On the cusp of a new year

Rosh Hashana, 5769. The shofar’s haunting cry, a shuddering, piercing blast as unique and visceral as the Gaelic war pipes. It reaches into my stomach and squeezes hard, bowling me over. Why this profound physical response? Israel stands on the brink of war while the rest of the world stands indifferent at best, hostile to her survival at worst. There is no one in my family that I can talk to about this, save from my beloved Greg. I do not wish to be speaking of the growing unease that tightens its vice-like grip on my chest, shortening the intake of my breath. So many attacks on my people have occured during the major holidays- the Yom Kippur war of 1971 being only one of countless examples. And yes, MY people. Being a Jew is not just about practising (however imperfectly) a religious faith. It is cleaving to and identifying with a nation. I am not only Canadian- my other country is smaller than Vancouver Island, and has fought since day one to be allowed to exist in peace. Israel’s enemies make no secret of their desire to ‘wipe Israel off the map’. Should that possibility, G-d forbid, ever be realized, it would only be a first step to another world-wide Holocaust. Anti-semitism is on the rise. It seems that nothing we can do can stem the tidal wave of propaganda and lies flooding the media, including the internet. It is all too easy to be overcome with feelings of impotence- after all, to quote Theodin “what can one do in the face of such senseless hate?”. I know that in my own small corner of the world, I can love all within my sphere of influence. I can be the best palliative care nurse to the glory of heaven. I can sing ‘only, always for my King’. Right now I am listening to a program on Israel National radio- and I quote Tamar Yonah “evil exists only for good to overcome it”. The words leap out as a flaming reminder that despite all of the obstacles, despite these modern ‘plagues’, G-d remains ever unchanging. “Come home.”, come home to the Land. It is conceivable that Jews could be driven out of North America in the same way that they were driven out of Spain. Now that economic woes are grinding the stock markets to a halt, it will once again be so easy for the world to set its historically accusatory gaze upon the Jews. Already one of the main candidates in the Canadian electoral race has made it a focus of his political campaign to require Israel to return to “pre-1948” borders, a move that would quickly destabilize the country, exposing her to potential annihilation. The rest of the world has no idea, nor inclination to learn of the attitudes and policies taken by the major governments of the world against the ‘problem of the middle east’. Terrorist groups have been nervously placated, while the pressure continues on Israel to give more and more ‘concessions’. Where does it all end? May comfort come to the land. May the King of Heaven once more set the City of David as a light upon the hill. May we once more be a “light unto the Nations”.

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