Breaking the Silence

I try to keep my blog posts short and light. If I’m lucky, they make my readers smile, teach a thing or two, offer a new perspective, or even inspire new behaviors or attitudes.

While this early morning’s post was true to form, it fell short. I didn’t say what needed to be said this week. So, before I get ready for a cozy Shabbat evening, I hope you’ll indulge me once more today.

I’ll start with an excerpt published by my colleague, Rabbi Lou Feldstein, in the Federation Weekly.

“Silence……Barely a peep……a lonely whisper. That’s all we seem to hear from the world as rockets and missiles once again fall upon Israel’s citizens in the south. How loud would the cry be if rockets were fired from Mexican drug lords onto the people of San Diego? What was the response from the U.S. when Russia moved rockets unto the shores of Cuba? What would the television coverage be of rockets falling on France or Germany or England? But concerning Israel…..only silence.

It causes one to wonder. Why, when Israel comes under siege does the world turn a deaf ear? Why, when Jewish children hunker in bomb shelters, waiting as their childhoods are traumatized, does nary a peep come from the UN or our European allies? Silence…that is the world’s response.

But it is not ours. I am proud to be a part of a Jewish community that, upon hearing the news of a new terrorist assault by the Gaza terrorist leadership, immediately mobilized, spread the news, contacted the press, opened mailboxes and rallied to the side of innocent citizens who once again had to live under a storm of deadly armaments. Everyday [our] inbox is filled with emails and postings keeping [us] apprised of the current conditions and mobilizing calls to action. That is what makes our community so strong. We just don’t speak. We act.”

For my part, in the role of Federation’s Israel & Overseas Manager, a new Israel-focused newsletter will launch next month, featuring important articles, announcements, and news from the Atlanta Federation and other Israel-oriented community partners. (Just click here to subscribe.) You too can act by being informed and finding other ways to engage. (Email me if you want suggestions!)

My sister and her family live near Gadera. They, in addition to numerous other Israeli friends and families, spent most of the week living in their bomb shelter. Over 200,000 children in the danger zone were unable to go to school and parents were unable to go to work.

In a text message exchange this morning, my sister said, “It’s weird that we’re supposed to get used to this. And there’s nothing to do against it.” All I could say in reply was, “You’re not supposed to get used to this. You’re supposed live meaningful lives in spite of this.” Oy. Easy for me to say from Atlanta, Georgia.

Rabbi Lou summarizes with: “At the moment this is being written, things appear to have ‘quieted down.’ That being said, it is not a time for us to be quiet. It is a time for us to get even louder. Wherever we may stand individually on the Israel spectrum (left or right), we can all agree that living under a barrage of attacks is no way to live. Israel has a right to exist and on this point we will never be silent. Now – let’s go make some noise.”

Wishing you and yours a peaceful (but noisy) Shabbat.

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