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Him, in Gaza: Are you OK?

Bridging the chasm, one friendly Facebook interaction at a time

Him, in Gaza: How is the weather ?

Me, in Israel: Pretty but cold – it’ll rain soon. What about there?

Him: The same…..

Me: See? We aren’t that far apart.

Him: We are in the same weather and land… we just need to be united.

Me: Can I quote you on this?

Him: You want someone to kill me?

He’s joking – but not really. How much he risks being friends with me.
And that’s why I’ll never tell you his name, or “like” his pictures or comment on his posts…

But he knows I’m reading him. And I know he’s reading me.

And how special it is that we can have these conversations… during times of quiet, and during rocket and air strikes, too.

Especially then, because we both care enough to message each other to check in.

“Are you OK?”

“For now. Are you?”

And that’s where it starts. Not peace exactly — because “peace” is too broad. My version of peace, and his version of peace, and Bibi’s version, and Haniyeh’s version, and Herzog’s, and Abbas’, and Obama’s, and Cameron’s, and the barista with the dirty laugh’s, and the guy who sells oranges near Damascus Gate’s, and my son’s preschool teacher’s, and my daughter’s best friend’s mother’s sister’s dog’s fveterinarian’s, and the car mechanic in Ramallah’s, and the woman who rides the bus to her start-up’s, and the sheikh at the Mount of Olive’s, and the head rabbi at the Har Nof synagogue’s, and YOUR version of peace, too, is probably so, so, SO different.

Because peace is a vague concept — intangible like rainbows and unicorns, or the flicker of a dream… Peace, so broad, so universal in theory, is really so deeply personal, and doesn’t always involve the other side. And sometimes — let’s be real — for some, “peace” involves the annihilation of the other side.

It’s oh so quiet….  It’s oh so peaceful.

So, no, not peace… but friendship, and mutual respect and conversation over coffee.  From easy questions, like “how’s the weather,” to the more challenging issues of identity and reality. That’s where it starts, in a seed of compassion nurtured by two people who care enough to ask “are you OK?”

About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer, author of Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered and the New Media Editor at Times of Israel, She was raised in Venice Beach, California on Yiddish lullabies and Civil Rights anthems. She now lives in Jerusalem with her 3 kids where she climbs roofs, explores cisterns, opens secret doors and talks to strangers, and writes stories about people. Sarah also speaks before audiences left, right, and center through the Jewish Speakers Bureau, asking them to wrestle with important questions while celebrating their willingness to do so. She also loves whisky and tacos and chocolate chip cookies and old maps and foreign coins and discovering new ideas from different perspectives. Sarah is a work in progress.
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