Gil Mildar
As the song says, a Latin American with no money in his pocket.

Like a mezuzah case without its scroll

In the quiet of an ordinary morning, a call from my girlfriend set off a cascade of revelations. She had sourced scrolls for the mezuzah cases that graced my home’s doorway. My house is a blend of my Latin Israeli heritage and atheistic beliefs, where tradition finds its place despite my lack of faith. Her words resonated deeply: “Mezuzah cases without the scrolls are empty.” This sparked a profound realization.
I saw, in stark clarity, the resemblance between these empty mezuzah cases and figures like Benjamin Netanyahu, Smotrich, and Ben Gvir. Their leadership, much like a mezuzah case without its scroll, lacks substance. They are void of the spiritual and moral essence vital for trustworthy guidance. My home, echoing with Jewish customs yet guided by secular thought, became a lens through which I viewed their hollow presence.
This insight urged me to shed light on this truth throughout Israel. These men are like unfulfilled symbols, carrying the form but missing the essence of leadership. In the realm of my own identity – a Latin Israeli atheist cherishing traditions – I saw the parallel. A nation, too, can lose its core, becoming an emblem void of values, just as a mezuzah case loses purpose without its scroll.
In them, I recognized the peril of superficiality over depth, of facades masking emptiness. This mirrored the secular but respectful way I engage with my Jewish heritage – forms sustained yet distinct from religious belief.
The conversation with my girlfriend became a call to action. It reminded me to look beyond appearances, to seek the truth beneath. Leaders, like mezuzah cases, are defined by their inner content, not just their external form.
This moment of clarity in my culturally rich yet secular home has brought forth a broader truth. It highlighted the need for integrity and purpose in leadership, echoing the values I uphold where tradition and modernity coexist.
Thus, Netanyahu, Smotrich, and Ben Gvir emerged as stark symbols of what leadership must not become. They exemplify the risk of losing moral grounding, of letting symbolism devoid of ethics guide a nation. Their example contrasts how I navigate my heritage – respectful of its cultural significance yet detached from its religious underpinnings.
In the end, this was more than a political critique. It became a personal statement on understanding and perception, rooted in my unique stance as a secular Jew with Latin-Israeli roots. It was a recognition that leadership, stripped of ethical substance, is as hollow as a mezuzah case without its scroll, a reflection of my journey where tradition is honored in a non-religious light.
As I hung up the phone, I felt a renewed sense of purpose. It became imperative to share this understanding, to highlight this truth against the backdrop of my own experiences, reminding all that leadership and symbols must be imbued with integrity and substance to avoid becoming mere empty shells.
About the Author
As a Brazilian, Jewish, and humanist writer, I embody a rich cultural blend that influences my worldview and actions. Six years ago, I made the significant decision to move to Israel, a journey that not only connects me to my ancestral roots but also positions me as an active participant in an ongoing dialogue between the past, present, and future. My Latin American heritage and life in Israel have instilled a deep commitment to diversity, inclusion, and justice. Through my writing, I delve into themes of authoritarianism, memory, and resistance, aiming not just to reflect on history but to actively contribute to the shaping of a more just and equitable future. My work is an invitation for reflection and action, aspiring to advance human dignity above all.
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