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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Shabbat reflection on the Gaza Withdrawal

I’ve read a lot of news this week. A lot. In between projects I obsessively check the BBC, the New York Times, and Google News to see what is going on in Gaza. I read about the settlers leaving peacefully, the settlers being taken from synogogues, the settlers carrying the torahs to the buses.

Tonight I started to cry the first time we said the Shema. I have spent the week reading, reading, reading about Gaza. Feeling seperate from those Jews. Feeling seperate from Jews who wrap tefellin and couldn’t leave the land. THen tonight I quit feeling seperate from them. How painful to be in a resettlement hotel or apartment tonight. To have left a community–whether it was right or wrong isn’t the question tonight, it was their community. To sit for your first shabbat dinner somewhere new.

To have to dig and dig to find your shabbat candles and kiddush cup. To try and find the rest of your community to pray with. To not have your synogogue to pray in. Yes, I understand that time is sacred and not space. That you don’t need a synogogue to pray. But to lose that along with everything else.

I cried through Shalom Rav and the Amida. I felt so blessed to be in my shul, with my community, the place I go every Friday night. I felt torn because I know that Jews in Isreal are uprooted right now. I felt all the welled up emotion from being steeped in the news coverage all week come out. It is okay to cry for them, it is okay to cry with them. Losing your home is always difficult, moving is always stressful. Being removed? I can’t imagine.

So I just cried and said the same prayers they were saying.

ANd the Parsha this week–Moses finding out, for real this time, that he is REALLY not getting into the promised land. God tell him to climb a high mountain and look in all directions, that he will glimpse the promised land. Instead of a SERMON, we had a discussion about it. One woman said, “God didn’t just tell Moses to go up on the mountain and look ONLY at the Promised Land, but to look in every direction. Then he came and lectured the Israelites to do the mitzvot as they had been taught. Maybe the lesson is that it doesn’t matter if you are in the Promised Land, it matters what you do.”

Which is a thing I like about Judaism. First of all–devar aher, another interpretation. Second of all–do. Don’t “do” for a reward, do that you may learn, do because it is right. Not for a payoff, not for entry into the promised land or heaven, but because you should.

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