Nancy Goodman
A maverick Jew living in the Wild West

In the Kalanit fields

Seeing red in the wake of October 7 can spark Jewish survival instincts, shed Jewish insecurity, and reveal the truth about Jewish anti-Zionists
Anemone flowers bloom in the Be'eri Nature Reserve, February 6, 2018. (Luke Tress/Times of Israel)

I don’t know about you, but I had a big emotional moment when I read about the Darom Adom (Scarlet South) in the Times of Israel.

Imagining a sea of floral red across the murdered, violated, and demolished areas of Southern Israel is truly a collection of contrasting sensations — breathtaking and horrific to see.

The earth turns beyond, and indifferent to, human tragedy. There is a natural Jewish connection to the renewal of seasons, and perhaps the pre-dawn of our collective healing process from October 7. But every now and then, the earth throws out something additionally timely, symbolic, and commanding. For some Jewish people right now, perhaps it’s the importance and value of “seeing red.”

There are plenty of Jews who see too much red — are too angry. Too out-of-control. The belligerent Jewish troublemakers in Judea and Samaria, with their rocks and spray paint, don’t help us one bit. Being widely Islamophobic and racist as a Jew doesn’t help us one bit.

But perhaps the bigger problem is that many Jews, especially Jews in power positions, aren’t seeing enough red — aren’t angry enough about what happened to us on October 7. Many Jews aren’t angry enough at how teeny, tiny Israel has been relentlessly attacked, tormented, manipulated, and politically demonized by Arab Muslim countries hundreds of times the size in total. Many Jewish people worldwide are so un-angry they join the protests against Israel, and they demand, not for an immediate release of all hostages, the surrender of Hamas, or the end of modern antisemitism, but for Israel to stand down.

What I see out there is a lot of depressed Jews. Their Jewish identity is depressed, suppressed, flattened, bearing strong negative feelings of cultural shame and insecurity. Depression makes people feel insecure, uncertain, and silenced. Depression infuses every outrageous insult with shame and worthlessness, a fractured identity made whole only by doomed attempts to appease.

Anger slaps depression across the panim (face) and says, “Enough is enough.” Anger about October 7 can snap self-confidence back into place, get survival instincts flowing, shed self-doubt, shame, and insecurity, and bring truth into vivid, singular focus. The truth that Jews are no better or worse than the rest of humanity, and we are worthy of peace and freedom from harm, unconditionally.

The Jewish anti-Zionist movement has been betrayed, wholesale. No efforts of anti-Israel Jews worldwide stopped October 7 from happening. No cross-cultural relationships formed in those BDS, JVP, or UNRWA meetings were reasoned or authentic. Be angry about that.

October 7 brought us more land, covered in Jewish blood and ashes. Another pilgrimage to make, to sites commemorating and remembering our dead. Come during springtime, when the flowers bloom red. Be angry about that.

My constant new hope for the Jewish people is that the deaths, horror, torture and trauma of October 7 did not happen in vain. In the Torah, the only one who gets away with being angry is G-d. But in real life, anger is oftentimes appropriate, important, life-affirming, and a call to different action.

Stroll through that red sea of Anemone coronaria draped over the bodies of our Jewish dead in your mind. And if you haven’t already, see red for a little while. Then see how that changes you next.

About the Author
A Chicagoland native, Nancy is a licensed counselor and writer living in her own private Idaho. There is something about the arid summers and making latkes in the potato state that connects Nancy to her Jewish roots. She believes Jehovah forgives Jews who don't attend services or keep kosher, if they stand for Israel.
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