Before There Is Nowhere to Stand
Revised Mincha/Maariv/Havdalah siddur

Balm to my heart: Israelis celebrate Shavuot with African kids in Tel Aviv

I follow Mya Guarnieri on twitter, so when her post at +972 -- After race riots, Israelis celebrate holiday with African kids -- went live, I read it immediately. (The race riots in question happened last week in Tel Aviv -- I wrote about them in my post For you were strangers in the land of Egypt.) Here's an excerpt from Mya's latest essay:

After last week’s race riots, the mood in the area is dark, tense, pessimistic. While our conversations took place in public, a number of Africans told me that they are scared “even right now.” These were grown men who were frightened for their physical safety on busy streets in broad daylight.

So I was moved to see a couple of bright spots in the area. The Garden Library -- the initiative of local NGOs, including Mesila -- was up and running yesterday. Asylum seekers and migrant workers were perusing the books while Israeli volunteers played with African and Filipino children.

In the grass to the side of the Garden Library, a small group of Jewish Israelis and the children of African asylum seekers marked Shavuot by reading the Book of Ruth together in Hebrew...

This sign reminds that while racism and xenophobia are huge problems in Israel society, there are some Jewish Israelis who oppose hatred of foreigners (photo: Mya Guarnieri)

The whole piece is very much worth reading.

After posting a link to her essay, Mya tweeted "Caveat to last tweet: that bright moment does not mitigate or whitewash, in any way, the prevailing racism in Israeli society." In response, I tweeted back saying "Bright moment doesn't change underlying issues, but it does my heart good."

Mya's bio on +972 tells me that she's working with an agent on a book about migrant workers in Israel. I can't wait to read it.