Dieser Brief wurde heute von unserem Rabbiner, Elisha Wolfin an die Freunde unserer Gemeinde im Ausland geschickt. Ich möchte ihn euch nicht vorenthalten und veröffentliche ihn mit seiner freundlichen Bewilligung.
We always thought that Zichron Ya’akov was the safest place in Israel: far enough from the Lebanese rockets (that theory crashed in 2006), and certainly far far away from the Gaza missiles. (That theory crashed, too, last week.)
How proud we are of our people, especially those really close to Gaza, who have not left their homes in the past ten days (except for that 5 hour fragile humanitarian cease fire yesterday, during which Hamas nevertheless continued firing…), and refuse to complain!
How proud we are of our Israeli engineers, who designed this unbelievable Iron Shield, which allows those of us a little further away from the immediate Gaza area to continue living a normal (albeit surreal) life. I cannot begin to imagine what it would have been like if those hundreds of deadly rockets would have landed on our homes, as many of them did in 2006.
How proud I am of the Israeli military’s effort to do everything it can to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza, despite Hamas‘ using civilians as living shields. So many missile launches could have been prevented if Israel would not have cared about innocent people being hurt. I know the world is oblivious of this, but we aren’t, and we are proud of this uniqueness, because no other army in the world would have held back as the IDF has, thus far, at the expense of putting Israeli civilians at severe risk!
How shocked I am, to discover the monstrous tunnel systems that Hamas has dug – not for the sake of food smuggling (that was never the purpose of the tunnels), for there is no shortage of food in Gaza; not for the purpose of seeking work and livelihood in the one country in the region that cares more about life and livelihood, than war and terror – no, but for one sake, and one sake only: to shock, to hurt, and to kill as many Israelis as possible. How monstrous it is to crave for a „good show of pain“, in order to finally celebrate on the rooftops in Gaza as Israeli blood is shed, as they did after 9/11, and after every „successful“ terrorist attack carried out against civilians in Israel.
Unfortunately, we don’t have an Iron Shield against the huge threat of the tunnels quite yet (but we will!). For now, only our soldiers can carry out that mission.
How very NERVOUS I am, therefore, watching our young (and not so young) soldiers – both regular and reservists – making their way into Gaza, to destroy the deadly tunnel system. How very aware we all are that, as well trained as our soldiers are, battles are never a clean and fun sport.
And what is our role in all of this – „our“, being Masorti clergy and congregations? Iron Dome can shield us from most missiles. Our soldiers can destroy tunnels. But no engineer has ever developed a system that can shield the heart, the soul, and the Neshama.
The Middle East is not showing any signs of progress. The Arab Spring has turned into a Wintery nightmare. Moderation, modernity, democratization, and peace have never seemed further away. Iraq, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Nigeria (well, not quite the Middle East…), Egypt, and of course, Gaza, are a proof that while we need our best engineering genius to design domes and shields, we also need spiritual guidance, to maintain a strong and vibrant spirit.
Personally? Other than nervously following the soldiers‘ advance into that deadly strip, I am dedicating myself, my life, and my career, to provide that inner strength to all who may need it (and we all do).
As a Kehilla, this is our collective purpose too. We are here to strengthen, to give hope, to provide meaning, to create friendships and comradery, both when it is calm, and also when the madness knocks on our doors, or crawls in tunnels underneath our homes, or comes flying over our heads. We are here to strengthen that Dome that is higher than the Iron Dome, and deeper than deadly tunnels.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for being with us. Thank you for your on-going support. Thank you for the emails and messages. Thank you.
From the warmest and safest place in Israel: our hearts.
Rabbi Elisha Wolfin
Kehillat V’Ahavta, Zichron Ya‘akov