#mensch: WWHD

#mensch: WWHD

Them versus us: The Jewish siege mantra.

I propose another paradigm in regard to the 60,000 refugees who have come to us asking for compassion and justice: They are us.  When organizations like Im Titrtzu take a page from the xenophobe handbook and blame the strangers among us, refugees mostly from Darfur and Eritrea, for the poverty of South Tel Aviv, it is they — the members of Im Tirzu — who threaten Israel’s “Jewish character”.

Im tirtzu, ein zu agada is a prayerful inspiration for us as Jews, and for our obligation to others: “Once I have witnessed the redemption of the Jews, my people, I wish also to assist in the redemption of the Africans.” Theodor Hertzl

But the organization Im Tirzu is turning those words into a hammer with which to quash the prayers and longings of others.

Let’s instead stand up and be the justice-seeking, compassionate, creative and inventive people we are called to be. It’s not “either-us or them” it’s “and”. When we recite Hallel, which is sometimes called the Egyptian Hallel because it relates to our exodus from Egypt, we call out joyfully, From the narrowness (of Egypt) I call to God. From the expanse, God answers me.

Let’s seek the expanse.

About the Author
Rabbi Susan Silverman lives with her family in Jerusalem. She believes that, ideally, Israel should be a mensch among nations. But, at the very least, not be a schmuck.