Thursday, October 30, 2014

Only Two Degrees of Separation

This morning, when we awoke to the shocking news of the assassination attempt against Rabbi Yehuda Glick, I had to wonder if my babysitter would be coming to our house as scheduled, tonight.

And then I had to stop, pause, and shake my head at the incongruity of our lives, and the preposterous and seemingly insurmountable tasks put before us, the Jewish people in Israel. And the inability, living here, to ever be more than two degrees of separation away from most events.

How many times have you had to wonder if your babysitter, whose uncle was nearly killed by an assassination attempt, would be able to make it? How many times have you had to explain to your 3 year old that his best friend’s uncle was shot last night by bad people and that he should be extra nice to his friend? Then, when dropping off our beautiful 3 year old at school, had to explain to the teacher that the rabbi who was shot was the uncle of a sweet little boy in her class? I hope, for your sake, that you have not had to do such things.

Is that really the world in which we live?

Midmorning, after davening for Yehuda Yehoshua ben Itta Breina to have a complete recovery, and after checking my Facebook feed twelve thousand times, and after writing to my dear friend and neighbor, Haya Shames (Yehuda’s brother), I checked with my babysitter. I wanted to reassure her that she didn’t have to come – that she could deal with the things in her life that were larger than my babysitting needs.

But in perfect fashion to her upbringing, in exactly the style to which the Glicks have raised their six children, and my friend Haya has raised hers, my babysitter said that she would still be coming. That she would follow through on her commitment.

With that behind us, we spent the day learning more about Rabbi Glick. Haya reports that her brother has a gentle soul, that he is the father to six of his own children and to EIGHT foster children. The news reports that Rabbi Glick founded and heads Haliba Initiative for Jewish Freedom on the Temple Mount. He wants the Temple Mount to be free for people of all religions to come to and pray.


It was here, at the Temple Mount, where we believe Gd brought Adam to life, that Avraham almost sacrificed Isaac and that King David bought the rights to build the Temple. The first Temple stood here in 957 BCE and the Second Temple rose here in 518 BCE. It is our holiest site on Earth.

And yet, Rabbi Glick doesn’t deny that it’s also holy to Muslims and to Christians, as this video illustrates.


And he doesn’t say that the Temple Mount should be only for Jews – but that all people, of all faiths, should have fair and equal access.

And last night, he was shot three times at point blank range for his opinions – for his beliefs – for his desires – for his commitments.

And while he recovers (please Gd) in Jerusalem, the Arab riots continue. As of late they have been rioting on the Temple Mount, rioting in East Jerusalem, destroying our new light rail system wherever they can, throwing Molotov cocktails at passing cars and people and calling (yet again and again and again) for Israel’s destruction.

Where, shall I ask yet again, are our “partners” for peace? Today, when the Temple Mount was closed to all for security and safety reasons, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of “a declaration of war on the Palestinian people.” Trying to murder a Jewish citizen isn’t, but closing the mosque as a result of his attempted murder, by an Arab, is considered a declaration of war. And now, tomorrow, they are calling for a “Day of Rage.”

Where, oh where, are our partners for peace? Where are those who would sit down at the table with Rabbi Glick and with so many others like him and listen to his ideas, his ways of creating coexistence, of following through on dreams and commitments?

Silly me - they are preparing their arsenal for tomorrow.

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Please pray for a speedy and complete recovery for Yehuda Yehoshua ben Itta Breina. May he and his family know no more sorrow and may we find a way to live in peace, in our Homeland, some day.

Romi Sussman
Neve Daniel, Israel




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