Alan Potash
Striving for balance as a Jewish American and a Zionist

Israel from the outside, part 2

The Seders are over and now we count the Omer. If one follows the pathway of counting the Omer there are many teachings to use. Many years ago I received a gift from my chavruta, (Cathy my study partner) the Spiritual Guide to Counting the Omer. I have used this most years to strengthen my spiritual path during and after Pesach.

Today, the teaching is Chesed, “lovingkindness in lovingkindness”. For the past 201, days we are reminded of the 133 individuals being held captive in Gaza. On day 96, the mother of Hersh Goldberg-Polin asked people to place a reminder in the form of a piece of tape with the number of days in captivity, (I added the number of hostages on mine) on their hearts. She asked for others to help to carry the pain, the consciousness of her love and the love of all the individuals who are not with their families.

As I count the Omer, I am drawn to the unique and unprecedented parallel with the counting of the days since Oct. 7th. One strength of the Jewish people is our ability to understand and externalize the value what collective responsibility means.

When six months past and they are still not home; I think about the transformation of what lovingkindness looks like. A few weeks ago, I was at “hostage square,” for a rally in support of the families of those still in captivity. The thousands of people there to show their support and love was powerful and meaningful.

And today when Hamas released a propaganda video of Hersh Goldberg-Polin, I felt an immediate sense of relief for his parents and a sense of….. for his parents. To not know if he was even alive to all of a sudden see a video of him had to be relief maybe joy (I don’t know) but all of those emotions turn to “let’s get them all home NOW!”

About the Author
For over 25 years I have been embedded in American Jewish life. As a professional working for Hillel, ADL and Federation I continuously advocate for and write about how to make a stronger connection to Israel and the Jewish world. Helping people map out their Jewish Journey.
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