It's been a terrible few weeks. Rockets and missiles. Sirens and invasion. Hundreds of civilians dead, dozens of soldiers gone. The endless checking of news sites and Facebook feeds. The endless worrying. How are our friends and family? Are the safe? Are they suffering? Is this just the latest round? Will this ever end?
And beyond the fighting, our Israel is wracked with angry mobs on the streets, Israeli v. Israeli, incitement, price tag, terror. My friend and colleague Rachel Liel wrote to me this morning about Israeli Arab citizens being fired from their jobs around the country, a story that isn't even in the media yet. What is happening to this place we love?
It's almost too much. It's hard to hold it all. It's easy, tempting even, to despair. But at times like these it's always good to remember your Heschel. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote that, for the Jewish people, the greatest sin and the most unaffordable luxury is despair. We have no time for it. We can't afford it.
And for me, right now, the best antidote to despair are the thousands of Israelis who, even as the fighting rages, are working to push back against the forces of racism, incitement and intolerance. Who, even as the missiles fall, are working to make sure that the most marginalized Israelis have shelter and support. Who are doing the difficult work of monitoring human rights during wartime, a thankless task that is absolutely critical for a liberal democracy to function. Who are working to build a shared society based on shared bonds of citizenship between all Israelis, Arabs and Jews.
Their work is often under the radar and absent from the headlines, but these Israelis are heroes to me. They are the NIF community, and I am incredibly proud to stand with and support them at this critical hour. They are a light in the darkness, and a reason for hope.