Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Back to Opinion

2015: The Year To Say No to Fear

This was the year when fear had a face,
And its own sound, an ugly drumbeat.
It flowed right through the presidential race,
Relegating all else to the back seat.

Fear of the other, fear of the unknown,
Seeped straight into the public square.
Fear of terror, foreign and homegrown,
Left a stench of hate in the air.

But through the year, from beginning to end
In Israel, the U.S. and elsewhere
Were those who sought not to scare, but to mend,
Bringing hope to a time of despair.

Who would have thought that a socialist Jew
Would draw such excitable throngs?
proved what was old could be new
As he campaigned to right all those wrongs.

Think of what happened this year for gay rights
Thank Evan Wolfson for his win in the courts.
Dustin Fleischer scored big in all his fights,
A Star of David stamped on his shorts.

As the nation debated a deal with Iran,
Pols like Jerry Nadler and Chuck Schumer
Took opposing sides, each one bent on
Separating good facts from bad rumor.

Though profiles in courage were scarce in D.C.,
Dianne Feinstein released a torture report.
Nor did fear stop Notorious RBG
From standing her ground at the high court.

As some threatened to close America’s door
There were Jews who said: Open it wide!
They welcomed the needy, the sick and the poor
Fighting a faith ban with integrity and pride.

Fifty years after a landmark accord
Improved ties between Catholic and Jew
Pope Francis showed all why he’s adored.
Some wondered: Can he be our Pope, too?

Brave writers and actors helped us explore
The new lives of the newly “Transparent.”
Thanks to Jill Soloway and Jeffrey Tambor
For redefining what is meant by grandparent.

Hurrah for the women in Israel and here
Who stood against religious repression.
Clergy and whistleblowers, straight and queer
They honored Judaism’s highest expression.

We’re in awe of those who overcame fear
To offer a live kidney donation.
Which is why Renewal deserves a big cheer
And Mendy Reiner a special citation.

There were also Jews too many to name
Who countered fear by just doing their work.
They served and taught, without pretense or shame,
Fulfilling duties that others might shirk.

When fear stalked the streets of Jerusalem,
And college campuses grew contentious,
Jews worked with others not to succumb
Striving hard for interfaith consensus.

Some deserve praise for how they bade farewell
Keeping judgment well in their sights.
We’ll miss Jon Stewart raising his hell
And Ruth Messinger, “Madonna of human rights.”

As always, the year brought too many deaths
Of people who truly do inspire.
Theo Bikel, Dolph Schayes took their last breaths.
The Sassoon family lost to a fire.

Rochelle Shoretz helped women with cancer,
Oliver Sacks’s mind was never shaken.
Sheryl Sandberg provided an answer
To grief when her husband was taken.

Here at the Forward we tried our best
To present the news without favor or fear.
From Iran to the White House, we didn’t rest
In this frightening, fascinating year.

On behalf of Kurt, Larry, Anya, Dan,
Dave, John, Nathan, Josh, Naomi, Elaine,
Adam, Sigal, Ezra, Britta, Maia, Anne,
Liza, Sarah, JJ, Lior, Teri, Thea and Jane

We thank all who read, advertise and donate,
Your support keeps us strong and alive.
Let us push away fear and instead celebrate
The lasting contributions of two-oh-one-five!

Engage

  • Events

    Haart to Haart

    Virtual

    Dec 7, 2022

    7 pm ET · 

    A conversation with Julia Haart and her son Shlomo, stars of Netflix's 'My Unorthodox Life,' about the new season and much more.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.