When Current Events Get Personal

Hiking in the Negev in the south.

Hiking in the Negev in the south.

I want to get a little current events with you, because this one current event has been heavy on my mind the last few days. In 2007 I went to Israel on a Birthright Israel trip (that’s a free trip for anyone Jewish ages 18-26 who hasn’t been on an organized trip to Israel yet). I was Jewish before I went to Israel. I’d been Jewish for almost 23 years. But I came home with this renewed passion for my religion, for Israel and for the connection I found there. Duh, that’s what Birthright is supposed to do. That’s what they tell you will happen when you go to Israel. I did not even believe them. But it did happen. I felt at home the instant I stepped off the plane in Tel Aviv.

Masada at sunrise

Masada at sunrise

Now I work for an organization that promotes Judaism in my city, that promotes Israel, and that helps remind people why it’s awesome to be Jewish and help each other. I have been glued to the news the last few days. Glued, you guys. I felt sick when words of rockets streaking towards Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem streaked across my screen. I can’t fathom the thought of having to sprint to a bomb shelter multiple times in a few days. The anxiety-ridden worrier inside of me can’t breathe thinking about how I would round up my animals, keep them safe, how I would keep track of my loved ones. This is happening in Israel. Way too often. Israelis (and Palestinians in Gaza, too, to be fair) are living in fear.

Women at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Women at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

This whole situation has become very real for me this time around. I know people in Israel now. I have developed a much more personal connection, deeper than I even had after Birthright, through my involvement with Israel at work. So here’s the deal. I do not care where you stand politically on the situation between Israel and Gaza. If you are a good, kind person the thought of people suffering, being in danger of dying for just being who they are, their lives being disrupted because of where they chose to make their homes, the country they love and live in being threatened to be wiped off of the map because of hatred, please just send some love, some thoughts of peace, some strength to this part of the world.

Reach

The past week the news has been full of stories of from Haiti. Bodies piling up on the streets, rescue efforts at schools abandoned because survivors at this point were unlikely, no clean water or food, crime, and general hopelessness. This picture, though, defies all that. It literally embodies the word HOPE for me. That little boy was buried for eight days under rubble, and amazing rescue workers pulled him out. Talk about second chances.

I want to do my small part and was thrilled when one of Jack and Jill’s fairly regular writers emailed me saying she felt the same way. She suggested writing an article about the children in Haiti, how they are coping with the aftermath of the earthquake, and how kids here in the U.S. can help through various organizations and charities. I hope that we’re touching kids and opening their minds with the magazine. Who knows, but I like to dream 🙂