Thursday, January 25, 2007

Essential reading: "This Place Called Hope" [or, as Jack describes it, " The Future of Israel/Judaism], by Daniel Gordis

Jack's Shack refers us to this must-read article by Daniel Gordis.

Some highlights:

"When any other country in the world does something people object to, they object to the leader, or the policy. Does anyone opposing the war in Iraq say that the United States no longer has a right to exist?"

. . .

When faced with the realization that Zionism has brought neither safe refuge nor normalcy to the Jewish people, how hard is it to understand state of Israelis’ morale? “What’s the fight about?” they ask. If the experiment called the State of Israel still leaves us vulnerable both at home and throughout the world, why pay the price? Why send generation after generation to the front, with thousands of mothers and fathers waiting up at night, night after night after night, anxiously waiting for their son to call, so they’ll know he made it back once again? If we got security, or normalcy, then maybe it would be worth it. But all this, just to remain vulnerable? All this, just to remain the only country in the world without a right to be?

It’s not hard to understand the fact that there are no protesters in the streets. This is something way too big for mere protests.

The issue, of course, isn’t really Israel, or even Zionism. It’s the Jews. Again. Amos Oz has written with sadness about the irony that when his father was growing up in Europe, he saw signs that said “Jews Go Home to Palestine,” but that when he, Amos, was growing up in Palestine, the signs said “Jews out of Palestine.” Oz, one of Israel’s best known left-wing intellectuals, summarizes the unavoidable point. “Don’t be here. Don’t be there. In short, don’t be.” An exaggeration? I don’t think so. What did Gaarder call his editorial objecting to Israel’s military policy, claiming that Israel is now “history”? “God’s Chosen People.” How on earth is the issue of Israel’s conduct of the Lebanon war connected to “God’s Chosen People,” unless the issue really isn’t Israel?

It’s not.

Which leaves us with a decision – the Jews have to decide, once again, if we want to survive. If we want to make it, then we need to rekindle one of the basic premises of Zionism, and take matters into our own hands. It’s not enough to simply feel that we’re back where we started, 110 years ago. The question is what we’re going to do about it. The question is, how do we restore hope?"

Sheyna Galyan shares her thoughts about this article.


Blogger westbankmama said...

Daniel forgot to talk about the most important factor - Hashem. G-d has his plans, and even when things look really bad, there is hope down the road. Deep down all of the Jews here feel that. That's how we get up in the morning and carry on.

Sun Jan 28, 03:21:00 AM 2007  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

WestBankMama, would that I had your faith.

Sun Jan 28, 11:10:00 PM 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoy readingGordis because I know him. It doesn't hurt that he is an excellent writer discussing one of my favorite places.

I do believe in Hashem, but not without a reservation.

There are too many instances of terrorism, pogroms and more for me to get real comfortable.

I like to see man take action because I just can't worry about whether Hashem will insert his will.

Mon Jan 29, 05:28:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Jack, as my mother would say, quoting an oldie but goodie, "G-d helps him who helps himself." Maybe Hashem's plan is for the Jewish people to come up with plans of our own.

Mon Jan 29, 09:11:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Jack Steiner said...


Makes sense to me.

Tue Jan 30, 05:39:00 PM 2007  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Now I'm confused: According to my Word archive copy, made yesterday, of the comment including "I do believe in Hashem, but not without a reservation," that comment was posted by Jack. I come back today and the blog shows the same comment as having been posted by "anonymous." Bleeping new Blogger!!! Am I going to have to start asking everyone to type their names at the end of every comment?!

Jack, I hope we have the sense to come up with something sensible.

Tue Jan 30, 08:50:00 PM 2007  

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