The world, our Jewish world, has changed. We are engulfed in tragedy and in anxiety. We are looking around, and we don't see as many friends as we had thought and hoped to have. Our students run gauntlets of pro terror groups at universities, and the presidents of the most prestigious of them are silent. Our news media is more prepared to listen to the blood libels of the health ministry run by sadistic butchers, rapists and murderers than they are to listen to the spokespeople of a state and army with ethical standards. People we follow on social media turn into apologists for torture and hostage taking of children.
And we expected more, better. But we were naive. We will not, must not, be naive again. The IDF and the citizens of Israel have their battles. We have our own battle. The first part of that battle is with ourselves. We must overcome complacency, inaction, and toleration of the intolerable. The second part is with those around us who can describe rape, torture, kidnapping and murder of babies and children as ‘resistance’, and dance in celebration at the slaughter. Those for whom ‘yes, but’ is an answer to the decimation of entire civilian communities.
On the other hand we must also recognize that we do have friends and allies. There are many who stand with the Jewish people in our hour of need. President Biden has demonstrated incredible solidarity and put American might beside Israel. Congressman Lawler has demonstrated his steadfast support as well. Governor Hochul has done so as well. And our local elected officials have stood by our community in word and deed. Around the world, the UK, Germany, France, Italy and others have joined the President’s support of Israel.
For all of these, from October 7th and forward, everything is consequential. Every word of solidarity, every disappointing silence. Every equivocating letter, and every helpful policy decision. Every prayer gathering, and every local or global terror supporting social media campaign, Every celebrity ally, and every craven university. It all matters.
We’ve shared with you what you can do now to help our brothers and sisters in Israel. There is more detail below on where the funds from our emergency appeal are being deployed. But you can begin to fight the hard battle for the conscience of our neighbors, for the pages of our newspapers and the halls of our schools.
Everything is consequential. If you are unsatisfied with your child’s school district and how it has communicated on the crisis, or how teachers are addressing the war, call it out! If individuals in positions of influence or authority are apologists for Hamas, call it out! Speak up in any venue where Israel or Jews are being maligned. And let us know what you are concerned about.
On the other hand, when you get a chance to thank one of our elected officials who has raised an Israeli flag, or increased patrols, or spoken out on social or legacy media - thank them! When a congregation or spiritual leader of another faith prays for Israel and for peace, reach out to share your appreciation.
It’s easy enough to thank. It’s simple enough to recognize those who hate us. The challenging part is what to say to those who have been silent, who have disappointed you. I’d suggest that you speak with them, express your disappointment, and share why you feel let down. How they respond to you will likely make clear which category above they fall into. We can’t be complacent any longer.