Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Raise Your Voice

It has been over six months since Gilad Shalit was taken captive by Hamas and Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were taken captive by Hizbullah. All three young men have celebrated their birthdays in captivity. We have not yet received a sign of life.

I find it disquieting that life goes on as normal in this country. You almost never hear about the missing boys and you see few, if any, posters or bumper stickers calling for their return. It is cold and rainy in this region and I cannot begin to fathom what the conditions are like where each of the boys are being held captive. It is easy to become depressed and even complacent about the seemingly hopeless situation. In those moments, I return to a powerful message I heard this past summer.

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, the Chief Rabbi of England, spoke at my synagogue in Los Angeles this past year on Tisha B'av (a day commemorating the destruction of the first and second Temples, as well as many other Jewish calamities). Rabbi Sacks, on what is known as 'the saddest day in Jewish history,' spoke about the indomitable spirit of hope which is embedded in the Jewish people. He traced this quality as far back as the biblical figures of Yaakov and Rachel, respectively. When Yaakov is (falsely) informed of Yosef's death, his children come to comfort him, but Yaakov refused to comfort himself, "va'yema'ein l'hitnachem."

Similarly, in the book of Jeremiah, it says that Rachel, weeping over the exile of her 'children,' refused to be consoled, "mei'anah l'hinachem." Both Yaakov and Rachel simply refused to capitulate, to be comforted, and would not give up hope, despite the desperate and dire circumstances. Rabbi Sacks developed this point and weaved it through Jewish history, explaining that this quality of hope -even in the worst circumstances- is a uniquely Jewish characteristic. (So much so, that our national anthem is entitled "HaTikva," "The Hope")

I recently overheard two friends discussing the fate of the captive soldiers. They were debating whether or not the boys are still alive. I believe it is not the time or place to debate such questions. We must continue to hope and pray that as G-d responded to Rachel, He will respond similarly now "... they will return from the enemy's land. There is hope for your future... and your children will return to their border."
Aside from hope and prayer, we must raise our voices in an effort to return the captives. Below is a website that is devoted to bringing the soldiers back. There is a petition, there are form letters to send to congressmen and there is a moving video of Karnit Goldwasser (Ehud's wife) pleading with us to make a difference....


(Gilad Shalit, Eldad Regev, Ehud Goldwasser)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

leprachauns on the loose

leprachaun: (irish mythology) a type of elf said to inhabit the island of ireland

these leprachauns, clad in native colors green and orange, escaped to make a brief foray down their friend's aisle in closters, ny. [mazal tov shira and h!]
shortly thereafter, they returned to their true home... jerusalem, israel