If I Forget You O Jerusalem…

I’ve never been a big fan of metrics, but sometimes the numbers are so significant that you must pay attention to them. My congregation has an active FB page, with over 700 ‘likes,’ and a common post will garner 2-350 hits. On Sunday morning I posted a text version of the sermon I delivered on Shabbat. It was about the current situation in Israel and the idea that the real threat to Israel is not physical, but rather spiritual and moral. So far, the post has been clicked on more than 2000 times. Something is going on here. The question is, what?
The obvious answer is that Jews are deeply concerned about Israel right now. The missiles continue to fall, Israelis are constantly scrambling for the nearest bomb shelter, and Israeli soldiers are losing their lives in Gaza. The Jewish community is worried, frustrated, scared, and angry, and any information about Israel, any column, any article, any – sermon – is being devoured with an unusual level of interest. Israel is on the radar screen. It is front and center in the mind of the average Jew. Add to that the fact that when the ‘matzav’ (situation) is as it is, people want to know what their rabbi thinks about it, and voila – 2,000 plus clicks!
But I think there is also an additional layer that is part of the dynamic, maybe for the first time, or at least the first time on a large scale. And that is that people feel conflicted. Publicly they staunchly support Israel, they go to pro-Israel rallies, they call their elected officials to make sure that Israel is being supported. But privately, in small conversations, in their own minds and hearts, in the office of their rabbi, they tell a different story: they are worried about Israel, but they are also disturbed by the loss of civilian life in Gaza.
I can hear already the cries of “blasphemer!” This is something that shouldn’t be said, let alone written! But it seems to me a person can be concerned about the civilians of Gaza and still support Israel’s right to defend itself. Is that easy? Perhaps not. But is it possible? Yes. And I would even argue it is necessary.
Why? Because that concern, at the end of the day, comes from the same place that our love for Israel comes from – a deeply Jewish place. A place of morality, of understanding intuitively that ALL human beings are created in the image of God, a place of concern for justice and a true, deep, and powerful yearning for peace.
Jerusalem we will never forget. Not now. Not ever. In knowing that perhaps we can realize that there is space to consider, and to remember, even more.

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