A quote from Charles Dickens "A Tale of Two Cities" resonated with me these past few days with the nearing of Tisha B'Av, as it captures the complexity and the prevailing sentiment in Israeli society at this time.
Each "side" perceives the other "side" with a significant polarization:
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us."
The last two months has brought a lot of challenges to Israeli and Jewish society. Trying to find the right balance within conversations became debates which then becomes disputes. As Tisha B'av (the ninth of month of Av, a day we commemorate the destruction of the first and second Temple) begins, we find ourselves contemplating the potentially catastrophic consequences that may arise. However, we must also recognize that it presents a significant opportunity: we can no longer afford to disregard the existing problems; instead, we must confront and address them together.
Amidst the difficulty and fear brought on by recent events, I firmly believe that despair is not a solution, it’s not an action plan. I understand that each of you experiences this reality differently. Some of you may have a lot to say on the subject, while others might have distinct perspectives or choose not to engage with it at all. However, on a day of mourning, when Israeli society faces one of its most complex challenges, I feel compelled to reach out and share my thoughts. If you wish, I am open to dialogue, discussion, meeting, and contemplating together.
The road ahead is long, but I’m sure and full of hope and optimism for what is to come. Our people stood strong to face many challenges throughout the years and once more we need to be there for each other, to offer an open ear, a warm hug, and no judgment.
I wish you, and all of us, a very meaningful Tisha B'av,
United Jewish Federation
Community Shaliach (Emissary)