This year, I approached Thanksgiving with apprehension and a questioning heart, as I expect many of you have also done. It’s a challenge to sit with questions and sorrow and anger in your heart and then shift your internal narrative to one of celebration and even joyfulness.
I didn’t really have a way to reconcile this until I saw a video of Miriam Peretz visiting the shiva for Noa Marciano, who was abducted and later killed at Shifa Hospital in Gaza. If you haven’t heard of Miriam Peretz, she is the Israel Prize winning Zionist educator, former candidate for President, and mother of two sons who were killed in combat in the IDF. Miriam is beloved by all in Israel, and her words of comfort have consoled those suffering the loss of a loved one in tragic circumstances for many years.
It is nearly impossible to speak to someone experiencing as painful a loss as Noa’s mother with any degree of authority or certainty, to do so with gentleness and true understanding. But Miriam is one of the few who could do exactly that. And she shared that you don’t betray the past or your loss by picking yourself up, being held by loved ones, and facing the next day, or the one after. You celebrate your lost loved ones by finding joy, and reasons to smile or laugh. You are never the same, but you are not expected to ignore that which is life affirming and forward facing.
So on this Thanksgiving day, I won’t talk about the monumental tasks ahead of us, or the questions about our collective communal future, which have taken an existential turn. There will be time for all of that, and addressing them has always been my life’s work.
Today I turn towards the light, towards the manifestations of unity, sisterhood and brotherhood I see all around me; towards the sense of purpose in so many of those around me that I thought was almost unattainable; towards the pride in our identity, in our peoplehood, in our homeland; towards the motivation, the energy, the love, the determination I spoke of at our first rally on the courthouse steps.
I am thankful for a community and a people that has truly become a pride of lions.
Now everyone will hear us roar.