Gaining Perspective in Uncertainty
Learning and Living Jewish Wisdom: Moving forward on My Life Journey

PRIDE, GRATITUDE, & LOVE Vanquishing ignorance, hate, & turmoil

I will miss the sights at the Wakodahatchee Wetlands

Today Is Day 212: Free the Hostages

I was supposed to fly to Israel on Saturday night, April 13. As I finished packing my bags, I heard that large gatherings were being cancelled and schools closed until further notice. Then, that the air space would be closing. Finally (substantiating the reason for the closures), that the Islamic Regime of Iran had sent a barrage of ballistic missiles and attack drones that would arrive sometime while my flight was enroute. Not surprisingly, I cancelled my flight.

That trip had meant so much to me. On a personal level, it was to be with friends in Israel and get a break from the aloneness of being in Florida. On the level of being a proud Jewish woman, one who used to live in Israel, it was essential to connect with Israelis—and the physicalness of Israel—at this moment. I wanted to be there, adding another pained soul calling out for the release of the hostages; to be there supporting those who continue to risk their lives for the safety and security of all Israelis; to be there absorbing some of the sense of loss that exists in the very air; to be there, too, as part of the power that is the Jewish people coming together for the continued strength and survival of our people in the face of yet another maniacal group of haters.

After the initial shock and fear, then relief that the attack was not destructive, I decided to change the order of my plans: move to Oregon first, then visit Israel. Not letting myself seep into wallowing or inertia, I quickly found a house to rent in the city where younger daughter lives. I move this week.

Which means that instead of being within the life and loss of Israel at war, I’m in the shock and horror of watching antisemitism in its ugliest forms on college campuses, spouting from the mouths and bodies of students, professors, staff, agitators, supposed intellectuals, and journalists.

A few days ago, I tried to work on the translation of a Holocaust survivor’s testimony as I have been doing for almost five years. It was too hard, and not just her Hungarian-accented Hebrew, but the fact that at this moment there are people dehumanizing Jews, calling for the mass murder of Jews, claiming that all the ills in the world are the fault of Jews—again.

After a few days, I was back at it. The mob of hate will not stop me.

Watching these hordes and then being told that they are peaceful is stunning, shameful. But more than that, to know that what they have been taught, what has swayed and twisted their minds to say “don’t kill these people, kill those people” as if that’s the greatest expression of human rights, is scary. There is no need for adherence to reality when it comes to hating Jews and Israelis and Israel.

But, listening to young Jewish leaders speak up and push back against the tsunami of lies and distortions from their classmates and instructors is inspirational. Their eloquence and clarity of thought is impressive. It makes me realize why we Jews are still here, after all these onslaughts. Though in each generation there are those who “drop out” and decide to not be Jewish, or to be so against all semblance of what a Jew is that they don’t count, some call these “as a Jew” Jews. The rest of us are going on with learning and studying, figuring out how to stand up in pride, improving each day as an individual, as well as a member of a people who pursue justice for others—though now seems to be a good time to get some help back—but if not, we will do what we need to for ourselves—and still look out for the other. Each of us needs to take on a bit of the burden: the fulfilling burden that is to be part of a people who, though maligned, continues to believe in being a light, for seeing the humanity in each of us for it is foundational to know that each person is created in the image of God; and to “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Now, it seems essential for those neighbors to see us this way, too.



Laura, it must be exhausting enough to live under the weight of centuries of history of oppression and ignorance, but now to have the outward onslaught in this country--I can only imagine how you feel.

My mind is continually boggled by how easily people/groups are led by those who wish to use them for their own purposes and agendas.

I was so sorry about your trip to Israel being put off, but I'm happy for your life change and big move. I hope you find a community in Oregon to embrace and be embraced by.

Laura of RTOAW

Thank you, Margaret.

I lived in Israel during the first intifada--it was horrific. To see people calling for that, encouraging it, boggles the mind. Where does this hate and viciousness and desire for violence come from--education! But as it can cause damage and hatred, so can it help people see the light. Here's to what we all can do to help end centuries of oppression and ignorance.

And hoping for community in Oregon!

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