbi who performed the ceremony in safe keeping to produce when needed. Since then I have had the privilege to interact as a member of the Jewish community within a variety of religious, family and social settings.
The importance of an imperceptible bond we share as Jews has strengthened over the years and I believe it is one vital force that has guided and maintained our people over the centuries. Now I don’t live in a part of town where one can assume everyone is Jewish, and I take part in many social and cultural secular groups in the public domain. I’ve experienced many instances in daily life where it became known that that two or more of us have a Jewish background, appreciation of special bond would be expressed verbally or via body language indicated an element of recognition.
The key word I wish to highlight here is RECOGNITION. Being Jewish involves the recognition of the jagged path Jewish life has taken throughout the centuries. Events occurring in other parts of the world can cause actors elsewhere to lash out against Jews. On center stage now are the issues and events surrounding the conflict taking place in Israel. Diaspora Jews have been targeted as can be seen from news articles here on TOI and the world press.
The determination, skills, hopes and spirit of the Jewish people as a whole will allow us to survive and prosper. Since the establishment of the modern state of Israel, attacks by hostile forces were were defeated to their surprise by the Israeli military. To this day their enemies fail to understand the extent to which Israeli combatants possesses a sense of purpose, human values and a determination to survive. The ethos of the Israeli people has spurred on the development of an advanced and sophisticated technical sectors ranking high among the nations.
Israel now faces a military and a diplomatic crisis as a result of its reactions to terrorist atrocities. Not only is Israel in the midst of a very difficult military battle, it also is the subject of a campaign to depict Israeli as an oppressor on the world stage. Moreover, repercussions from Israel’s crisis are affecting Jews in the Diaspora physically, politically and emotionally. Now is the time for Jews everywhere – Israel and the Diaspora – the religious and the secular, – those on the right, left and the center of the political divide – to come to act as one. There is danger in maintaining attitudes leading to discord and separation any longer. We ALL count!