Posted by: mommytoo | December 30, 2008

the other

we got a wonderful email from our rabbi today, i thought i’d share it because it really moved me.


I have been heartsick about Israel’s attacks on Gaza. I’ve been reading
different points of view and have heard arguments made in every
direction. Yet one thing is extremely clear to me. Israel is not
behaving like the country I love. Israel is not living up to the values
of justice and compassion that I was raised to believe it would always
live by. And the acts that Israel has committed during the past few days
have been deplorable.
We know that there are people in Gaza who pride themselves on
terrorizing Israel, on sending missiles, and on causing pain and
suffering. That too is deplorable. But I was never taught that we Jews
would respond to small acts of violence by causing larger ones, by
killing and injuring even more people, by showing the world that we are
‘the toughest guys on the block’.
In one article I read yesterday, the analyst explained that by attacking
so harshly, Israel would guarantee that their Arab neighbors would once
again truly fear them; recently the fear has not been as great. This
felt like the saddest commentary imaginable. What happened to the
country I used to look up to, the one where soldiers cried if they
killed one person? Where is the goal of making peace being achieved by
Israeli soldiers bombing and killing hundreds of men, women, and
children? How can we turn away and say, “But they have hurt us as well”?

I strongly condemn the tactics of the terrorists in Gaza that frighten,
injure, and kill Israelis. But as a Jew, it is my responsibility to look
most closely at my own country. It is my responsibility to judge my own
people and to hold them accountable.
Each of us needs to make our own decisions about Israel and Palestine.
And most difficult, each of us needs to learn to respect each other’s
decisions, however they may differ from our own.
I need to stand up and make the statement that I do stand with those who
condemn the acts of the Israeli military in Gaza. I will attend the
rally this afternoon (4PM at the Israeli Consulate, 1880 JFK Boulevard)
wearing a kippah so that everyone there knows that we Jews are able to
look at Israel honestly and critically. I have a deep love for Israel.
Because of that love, I cannot stand by and not speak up.
I am a firm believer in the ‘big tent’ philosophy for our community.
Mishkan members are all free to see this and every other issue
differently. I do not expect everyone to see things as I do. I just want
to be clear about my own feelings of sadness and anger. I may see some
of you at the rally this afternoon. I hope to have the opportunity to
talk with anyone who would like to discuss this situation with me. There
are several programs on Israel/Palestine at Mishkan during the next few
months. I hope that our conversation at these programs and at other less
formal moments may be honest, respectful, and heartfelt.

Rabbi Linda



  1. Wow. That is a great email. Thanks for sharing.

  2. That is very moving.

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