Ten years in Jewish Renewal
Morning Cartoons, Morning Prayer

Broken world, broken heart

Sometimes reading the news makes my heart twist and my stomach sink. I don't know what to say about the horrific shooting in a Sikh gurdwara yesterday (CNN: Gunman, six others dead at Wisconsin Sikh temple). Not to mention the dreadful response of Westboro Baptist Church to the terrorist attack -- not surprising, but still depressing. This is not the America of our dreams.

I don't know what to say about the reality that as ugly anti-immigrant sentiment becomes more pervasive, Africans are routinely harrassed in Israel today. (YNet news: African diplomats in Israel: We're afraid to walk down streets.) Nor the reports of more than 50 instances last month of settlers attacking Palestinians. (Ha'aretz: Lambs to the settlers' slaughter, screaming and unheard). This is not the Israel of our dreams.

I don't know what to say about the situation in Syria. Rabbi Brant Rosen's essay Syrians Pay the Price in a Sick Proxy War is sobering. So is Marc Lynch's Preparing for Assad's Exit. I don't know enough about Syria to know whether, or how, things will get better. And these are just the posts at the top of my aggregator. Just today the Lebanon Daily Star reported a massacre which killed forty. I have no connection to Syria, but the news is pretty uniformly heartrending.

Everything I've just mentioned is huge, important, awful. Here's something tiny and grotesque: I learned this week that I've been named, along with thousands of my friends and colleagues, on a list of supposed self-hating Israel threateners. (I'm not going to link to it. Here's the Wikipedia entry about it intead.) On the one hand it's laughable. And on the other hand it's upsetting, and the fact that people chose to spend their time compiling this list makes me sad.

(The people who maintain the list are Kahanists; they're too far-out for even self-identified far-right Jews. But still. How is this a good use of anyone's heart, soul, or time?)

When I look at all of the hatred in our world today, I don't know how to find enough balm for our broken hearts. I want to hold all of this in my prayers, everyone who is suffering, everyone who has been hurt, everyone who is so damaged that they can only manage to hate and hurt others, but sometimes it's so heavy it crushes my prayers; I can't lift it up.

All I can do is close the laptop, say a prayer, and spend time with my son. What response can there be to hatred, other than teaching our children not to hate in return?