Tuvia Book
Author, educator, Tour-Guide, artist

In the Kibbutz of the Slaughter

KIbbutz Beeri, November 2023, Photo (c) T. Book, 2023
KIbbutz Beeri, November 2023, Photo (c) T. Book, 2023

Yesterday, I visited the ruins of Kibbutz Be’eri with soldiers in my IDF unit.  As I saw the scenes of barbaric devastation, I recalled the poem “In the City of Slaughter” written by Bialik 120 years ago.

KIbbutz Beeri, November 1, 2023. Photo (c) T. Book, 2023

Below is an extract from the poem written after Bilaik witnessed the scenes of the pogrom in Kishinev, Ukraine.  “Only” 49 Jews were killed, as opposed to the 1,400 Jews slain, raped, burned, decapitated, tortured and brutalized on the dark day of October 7.

 Arise, go forth to the city of the slaughter, and come to the courtyards,
And with your own eyes you will see, and with your hand you will feel on the fences, on the trees, on the stones, and on the plaster on the walls the congealed blood, and the hardened brains of the corpses.
Come from here to the ruins, and pass over the breaches,
pass by the broken walls and smashed ovens;
In the place where the destroyer’s shattering deepened, widened, and enlarged the holes.For God called forth the spring and the slaughterer together:  The sun shone, the Acacia blossomed, and the slaughterer slaughtered.

The sentiments are the same.  The sense of disbelief at the evil of mankind, the slaughter of innocents, the evil hatred of the enemy, the apathy (and sometimes support and bitter anti-semitism) of the world.  The major difference is that today we Jews are not weak and defenceless anymore.  We are strong.  We have a strong nation, people, and a powerful and just Israel Defense Forces.  We will win this war against evil together.  At this juncture in our history, 120 years after Bialik penned his immortal words, we are no longer helpless and  “never again” really means NEVER AGAIN.  Am Yisrael Chai!

The New Jews. Soldiers in my IDF unit, November 1, 2023. Photo (c) Tuvia Book, 2023
About the Author
Dr. Tuvia Book was born in London and raised in both the UK and South Africa. After making Aliya at the age of 17 and studying in Yeshiva he volunteered for the IDF, where he served in an elite combat unit. Upon his discharge he completed his BA at Bar-Ilan University, as well as certification in graphic design. He then served as the Information Officer at the Israeli Consulate of Philadelphia, while earning a graduate degree in Jewish Studies. Upon his return to Israel, Dr. Book graduated from a course of study with the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, and is a licensed tour guide. Tuvia has been working in the field of Jewish Education, both formal and informal, for many years. He has guided and taught Jewish students and educators from around the English-speaking world for some of Israel’s premier educational institutions and programs. Tuvia has been guiding groups for Birthright Israel since its inception and, in addition, has lectured throughout North America, Australia, Europe and South Africa. Tuvia served as a Shaliach (emissary) for the Jewish Agency for Israel as the Director of Israel and Zionist Education at the Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York (Jewish Education Project). He was a lecturer/educational guide at the Alexander Muss Institute for Israel Education (AMIIE) in Israel for a decade. Tuvia has lectured at both Bar Ilan University and Hebrew University. He was a Senior Editor and Teaching Fellow at the Tikvah Fund. He is a research associate at the Hudson Institute. Tuvia is the author and illustrator the internationally acclaimed Israel education curriculum; "For the Sake of Zion; A Curriculum of Israel Studies" (Fifth edition, Koren 2017), and "Moral Dilemmas of the Modern Israeli Soldier" (Rama, 2011) and has a doctorate in Israel Education. His latest book, "Jewish Journeys, The Second Temple Period to the Bar Kokhba Revolt – 536 BCE-136 CE," was published by Koren this year. To order:
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