No parents’ weekend visitation but pepper spray instead.

This past weekend was parents’ visitation at Tufts University, our youngest daughter’s dream college. A great student, with wonderful results in her academics and extracurricular activities she was accepted in the University of her choice.

Along with my husband as pulpit Rabbis in Atlanta Georgia, we blocked the weekend almost two years in advance, did not schedule a Bar/Bat mitzvah or a wedding so we could join her at the Hillel dinner on Friday night in Massachusetts.

After an inspiring gap year on Kivunnim program, her love fest for Israel was revitalized even more and she decided to go back home, to Eretz Israel and Medinat Israel.

She traded her high heels, lace cardigans and silk dresses for kibbutz style clothing and has just received the letter from the IDF which tells all her choices on what’s the best fit to serve this miraculous country.

She made alyiah through one of the most incredible organizations, Nefesh b’Nefesh who embraced her and made her feel at home from the moment she landed. Even the popular musician Idan Reichel waited for these dreamers and welcomed them at Ben Gurion Airport.

Every day the love for the land is renewed in her eyes and we can feel it through phone conversations and video encounters.

Nevertheless, I don’t sleep at night.

It was announced: pepper spray is sold out in Israel, please send us some containers from the United States.

I did not know very much about pepper spray but these past two weeks

I learnt that it’s the newest weapon to protect your life in Israel because the laws and morals of war have lost their boundaries.

No boundaries of war exist when we compete with unbalanced values; when the value of earthly quality of life clashes into a rage of the unknown. Each citizen and visitor of our wounded Eretz Israel is a potential target when those values are corrupted.

However RESILIENCE is our JEWISH NAME. We Jews are masters of looking at challenges from a different lens, from a positive angle when the prospects look gloomy. We can call it idealist distortion or prophetic fantasy but the truth of the matter is that we don’t give up easily.

Dostoevsky said it right ͞The primary cause of the Jewish existence is not the instinct for survival alone but a driving and motivating idea.

Zionism lives and it became the story of the “in spite of”; in spite of the neighboring hostility, in spite of the hundreds of scuds and rockets, in spite of global condemnation, in spite of deafening silence, in spite of BDS, in spite of…

We are very proud of our daughter; I did not miss parents’ visitation weekend at college. She is not living a prophetic fantasy; she is living in the land where miracles become reality, yet, I don’t want to buy any more pepper spray.

As Lord Rabbi Jonathan Sacks expressed it in his commentary on the Torah, Parashat Noach, “Faith is not about certainty, faith is about the courage to live with uncertainty”, I have discovered, I do have a lot of faith.

I would like SUGAR coated faith though, I personally don’t like pepper.


Rabbi Dr Analia Bortz

About the Author
Rabbi Dr. Analia Bortz is a full time Rabbi at Congregation Or Hadash in Sandy Springs, Ga. Bortz is a medical doctor and a bioethicist in the metro Atlanta community. She is board member of JNF, FIDF, former National Council board member of AIPAC and founder member of Hope for Seeds, women struggling with infertility. Rabbi Bortz is a Rabbinic Senior Fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute, class 2007.
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