Avrohom Malachowski

The morning after

As someone who is visibly Orthodox, navigating Israel’s politics has always been a very uncomfortable experience. Due to my appearance, I have found that people often have preconceived notions about what I may or may not believe. However, something seemed to change after the invasion on the 7th of October. In response to this tragic day, our nation came together in a way that we have never seen before. This unity is something that Israel badly needs, especially given the state of divisiveness that Israel was in before the invasion.

The horrific scenes that we saw on October 7th will not soon be forgotten. On what was supposed to be the most joyous holiday in the Jewish calendar, our nation was confronted with evil the likes of which the world had not seen since the Holocaust. Hamas terrorists broke into the homes of innocent civilians and raped, murdered and pillaged. On a day of celebration, our congregations wept instead of danced. The evil did not end on October 7th; many of us, especially those who are students, are still assaulted by the actions taken by Hamas on a daily basis. Students have been attacked on campus, and many of us feel incredibly unsafe. Across the country, student organizations, many of which are funded by tuition, have been both celebrating and calling for the deaths of the Jewish people. However, amid these tragedies, a new sense of Jewish unity has emerged that transcends political and religious divides. All across the world in the face of our incredible adversary, Jews have held their heads high and proud.

Only four months ago, our people were divided. The protest movement in Israel had many across the globe glued to their television screens and those inside Israel itself were divided along religious and political lines. These tensions came to a head when, on Yom Kippur, a near riot broke out over whether a public prayer should be segregated by sex. Tensions have been growing for the past few years and both sides of this cultural debate have many legitimate complaints against each other. Still, these internal squabbles made us lose sight of the bigger picture —despite our differences, we are all one people. It is heartbreaking that it took an unprecedented terror attack for us to return to the unity that defines us as a people, but it could not have come at a better time. Unity is incredibly important because, as our nation shows time and time again, when we are united nothing can stand in our way.

This unity is seen across all aspects of Jewish society.  Every Jewish organization, from the most secular JCC to the most religious synagogues, has seen an incredible uptake in membership. Indeed I don’t remember the last time the Hillel on my campus was as full of students as it was in the beginning days of the war. This unity has also come in the form of donations, both monetary and in supplies, coming in all sizes.

We are also seeing unity in Israel. Since the war started thousands of Haredim have volunteered to join the IDF. Even the protest movement, a symbol against the government, pivoted the second that the nation came under attack. Protest leaders came together to raise money for those who were evacuated, and start clothing and food drives for those who were needy. Politically there has also been a greater degree of harmony with a unity government being formed to deal with the crisis.

The current moment has shown us that, despite what we have been through in the past year, at our core we are one people. Despite our differences, we are a family and nothing can ever take that away from us. As we enter a new year and begin to look at what the coming weeks and months hold for Israel, I hope that we will keep the unity that we have exhibited over the last few months. As we move past this war and back to peace. When we return to normalcy and our internal squabbles. We should not hide our differences in opinion, but these discussions should be had cordially, as one would have with a brother. After all, we are all family.

About the Author
Avrohom Malachowski is a student at Baruch College, where he is pursuing a degree in corporate communications. Originally from Brooklyn, New York, he has a keen interest in politics and foreign affairs. Avrohom is actively involved on his campus, serving in student government. He is also a member of his Hillel, where he is dedicated to combating the rising threat of antisemitism.
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