Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Today I Pray and Weep

When I was about 5 years old, I was told that I wasn't welcome at the house of one of the kids in my neighborhood because I was Jewish.

I tell my kids this story and it seems unbelievable to them that something like that could happen so recently and so close to home. It seemed amazing to me too and I was proud to tell them about how far the world had come in such a short amount of time.

I was wrong.

Today there is a war going on in Israel. A war with casualties on both sides. And that is very sad.

I am so sad. And scared. And confused.

I don't understand how so many people, ranging from CNN to the Toronto Sun, don't seem to understand what is going on over there. How are they so quick to point the finger at Israel being the "bad guy" in all of this?

When they report on schools and hospitals in Gaza being bombed, do they explain that they were bombed because there were tons of Hamas rockets hidden inside?

When they report on the number of civilians killed, do they explain that Hamas is using them as human shields and telling them not to go to bomb shelters?

When they report on the number of rockets being fired on Gaza, do they report on the number of rockets being fired from Gaza?

When they report on the Palestinians being "prisoners" in their own land, why don't they also talk about the Israelis also being prisoners in their own land...now that Hamas has effectively alienated them from the rest of the world by causing the main airport to be shut down?

When they report on the lack of aid from Israel to the injured Palestinians, why don't they report on the other Arab nations' lack of aid, especially Syria, their "biggest" supporter, denying Palestinian refugees entry?

When they report on Israel's "crimes against humanity", do they also report on the fact that Israel is the only democratic country in the Middle East, the only Middle Eastern country that has religious freedom, the only Middle Eastern country that treats women as equals?

When they report on Israel's reluctance to stop firing rockets, do they also report on the fact that Hamas refuses to stop firing rockets?

When they report on Israel's ground offensive in Gaza do they also report on the swarms of Hamas soldiers in miles and miles of tunnels below Gaza and Israel, with many of those tunnels ending below the kitchens of Israeli homes?

When they report on the hundreds of Palestinians killed in the past month, do they also report that the same number of civilians, many of them also Palestinian, have been murdered by Syria in the past week?

When they report on the reasons Israel should stop fighting, do they also report on the fact that if Israel stopped fighting, Israel would cease to exist?

When they report of the lack of compassion from Jews towards the Palestinian casualties, do they also report on the pro-Palestinian rallies taking place around the world where Israeli flags are burned while flags with swastikas are being waived?

Do they report on the fact that #HitlerWasRight and other horrible anti-Semitic hashtags are trending on Twitter?

Do they report on the fact that anti-Semitic acts around the world are escalating at an exponential rate?

Do they report on the fact that Israelis and Jews around the world have been fighting for their existence for more than 6000 years while the rest of the world looks on with hate?

Do they talk to Holocaust survivors who will tell you that they only reason they are alive today is because Israel took them in when every other country, including Canada and the States, turned them away? That Israel is the only place on the planet where a Jew can (used to) feel safe?

That if Israel ceases to exist, which will happen if they give in to the irrational demands of Hamas and the media, there will literally be no safe place for a Jew in this world?

Less than one year ago, I was in Paris. While there, I visited the Holocaust memorial museum that had been constructed by the French Government as an apology for how they had treated the Jewish people during the war. More specifically, the French were apologizing for the fact that they handed over hundreds of Jewish children to the Nazis, knowing what was to become of them.

I wept that day as I walked up and down the labyrinth of walls commemorating the thousands and thousands of French Jews who were murdered. I wept as I came across at least a dozen of those victims having the same last name as me: Hochberg. I wept as I saw images of how Jews were treated, how their homes were burned, their business destroyed. Of how they were spit on, demoralized, ostracized, and ultimately, murdered, while the world stood by and watched.

Today I weep for another reason. I weep not for the past but for the present. I weep because it's all happening again. I weep because the Paris I loved less than a year ago no longer exists. It is now a place that hates me and my kind, a place that is destroying Jewish businesses and synagogues. It is a place where its Jewish citizens are being evacuated from and fleeing to Israel for relative safety...yet again.

Today I weep because not only is the world standing by and watching these atrocities, the world is actively participating in these atrocities.

And for what? What did I, as a Jewish woman do that makes you hate me so much?

Today I weep because I am afraid. I am afraid because increasingly, I feel that there is no safe place for me. On the entire planet.

Today I weep because I am afraid and sad for my children. I was hopeful that the world had changed and that they were to be the first generation, ever, that didn't have to experience the extreme hate and fear that is Anti-Semitism.

That is not the case.

How long until parents don't want me teaching their children because I am Jewish? How long until my children lose friends because they are Jewish? How long until my friends and family in Toronto lose business because they are Jewish?

Today I weep as I pray for peace. As I pray for the safety of my children here in Canada, the citizens of Israel, and for Jews around the world.

Today I pray that the world will finally start to understand our side of the story.

Please. For the sake of our children.


  1. Thank you for your most eloquent summary of the abysmal situation the world is in. I stand with Israel.

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