Saturday, March 12, 2011

Itamar. Never Again...

When I was growing up I thought the world was becoming a better place. I grew up in the 60’s, came of age in 70’s, experienced the decadence of the 80’s, and began the downward spiral toward cynicism in the 90’s when I realized that the better world promised to me and my children by the brave who demonstrated, marched, picketed, and put themselves in harm’s way in the violent riots of the 60’s that rocked life in the US, was not and would not become, a reality. I resigned myself to it. I did so without any real conscious thought or reason that I was doing so. I simply settled into the world, accepted that this is the way things are, the way they have been, and the way they always will be.

Perhaps this was wrong of me. I abandoned the task of “tikkun olam” – fixing the world – a task that
G-d gave us. I became complacent. But I wasn’t the only one. The vast majority of the people I grew up with, my peers, and the people in my immediate world, those I worked with, those I socialized with, those I associated with through the commonality of a shared belief -- had all settled down to the business of living our lives in the world in which we found ourselves. We did little real work of fixing the world. Some of use donated money to worthwhile causes, some of us volunteered our time, some of us even went to work in careers supposedly dedicated to the causes of tikkun olam. But the majority of us, our focus was on careers, family, and the immediate communities in which we lived. We focused on acquiring the accoutrements of a life supposedly well lived – large homes with multi-car garages to house the multiple cars we owned, many and beautiful clothes to wear, with new purchases for each and every new social and religious occasion that came our way, sending our children to Yeshivot , not an unworthy mission, yet with tuitions that skyrocketed out of control while the actual teachings fell short, way short, on issues like menschlikeit and Israel and tikkun olam.

The world has not become a better place. Far from it. In a world where terrorists can, in the name of supposed freedom can enter a private home, and kill, with knives a young defenseless mother, a father in his sleep, a toddler and an infant – they slit the throat of an infant! – no we cannot claim the world is a better place.

I can’t help feeling that we missed the boat somewhere, somehow. I don’t know when, where, or how. But we need to find our way back – back to the idealism and anger and righteous indignation that spurs our hearts to action and let our bodies, brains, and mouths follow suit. We need take back the world and make it ours again. We can no longer be complacent.

I remember as a child, a young child, going to the local Jewish Community Center in the town in which I grew up. I remember seeing posters all around with the slogan “Never Again”. Those posters, that slogan referred to the Holocaust, it would never happen again, because we would never allow it to happen again. It referred to the creation of the State of Israel, which at that point had only occurred about 20+ years prior. Those posters are long gone. In fact, sad to say, the Jewish Community Center is long gone – because the Jewish Community of that town did not see fit to maintain such an edifice. They saw no need to maintain a “Jewish Community” when they could assimilate and become part of the larger “secular” community.

But we need, here in the US, a galvanizing campaign, once again, like the “Never Again” campaign. We need to be a force to be reckoned with. We need to be far reaching and extremely visible. And once again, we need to say “Never Again”. We will never allow such terrorist acts to occur to our people in Israel – for they ARE our people. Just as they were OUR people who were slaughtered with unconscionable blood thirst and violence in Germany and Europe.

Where is our voice? Where is our UNITY? We must UNITE and say TOGETHER “NEVER AGAIN”.

Bibi Netanyahu is called for the world to condemn this most recent, vicious bloodletting of our innocents – I want ALL JEWS to condemn this act. I do not care about the rest of the world. We are Jews, we are meant to be a “Light unto all nations”. If we act – then the world will follow. That is the order of things.

Condemnation is not enough. Retaliation, punishment, revenge – those are the words most appropriate in response to this recent act of terror. And not just words will do – we must follow those words with the actions they convey.

This Shabbat I stayed home recuperating from a sinus infection that took me down hard this past week. I was alone and enjoyed the solitude while I had it. I took out some Hebrew shiron’s that I had collected. My late husband and I used to love to sing many of the old Israel folk songs. I was singing “HaKotel”. I am never able to sing that song without breaking down – and I do not simply cry, I sob, I wail, I lift my face to the sky and I ask Hashem how much longer must we wait? How much longer before He will life His sword and smite our enemies? I ask how many more deaths of our innocent children of HIS innocent children must we withstand? How many more must we bury before He will send us Moshiach?

It is said the Hashem helps those who help themselves. So, we must fight. And pray. And Hashem will lend His mighty hand to our own…

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