"Deeper Minds and Wider Hearts Needed"
A letter from Rabbi Arnie Rachlis to his community
Every few years, Israelis and Palestinians find themselves in a death embrace. Neither rockets from Gaza nor missiles from Israel will ever solve the situation. It's tragic that Hamas has just rejected Israel's cease fire offer.
We know that Israel has every right to defend itself and that the Palestinians need a state, but how we get from deadly "here" to peaceful "there" remains elusive, especially because past psychological traumas for each side trump rational thinking and a greater vision of what could be. Each side is poorly served by politicians rather than statesmen, so what's called for are new men and women of courage who have "deeper minds and wider hearts." That, however, won't emerge while each side feels besieged and endangered.
So let's support Israel's immediate humanitarian needs by a gift to Jewish Federation and Family Services and its longer vision of peace and reconciliation by a gift to Americans For Peace Now, J Street or New Israel Fund. It's never an issue of either/or; it needs to be both/and. Give Israel our hearts and our heads. Show empathy for Israelis and the Palestinians. Offer immediate comfort and long term solutions.
Extremism led to the kidnapping of three Israeli teens and the burning alive of a Palestinian teen. Hatred and fear will never lead to a solution; only reason and visionary leadership will.
Let's talk about all of these issues at a "Town Hall Meeting" at services this Friday night at 8:00 p.m. (I've postponed my earlier topic for this pressing one.)
Despair is not an option. A vision of Tikkun Olam is.
Rabbi Arnie Rachlis