Sunday, July 30, 2006

We are all Israel

Kol Yisrael aravim zeh b'zeh. All Israel is responsible for one another.

You know, all over the world, Jews support Israel. But we in the Diaspora, while intensely invested and deeply connected to the State of Israel, do not have say in what happens there. We do not vote, and frankly, I don't think that the government of Israel would change their minds based on the opinions of Diaspora Jewry.

But we are so often held responsible anyway.

When a Muslim-American man forced his way into the Seattle Federation office, he was holding random Jewish people responsible for what is happening on the other side of the world, in Israel. Rational? Not so much. But it happened nevertheless. And frankly, I'm just waiting for the first person to "justify" this man's actions in response to Israel's.

It's amazing to me how for a short while, this was the head story on all the Israeli newspapers' sites, as well as made headlines in the print editions (see this story in Seattle's paper). As much as we are held responsible for what happens in Israel, I believe that Israelis also feel responsibility for us, the Diaspora, as well. Their shock at what happened is perhaps equivalent to our shock at a bomb that falls in downtown Haifa or a young IDF soldier killed by a terrorist raid.

To both communities, it is a Jewish life risked or lost. Each carry immense weight to our people, both those in Eretz Yisrael and those in the Diaspora.

May the day come swiftly when Jews of all nations are safe in their homes, workplaces, streets, synagogues, kibbutzim...when all shall sit under their vines and fig trees, and none shall make them afraid. In our days? With God's help, for our children and their children.

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