Carol Green Ungar

How Can I Study with Someone Who Wants Me Dead?

Writing is a lonely game. It’s hours alone at the keyboard and inside of your own head. True, those hours can be rich and even joyful, but when they are not, a writer needs community.–other writers to cheer him on.

I don’t know many (or any) writers in my everyday life, but since the advent of the internet (yes, I’m that old), I’ve found my writer’s community online. When my writing life hits a dead end, I reach out to other writers who get me through. Today, I’m in that dead-end place. My inbox is full of rejections.  New ideas are failing to take root in my brain.  I could use a rescue.

In the pre-Oct 7th world, I’d have many writers who could pull me out of the doldrums. These days however, if you are a Jewish and pro-Israel writer thewriting world has become a hostile place.. Here’s just a small example.

This morning, I stumbled on an online workshop called Just Write the Thing,” One session, affordable, more or less, and miraculously, the timing midday instead of midevening meant I could attend live without forfeiting a night’s sleep and what a topic–Tailor-made for me. But just as I was about to punch in my credit card number, a little voice whispered inside my head.

Who is the workshop leader? What are her/ their feelings about Israel/Palestine?

I googled up the instructor, and lo and behold, discovered a picture of barbed wire with the caption “Palestine will be liberated soon.’  Oy vey.

That ended it for me. There was no way I’d give even a  dime to someone who wants my people annihilated. As is often the case, the teacher’s position is loony tunes–they self-identify as queer, Yet another chicken for KFC, But that’s their problem.

Yet I know that  Ethics of the Fathers teaches us that wisdom means learning from everyone who comes into your path, but this teacher is a latter-day nazi.

Sadly, the teacher’s views are reinforced by the mainstream media. Look at the canard about IDF cemetery desecration– just today, the IDF released footage showing that Hamas hid weapons in cemeteries! What about our hostages –none of the pro-Hamas folks have anything to say about them!

Why can’t the writing teacher see this? Why can’t so many public and private intellectuals, especially the ones I used to idolize, like Anne Lamott? Anne Lamott, the white woman with dreadlocks whose writing so brilliantly wedded spirituality and humor, is pro-Palestine,

. Oy.

As we always have but weren’t always conscious of, the Jewish people dwell alone.  In my little world, that means trudging through my inchoate mess of a manuscript without the benefit of the workshop that sounded so promising.

There is comfort, though.

, Jew is never really alone.  No matter what happens online or in real-time, you can always lean into the only trustworthy source of wisdom, solace, and comfort–Hashem.

About the Author
Carol Ungar is a prize-winning author who writes from the Judean Hills.