Lab/Shul Presents: PREPENT 2017/5778
40 Circles of Return
High Holy Days Blog 2017/5778
August 23rd — September 30th
In an August 15 speech, the President of the United States equated actual American Nazis with liberal counter-protestors. Throughout his campaign and his nascent administration, President Donald Trump has ideologically and materially aided neo-Nazis and other hate groups with anti-Semitic goals and values.
As I have every August in recent years, I am busy preparing my children to return to school. While I am excited for them to continue learning and growing, I can’t help but think about the millions of children—especially girls—in other parts of the world who are denied the right to an education. Tragically, many are forced to marry at a young age, confined to a life of arduous household work and caring for babies of their own.
The process of the dehumanization of Zionists — which in this context (and most contexts) is interchangeable with Jew — has been a long one in our current culture. It has existed as an idea within the ranks of the KKK since its early days and continues today in various corners of the political spectrum. It’s what happens when both Jews and Israelis are not viewed as human beings but political abstractions whose very existence is socially unacceptable and deserving of contempt. To counter such thinking, we have to not only be vocal in counter-protests but make sure that Zionism does not become socially taboo in our political and social discourses. To allow this is to be an enabler of the vile acts we witnessed this weekend. More importantly, when we talk about Israelis — as with any human being — our conversations must capture the fullness of their humanity; and to be human is to be at times vulnerable and insecure; imperfect and yet full of aspirations, ambitions, and the idiosyncrasies that make us the impossible, interesting creatures that we all are — worthy of redemption.