A Letter to Jews in the Face of Growing Hate
My fellow Jews.
I am shocked and aching with you over the horrendous act of hate at the Pittsburgh synagogue.
I feel, like you must be feeling, that the world has yet again become far too unsafe for Jews.
I have been an Israeli for most of my life, except for several years of my childhood during which I lived in America.
We have always been warned not to stick out too much when traveling abroad, we always had special precautions on our airplanes and at the entrances to our public facilities.
And we have learned to tolerate it.
However, our reality is becoming intolerable.
And frightfully reminiscent of memories past.
To think that such a thing would happen in America…
It is the sign that Anti-Semitism was never an attribute of the German people or any other nation, nor was it extinguished in the previous century as we hoped it would be.
It is a much wider phenomenon, the roots of which we have not yet discovered, but now must do so.
My Experiential Research into Anti-Semitism
As a teenager growing up in Israel I could not wrap my mind around how much people hate us.
I had the uncomfortable feeling about my identity that pushed me to seek a more universal one, to be free from the dangers and humiliation of being part of the most hated race on earth.
Later as I grew older I was drawn to participate in Israel advocacy, to go out into the world and meet these people who view us so negatively, to set the record straight. I wanted to show them that we are human beings, who care for our children and their futures, who are peace-loving and compassionate, or at the very least- just like everyone else.
However, I only came back with the knowingness that we were up against something we could not beat with the tools we were sent out with. That underneath a lot of even the most thought out political criticism was a strong and negative emotion that no words could change or soften.
I remember one telling incident in which my colleagues and I were especially successful in our advocacy. It was during a women’s’ debate, where Arab, as well as European women, participated.
We were just two Israeli women, the Arab women were at least eight or ten and they came well prepared.
However outnumbered, we fought to portray our truth.
We did it well, and it was obvious that the points we were making were winning the debate.
At the end of the conference, I was curious to ask the European women what they thought of the debate. I thought I had befriended them over those few days, speaking to them in my fluent English and finding that we were alike in many ways.
Yet when I talked to them of their impressions, all they had to say was that “the Israeli women had overpowered the Arab women”.
I felt a chilling estrangement coming from them and it was suddenly clear to me that the friends I thought I had acquired were very much against me.
Moreover, I realized that we were in a lose-lose situation. If we were bad advocators we lost, if we were good, we lost as well.
Our rational explanations did nothing to enter the hearts of our listeners, there was something else that was at work.
I sensed it was an anger, a deep blame, a demand that we would be something other than what we are, something no other country or people is expected to be. It was as if they were demanding that we bring about some miraculous harmony that transcends the circumstances of our physical reality.
I felt helpless, I knew that good wits and a sharp mind would not help, nor would heartfelt honestly or the presentation of my people’s good deeds, helpful inventions and incredible contribution to humanity.
None of that would ease that cold anger inside of them.
The Crucial Understanding
Years passed and Anti-Semitism continued to be a mystery as close to my heart as my identity itself.
I had no answers, but I was changing and I began to seek answers to other mysteries of life, to our very transience and obscured purpose of existence. I began to desire the expansion of my perception and awareness.
It was this soul search that had brought me to regularly put on the spirituality orientated Karma channel on Israeli TV. I wasn’t set on any one show or other but rather gathering insights and direction.
And then one day as I was sitting in the kitchen doing something else with the TV on, I heard something that grabbed my full attention.
It was a white-bearded rabbi surrounded by books of Kabbalah, speaking of the deeper reason for Anti-Semitism. Something in his vibe resonated with all that I had experienced and felt, and I was glued to the screen, afraid to miss a word he was saying.
He explained that “we exist in a system of natural laws and Anti-Semitism is a natural phenomenon. It arises because Jews have a special role to play in this system, and in the evolution of humanity.
Jews have an inherent spiritual potential, realized in unity above differences that can provide the world with a model and channel of true peace and harmony.
This natural potential and higher purpose that Jews carry causes the world to subconsciously feel dependent on them, and to blame them for all that is wrong.
From climate change to financial instability, to terror attacks, the Jews are always to blame, as the world refuses any other compensation or rational explanation for their suffering, other than that Jews change; that Jews become the light unto nations.”
I was profoundly amazed. I felt as if a huge part of the puzzle had just come into place.
Of course! I had felt this all the time and did not know how to put it into words. They were expecting us to provide a solution to peace that does not exist in our current state of awareness.
It made complete sense that our inability to solve this excruciating problem was a sign that we must develop ourselves to find the solutions on a higher level.
This breakthrough in my understanding moved me to the soul.
It was both calming and challenging.
A new vision unraveled itself, to bring about the fulfillment of this next stage in our evolution.
The Bright Future Ahead
I later discovered the existence of a path and method, inherent to our Jewish traditions and hidden deep inside it that can actualize this higher development of unity and shared consciousness.
Rabbi Kook wrote of it in his book Orot.
“The construction of the world, which is currently mired by the dreadful storms of a blood-filled sword, requires the construction of the Israeli nation in anticipation of a force full of unity that is found in Israel.”
In Orot Kodesh (Sacred Lights), He wrote:
“Since we were ruined by unfounded hatred, and the world was ruined with us, we will be rebuilt by unfounded love, and the world will be rebuilt with us”.
In fact, so many of our sages wrote only of this.
Yet it is up to us to hear that message and realize that with every day that goes by, Anti-Semitism will continue to grow, from the left and the right and in all differing forms.
We can try to quench it forcefully and persistently, but unless we are united as a people our efforts will be in vain.
In order to stop seeing history repeat itself, we must break free into a new way of seeing reality, by realizing how we became a nation to begin with.
It was with the covenant of mutual guarantee, with the promise that we would be “as one man with one heart”.
My fellow Jews, I have wanted to say this to you for so long.
We must be as one once more.
If you take anything from my letter, let it be the understanding that Anti-Semitism can and will be transformed one day, as soon as we are transformed.
As reality becomes increasingly unstable and bewildering, so must we find the answers and solutions outside of the box and thinking patterns that we have become too used to.
We need to rise above our divisions and our doubts- to bring out the spark of God that lies dormant within each of us.
Forging these sparks together will create the light that the world is waiting for.
The time is now to be united in honor of those we have lost, and in remembrance of what we must yet become.