Ari M. Solomont
Trying to change the world, one revolution at a time

We are the simcha in wartime

“How will we celebrate Purim this year?” This is not only my question. It’s a question many of us are asking. How can we bring ourselves to the joyous celebration our holiday commands while reconciling the loss and pain so many of our family and friends have suffered and continue to endure? I join so many who have been struggling with this question since October 7th. Sadly, this is not only a Purim question. How are we to balance our day-to-day doings and life celebrations with the ongoing trauma, loss, destruction, and sacrifice? I’ve often said that, as Jews, we don’t move on, but we do move forward, and sadly, our people have centuries of experience moving forward. We moved forward after the murders of five members of the Fogel family the week before Purim in 2011, the Park Hotel Passover Massacre in 2002, the murder of our friend Ari Fuld a few days before Yom Kippur in 2018, the kidnapping and murders of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaer, and Naftali Fraenkel, the three boys in June 2014, and the merciless killings of Lucy, Maia and Rina Dee, during Chol Hamoed Pesach last year. Moving forward implies that we will never forget. Moving forward suggests that the lives lost continue with us and within us. Moving forward is what is required for us to keep on living. And in moving forward, we honor the lives of each of the 594 holy IDF soldiers we have lost in the battle for our homeland during Swords of Iron, the 360 souls brutally stolen from us at the Nova festival, and the fate of the 130 hostages that remain in Gaza. We have moved forward before, and if we are fortunate enough, we’ll continue to embrace the responsibility and privilege to move forward. I’m not suggesting it’s easy. It’s not about winning, it’s about living!
As we have for centuries, Jews across the globe will celebrate Purim again this year. With our simcha (happiness) and exuberance, we will differentiate goodness from evil, celebrate righteousness over tyranny, and, in moving forward, celebrate and thank G-d for the miracles of our existence. I’ll leave the “how to” up to each individuals sensitivity. But if you have trouble finding the simcha or expressing it, be the simcha, and look inside yourself to find it. If you are still here, you are a reason for simcha! Purim Samayach and L’chaim, To Life!
About the Author
Rabbi Ari Solomont is the Director of International Admissions for Yeshiva University in New York. Prior to making aliyah eighteen years ago, Ari was a licensed nursing home administrator and the executive director of New England NCSY. (National Conference of Synagogue Youth) Well known as an expert in the field of informal education, Rabbi Ari has been a sought-after consultant for several national and international educational initiatives. Rabbi Ari's warmth, humor, love of people, and compassion have inspired generations of Jewish youth. Rabbi Solomont is an off road cycling enthusiast who can often be found riding through the Hills of the Holy Land and along trails across the globe. He and his wife Sarah Beth live in Ashkelon, have 4 children and 7 grandchildren. Their youngest daughter recently completed her service in the Israeli Air Force. [The views and opinions expressed by Rabbi Solomont on this blog are his own and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any organization or institution to which he is affiliated]
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