Alumni Seeking solace through solidarity
By Adina Frydman, CEO of Young Judaea Global
I am writing you not because I have the perfect conciliatory words, but rather because I am at a loss for words and feeling, perhaps as you are, a desperate need to be in solidarity with fellow Young Judaeans. As it slowly sinks in that this is really happening in our precious Israel, that tomorrow will be quite different than today, and that this is only the beginning of a new and ruptured Israel, I feel a deep sense of loss.
As an American Jew in particular, albeit one who occupies herself daily with the pursuit of the Zionist dream through the sacred work of our movement, I feel like a witness, a bystander to what has been happening in Israel and the reality that they/we will have to live with heretofore. Perhaps we will wake up tomorrow and reason will prevail? No, that is fantastical thinking and likely not helpful at this point.
29 weeks of sustained protests by our brothers and sisters in Israel as they took part in a living democracy, broadening the patriotic tent, bringing different factions together under one flag. For what? To what end? And what now?
Not living in Israel, it can sometimes feel easier to turn it on or off, to pay attention or to ignore the headline alerts on my phone about Israel. But I know as well as you that the ramifications of this moment will be felt by all of us, those living in Israel and those outside of Israel. There is no limit to how off the rails this can go at this moment, because without limitation and reasonableness, there will be little justice and balance.
We will all need to become Rodef Tzedek and Shalom – pursuers of justice and of peace.
In just another day, we will enter Tisha B’Av, the timing, uncanny. Whether we equate this moment to a 3rd horban, destruction of the Temple, is still too early to know. But we do know that some of the same forces that are attributed to having caused our earlier historical downfalls, are now at play too. The lack of achdut, Jewish unity and the pervasiveness of sinat chinam, baseless hatred, both are rampant, and we must all take responsibility for that.
I often find it hard to connect to this day, but this year feels different. This year, I am strangely grateful for the timing of this day. Because I feel like I need a day of personal mourning and we need a day of communal mourning. It is tempting to try to find the silver lining and to jump to the comforting words. But we will get there. Soon enough, it will be Shabbat Nachamu and we can turn to the words of the prophets to find our nechemta, our comfort. But not before going through the narrow straits of Tisha B’Av.
Whether it has been your custom to fast or to engage in the mourning practices of the day, I invite you in the 25 hours of Tisha B’Av to find time for personal reflection, to think about the importance of this moment, to feel the brokenness, and to long for a return to our people, a return to Zion, that we may merit it once again.
Hashivenu Adomai elecha v’nashuva chadesh yameinu kekedem.