Bound Up In One Another

Dear CBE Community,

I know that many of us are experiencing a range of thoughts and emotions about what’s been happening in Israel. Yesterday, as the American Embassy was moved to Jerusalem and as 60 Palestinian people were killed at the Gaza border fence, Rabbi Rick Jacobs released this statement, which I support, on behalf of the Reform movement. Meanwhile, Rabbi Sharon Brous was with Rev. William Barber and many leaders of the Reform movement in Washington, D.C. launching the Poor People’s Campaign. She said these words about poverty in the United States, words that speak to my heart about Israel and the Palestinians. Perhaps they will speak to yours.

 

“The Torah is desperate for us to learn the great secret of human existence: we are all bound up in one another…Our shared humanity is what links our destinies one to the other. My liberation is contingent on your liberation and yours is contingent on mine.”

 

As unlikely as it seems at this very moment, we are all bound up in one another. Our shared humanity and our two peoples’ love for the land link our destinies one to the other. Our liberation is contingent upon the liberation of our neighbors and their liberation is contingent upon ours.

May our hearts break for the mothers who have lost their children and for the 1,700 wounded. May we grieve almost one hundred years of violence on both sides and fifty years of occupation. May we find compassion for Israeli soldiers trying to defend the border against thousands of people coming at them with Molotov cocktails and flaming kites, some with “kill Israelis” on their lips. May we find compassion for Palestinians living under brutal, inhumane conditions that make them desperate. May we acknowledge that every country has the right to defend its borders. May we acknowledge that mass shootings with live fire of people who are not an immediate threat is wrong. May the angry, fearful hearts on both sides be soothed and held in love. May we never give up hope and belief in the peaceful coexistence of Israelis and Palestinians, each safe, each sovereign, each free.

There are thousands of Israelis and Palestinians actively working toward that hope through more than one hundred NGO’s. Sometimes when we feel helpless, it can help to give. I am writing checks today to four organizations that specifically work to bring ordinary people together across the divide: Combatants for Peace, Bereaved Parents Circle Families Forum, Standing Together, and Yad b’Yad Schools.

I want you to know that 40 CBE members are gathering tonight for the last session of our twelve-part Israel Dialogue and Study Series taught by the brilliant Rabbi Josh Weinberg. Over the course of this year we have deepened our understanding and strengthened our ability to hear one another even when we do not agree. There will be more opportunities like these in the future, and I invite you to join us. May we all continue to grow in understanding and ability to hear.

L’Shalom,

Rabbi Rachel Timoner
Congregation Beth Elohim