The New Guard

A few days ago, I was spending some time with my elder children, who were visiting from Canada. Later in the evening we sat down to watch a movie - The Old Guard - starring Charlize Theron as an immortal who becomes tired of trying to save the world from itself again and again, until she is inspired by the energy of a young woman who discovers she has the same gifts.

Of course the movie is fantastical (though fun to watch), but I drew an interesting conclusion from it.

We the Jewish people are ‘Am HaNetzach’, the eternal people. We have, collectively and historically, seen it all. We’ve experienced everything, from the heights of knowledge and sovereignty to the depths of persecution and despair. Even our most ubiquitous texts describe our experience of existential threat as generational. It is enough to drive anyone with a full awareness of that history to despair, or a least to a sense of resignation.

And yet.

We move from Yom Hashoah this past week, through to Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzmaut next week. We commemorate, we remember, and then we celebrate. I was talking to an Israeli friend a few days ago, and he shared his impression of his son’s generation. They have seen the grisly consequences of hatred. They have been called upon to stand up to it. They have responded with love for their people and their land, and they have sacrificed life and limb to protect it. It doesn’t matter to their assumption of responsibility if their leaders have learned lessons or not, if their allies are supporting them or turning on them. What matters to them is their love for their families and their communities, wanting to ensure that their children can grow up safe and secure.

We know that we can’t eliminate hate, but they have learned - and I believe - that we can diminish its capacity to do us harm, if we stand together, if we use all of our diverse strengths to make it clear that attacking the Jewish people is a costly venture. Most of all, they and we conclude that living a proud Jewish life in a Jewish community or in the sovereign homeland of the Jewish people is the greatest source of strength we have, sustaining us when we are tired or discouraged by what we see around us.

To celebrate that source, join us and tens of thousands of our sisters and brothers on June 2nd as we march in the Celebrate Israel Parade in New York City. You can register HERE. The Parade will, as always, be one of the most highly secured events taking place in NYC. Make sure to register!