Every week I come to you with an idea or an observation about human behavior. I ask you to think deeply about your own actions or feelings or experiences and to share those thoughts with me. And every week, without fail, dozens of you answer with transparency and vulnerability.
So this week I come to you with my own.
I am a Jew, and for the first time in my adulthood I am truly afraid for the safety of Jews everywhere.
This week there has been a brutal assault on the civilians of Israel – on the babies and the grandparents and the teenagers and the adults. Citizens of every religion and many nationalities have been murdered – in their homes, on the streets, in cages and in cars – for just the possibility that they were Jewish. My son is one of 170,000 soldiers fighting to protect those civilians, and he’s now joined by the 360,000 reservists (aged 22-93) who’ve been called up or volunteered.
There is hate in the world, that’s not new. There is hate for Jews in the world, that’s not new either. And the confusion people seem to feel about whether it’s ok to behave this way – I’ve experienced that before.
When I was 7 years old my parents and I moved to a town in Ohio. On my second day of third grade I waited in line to play foursquare when the game mysteriously stopped. Suddenly I was standing against the wall of the school alone, surrounded by a half circle of kids throwing rocks at me and yelling “kike!” I didn’t know that word yet, but I knew you’re not supposed to throw rocks at each other. I looked over at the teachers and they were standing, and watching, whispering to each other but not intervening. Other kids playing stopped to watch until I ran, breaking through the circle and running behind the teachers. Who didn’t look at me or say a word.
But that was 1978. And I thought things were better. I’m afraid that they are actually getting worse.
Resilience is the ability to navigate change towards a positive goal.
My goal is to reach as many people as possible and ask them to tune in and think critically about what you see happening here. To ask questions and read more than one answer. Would you do that? And, if you’re willing, condemn the hate out loud so that the people around you might start asking good questions too.
And if you pray, please pray for true and sustaining peace.
All my best,