I am in the Adirondacks at the moment, staring at the lake from the porch of our cabin and listening to NPR’s All Things Considered on the radio. The just-ended lengthy report on hostilities near Gaza could not be clearer: for the moment, at least, no one is interested in a cease fire. I have been spending much of the day following the news on the web sites of Israeli newspapers (and even a few from the Arab world). No-one’s take is much different.
Israel initiated its actions because of long simmering frustrations that, in the wake of the Hamas-cheered kidnapping of the three Israeli youths, rose to a boil. Rocket attacks from Gaza – over 100 today – pound southern Israel while Israel’s own air attacks have resulted in many casualties, though many appear to be caused by Hamas’ deliberate occupation of places where civilians are located. Yes, like everything in this conflict, it’s complex. But Israel’s frustration is, to say the least, understandable.
I’ve been in touch with our friends at Kibbutz Erez, right on the Gaza border, where you may recall my daughter Molly and I spent several days during the last armed conflict with Gaza. Depending upon how things unfold in the days ahead, I may ask for volunteers to head there with me for a couple of days to help with the work normally done by those who are reservists (a huge percentage of adults) have been called up to active duty. There is real work to be done and our presence is always and genuinely appreciated. (Especially if you know how to milk a cow!)
For the moment, what can we do? I have two suggestions.
First, virtually every Jewish organization has a special drive going on to help with special needs caused by the current turmoil. Give however you prefer, though I would particularly urge a gift to the special campaign of our federation, at www.jfedgmw.org. I find giving as a community especially meaningful. Links to other possibilities are below.
Second, pray for calm and peace and especially, as the Bible says, “for the peace of Jerusalem,” for an enduring and real peace. We Jews do this whenever we gather for worship. How great the rejoicing shall surely be, when that prayer is answered.