New York City, Los Angeles, Lima, St. Louis, Melbourne, Miami, Manchester, Chicago, Cleveland, Winnipeg, Atlanta, Toronto, Tokyo, Passaic, Tucson, Lexington, Vancouver, Montreal, Sydney, London, Milan, Paris, Edmonton, Germany, South Africa, Belgium.
From the news I’ve read and through talking to our fans, since Hamas launched its missile assault on Israel over a week ago, Jews all over the world are being verbally and physically assaulted by those who support Hamas. By attacking Diaspora Jews, our enemies have made it abundantly clear that this hatred has nothing to do with land.
Some Jews, like comedian, Sarah Silverman, who is currently aligned with Neturei Karta (!), is assuring haters on Twitter that not all of us are Zionists. Some of us are the good kind of Jews. But it will be to no avail. Because to an antisemite, the only good Jew is a dead one.
This is the plight of the Jew in exile. As the Torah tells us:
Among those nations you shall find no respite, no rest for your foot…You will live in constant suspense. Day and night, you will be terrified, never sure of your existence…Such will be the dread that your heart will feel and the sights that your eyes will see. Devarim 28:65-67
Many Jews around the world are feeling shellshocked right now. They were allies to every minority, cried for them, donated to them, marched with them, but now no one has their back. They feel completely and utterly abandoned in the world, existentially alone.
But I don’t think that that is necessarily a bad thing.
One of our readers asked me, “What do we do? Rallies are not effective and are dangerous. Do we have any organizations that actually fight antisemitism?” “No,” I told her, “because antisemitism follows no logic, so there is no worldly solution.” How could it be that in a world which has recently awakened to protecting the vulnerable, the minority, the repeatedly oppressed, that the Jew has been left off the list? It makes no logical sense.
When we are too sure of ourselves, too secure, too in charge, we have no space to let God into our lives. We are the gods of our lives. When we lose our footing, feeling terrified for our own survival, mouths that haven’t prayed in years, or perhaps forever, can begin to form the words from Tehillim (Psalms):
My God, in You I trust; may I not be disappointed, may my enemies not exult over me….guide me in Your true way and teach me, for You are God, my deliverer; it is You I look to at all times.
When we are desperate and alone, we can cry out to our Father in Heaven:
Turn to me, have mercy on me, for I am alone and afflicted. See how numerous my enemies are, and how unjustly they hate me. Protect me and save me; let me not be disappointed, for I have sought refuge in You.
O God, redeem Israel from all its distress.
For a people that have gotten so far from the ways of their ancestors, suddenly, the Psalmist’s words are so relevant, so poignant, like balm on a wound brought about by being forsaken by the world. Jews are being attacked everywhere and the silence is deafening, but in those silent moments, humble hearts can finally have the space to proclaim:
The LORD is my light and my help; whom should I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life, whom should I dread?