Sitting here in Beachwood, Ohio, I am absorbing the horrific events in Israel and Gaza in real time. This afternoon, I was on a Jewish Agency sponsored zoom update with Ambassador Michael Oren and 999 other Zionists when his incisive analysis was interrupted by the sound of the sirens, followed by the flashes and explosions of warfare. Safe in my zoom room, I viscerally reacted, recalling the traumas I experienced in Jerusalem and Beit Shean during the Second Intifada, as the massive barrage on Tel Aviv began. And then I felt that pang of being 6,000 miles away from where the real fear, anxiety and peril reside.
Once again, trauma visits the Holy Land and those who love Her. The simple truth is that extremists on both sides have provoked each other into this conflagration. Failure of leadership on both sides, especially the Palestinian side, has created frustration, despair and now violent anger. Innocent people are dying on both sides. How will Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs and Palestinians find a way out of this vicious cycle of anger? After the events of these days, can those who share the Holy Land find a way to trust each other? From where I sit, with deep roots in Israel, but with the distance of being an American born Jew, I know there is a way. But only if Moderates on both sides find their voices and demand that the future be different.
This morning I was part of another zoom meeting, this one with the Israeli Judaism committee of the UJA-Federation of New York. Despite the unfolding chaos, two of our top notch Israeli professionals were part of the call. Both of these women are mothers and the concern on their faces pierced my heart. Perhaps it will finally be a call from the mothers amongst us, those who give birth to the next generation, that will change the story for both People who claim a right to live in this Holy Place.
After the conflict in the summer of 2014, I added one final piece to “Sacred Rights, Sacred Song”. “A Sacred Shared Prayer” resonates just as loudly today, May 11, 2021, as rockets fall throughout the Land.
Each child has a sacred right to survive, whether from Gilo, Gaza or Gadera.
In the Divine Image each child is made, whether from Haifa, Beit Hanoun or Hadera.
A Sacred Song must now be sung, to remind ourselves that “We Are One”
is not just about a special tribe but also about looking deep inside
to find a way to heal the Rift.
May we use song, our sacred gift
finding words, joining voices, Arab and Jew.
For the sake of our children, this new commandment,
We Must Do.