I dropped a note off for our neighbors the other day because I knew they had received some terrible news and I wanted them to feel loved and supported through a difficult time.
I don’t know them well, but I think about them from time to time when I pass by.
My neighbors are the Moses Montefiore Congregation, and their synagogue is located right down the street from my house. I want them to know they have friends in the neighborhood who support them.
You don’t have to be a Zionist to condemn Hamas’ attack last Saturday in Israel. You just have to be human.
By striking sleeping civilians with a savagery that left dead babies in its wake, Hamas damned the very people they claimed to champion. They doomed those poor, trapped Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip to the outraged response of the Israeli military.
More than a thousand people have died in Israel so far as a result of the Hamas attack. More than a thousand people have died in Gaza so far as a result of the Israeli response. And those numbers will only climb in the coming days.
What can we do?
I experienced a profound moment in Israel several years ago when I stood with my sister and my mom at the Mount of Beatitudes at the exact moment sirens wailed throughout the country in honor of Holocaust Remembrance Day. Israel comes to a standstill on this day each year – vehicles literally stop in the street and people get out to stand and honor the six million Jewish people who were killed during that terrible time.
The Mount of Beatitudes is a sacred place for Christians because it is where Jesus delivered his Sermon of the Mount, which resulted in these eight beatitudes:
· Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
· Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
· Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
· Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
· Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
· Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.
· Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
· Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
We experienced another profound moment on that trip in the West Bank, when our Palestinian guide sang “Silent Night” with us while we stood near the cave where Jesus was born.
I hurt for both Jewish and Palestinian people, and I pray for peace and for all victims of war and violence.
The Prayer of St. Francis comes to mind, but you don’t even have to be religious to be a channel of peace.
You just have to love your neighbor as yourself.
I’d like to think we can all do that.