Jeff Gross

To Be A Jew Right Now

To be a Jew right now is to mourn.
To mourn the 1,400 we lost on October 7th and the atrocities that befell them.
To mourn those raped and gunned down as they only wished to party.
To mourn those of our kin killed in their homes and burnt alive with their families.
To mourn those little ones and elderly abused and murdered in the most horrific ways.

To be a Jew right now is to despair.
To despair for our people in captivity torn away from families
To despair for the babies pried away from their mothers, the frail and the elderly carted off like trophies.
To despair for the 200 languishing with a brutal enemy whose traits have already been shown.

To be a Jew right now is to cry.
To cry at the loss of our people who’ve fallen or the many stolen to that terrible place.
To cry at what will be the fate of our people in both Israel and wherever we currently reside.
To cry at the sights we have witnessed and at the horrors which may be yet to come.
To cry both in private or together in public as we fear for our families and hide in dark places as the sirens arise.

To be a Jew right now is to worry.
To worry as many march off to war, our sons and our daughters, our nephews and more. Our brothers and sisters and cousins beyond
A war we did not wish for but must be fought now.
To worry about what else it will bring and what other enemy will seek to destroy us.

To be a Jew right now is to be vulnerable.
To be vulnerable in the workplace and vulnerable in the street
Vulnerable on the tube as we remove our identities
To be vulnerable in our schools and synagogues too
Vulnerable in our homes and even our homeland.

To be a Jew right now is to know who your friends are.
The Friends who send messages or put an arm around you to ask how you are.
The FRIENDS who are vocal and show they’re never far.
The friends who remain silent who would not usually be.
And the ‘friends’ who seemingly have no issue chanting “From the River to the Sea”.

To be a Jew right now is to be challenged.
Challenged to prove that our deaths were all real and challenged to prove they died as they did.
Challenged on whether we brought it upon ourselves and challenged by media that we didn’t kill those of their own killed by the enemy.
Challenged to say why we must finish the job and shouldn’t just say ‘we’ll stay and be lynched by the mob’

To be a Jew right now is to remember.
To remember our exiles of Babylon & Rome
Recalling the Inquisition pushed in Spain from our homes.
Remembering medieval massacres and the pogroms in the East
Remembering the Nazis and all that they did and see the similarities in events of right now.
Recalling the line from our calendar’s saddest day ‘Oh What has befallen us’, remembering our history and all its dismay.
And wonder ‘is it my turn to pack bags to flee this part of the diaspora’

To be a Jew right now is not to sleep.
Not to sleep for the thoughts of what happened.
Not to sleep for the worries for what is yet to come.
Not to sleep for the fears of those on the frontlines and those held in captivity beyond.
Not to sleep for what new horrors our future as a people hold.

To be a Jew right now is to pray.
To pray for those out of reach and their safe return
To pray for those injured both physically and mentally from scars that may never heal.
To pray for those who’ve already lost their loved ones.
To pray for those out to defend us and to pray for our safety and security and to finally live a life in peace.
To pray to “lift our eyes up to the mountains and wonder where our help will come from?”

To be a Jew right now is to know we outlive them.
To know we still thrive where Babylon and Rome are in ruins
To know we still thrive and succeed when our persecutors of times past lay in graves and emptiness from the Tsar to Nasser.
To know we survive despite the Nazis best efforts.
To know Amalek is blotted from the world while we live on.

To be a Jew right now is to have hope.
The hope of two thousands years to be a free people in our own homeland,
The land of Zion and Jerusalem
In peace.

To be a Jew right now is to be united.
United in grief, but united in spirit.
United as a people once more where we fought on Yom Kippur just 2 weeks before.
United in the effort to help each other and united in gathering what’s needed for the fight.

To be a Jew right now is to be proud.
Proud of what we are capable of as a people and proud of how we pick ourselves up from this tragedy.
Proud of those who’ve answered the call to assist in many ways and of the countries who steadfastly have shown their support.

To be a Jew right now is to believe.
To believe we will prevail like we always do
To believe in our soldiers – our family, our friends – that they will get the job that’s needed done.
To believe the invisible hand will lift us on eagles wings once more and wipe our enemies from their cowardly tunnels and pits.

To be a Jew right now is to see again that “in every generation they rise up to destroy us. But the Holy One, Blessed be he, delivers us from their hands”.

To be a Jew right now is
to mourn,
to despair,
To cry,
To worry,
To ask who your friend is,
To be challenged,
To remember,
To not sleep
And to pray.

But to be a Jew right now is
to know we outlive them,
To hope,
To be united
And to be proud.

To be a Jew right now is to believe
and know that we WILL survive
and succeed and say out loud that call of 3000 years:

עם ישראל חי
“The people of Israel live!”

About the Author
Jeff Gross lives in London having grown up in Ireland. Sharing his thoughts on anti-Semitism and Israel.
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