Things I learned this week:
That the planned National Day of Hate didn’t happen, at least not in my home community.
Except that a Jewish headstone was defaced in a Sarasota cemetery.
That the Jewish Security Network has declared: “We will not allow ignorant, hate-mongering attention seekers to prevent members of the Jewish community to gather, connect and celebrate.”
Which doesn’t change the fact that synagogues feel compelled to pay police and security guards to protect them when they gather, connect, and celebrate.
That hatred and terrorism strike close to home, even when thousands of miles away. On Monday a terrorist shot a motorist driving in Israel, and killed the beloved grandson of members of my congregation. A 26-year-old shining light was extinguished and an American family mourns.
That a community of observant Jews can behave abominably. It is appalling that a group of so-called religious Jews in Israel would riot against a neighboring community, pause in the riot to pray the evening prayers, and return to rampaging. This is not how decent human beings behave, much less people who profess to be religious. I do not believe in a God who would condone such behavior.
That despite everything that happened this week, I still believe and I still hope. The first line of this week’s Torah portion tells the Children of Israel to kindle a Ner Tamid, a lamp to burn forever. Those of us who are unwilling to accept a world in which hate triumphs must keep that lamp lit.
Not all Jewish settlers are rioters. Not all Palestinians are terrorists. Normal people don’t desecrate others’ sacred spaces. Imperfections, ignorance, and hatred abound on all sides. Some of us fight for what is right. Some of us go down the wrong path.
It is our duty to teach each other how to behave in a bewildering and often wrongheaded society. Despite everything, to do the right thing, strive to be our highest selves, to keep alive the eternal flame of hope and peace.
I am reminded this week that despite all that is wrong with us humans, the sun still rises in the morning, and we have a chance to begin anew.
it is sad that this new violence came after the biden administration reopened funding to palestinians that enables terrorism to occur. unfortunately, those supporting biden do not take credit for it or condemn it. they are the ones who fueled who the fire. peace will only be achieved when terrorism is not sponsored.