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Return to Never Never Land

Continuing the conversation on kids and Israel

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(Photoillustration by Tablet Magazine; poster from Boston Public Library.)

So, my week was kinda crazy; how was yours?

I knew that my column last week about my ambivalence toward Israel would generate a lot of debate. I did not know I would be called a “vapid ignoramus,” a terrible mother, a “spoilt” consumerist, a “knucklehead,” and a “hypocrite” whose passivity helped cause the Holocaust. There were also repeated references to my Upper East Side, latte-swilling, Palestine-loving dinner parties, to which I did not respond because I was out buying caviar and berating my chauffeur.

Seriously: I was upset by the name-calling. But now that I’ve read and digested all the comments, I can see the makings of a genuine conversation amid the nuggets of abuse flung like monkey poo. I want to have a conversation. And so should the Jewish establishment, if its leaders are interested in keeping America’s non-Orthodox Jewish young people connected to Israel.

Here are some of the repeated threads that came up in comments, by email, and on Facebook last week, with my responses.

You think the Palestinians are blameless!

A lot of people were disgusted by my (or rather, my daughter’s) bus analogy, that Jews have no more of a right to Israel than someone who gives up his or her seat on a bus and comes back much later to reclaim the same seat. A commenter named Andy said a better analogy would be: I was thrown off my bus; for years I ran alongside the bus trying to get back on; I finally said I’d share my seat but the rest of the riders refused even that and attacked me; yet every time I push back, the world calls me a bully. Other readers said they got the impression I demonized Israelis and thought Palestinians were as guiltless as fluffy newborn kittens.

My response: I emphatically do not think the Palestinians (and, more importantly, their leaders and their neighbors) are blameless in this conflict. That would be naive. But I do think the story of contemporary Israel is not a story of simple victimization.

You didn’t mention that Zionism isn’t a monolith!

Several readers pointed out how diverse a movement Zionism has always been. Said Neal: “Ahad Ha’am, Hannah Arendt and Martin Buber, self-described spiritual Zionists, wrote thoughtfully about concerns about what nationalism would bring, especially when statehood would lead to displacement of an indigenous population. I have found it really helpful to read some of their writings, to understand that there was debate long before the establishment of the State.” Other readers mentioned their support for liberal Zionist organizations like the New Israel Fund , Americans for Peace Now, and J Street, as well as Israeli Jewish groups such as B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.

My response: I definitely should have mentioned the Israeli and American Jewish groups working toward a Zionism that embraces my values. Last week Carlo Strenger, a professor of psychology at Tel Aviv University, wrote an essay in Haaretz and pointed out that there have always been competing threads in Zionist thought and ideology. “There was Theodor Herzl’s liberal Zionism; Ahad Ha’am’s and Judah Magnes’ cultural Zionism,” he wrote. “Socialist Zionism initially carried the day, dominating Israeli politics for the country’s first three decades. In the remaining decades revisionist Zionism took over, fused with the messianic Zionism that gave religious significance to land and none to human rights.” My portrayal of Zionism was too reductive.

Here’s how to teach your kids!

These were my favorite comments. Linda said, “Rather than getting caught up in liberal/conservative politics, I’d like to reframe the question around teaching and learning. We all want our children to be critical thinkers, to question the ads they see on TV, the bias in newspapers and in the media, and what’s written on their cereal boxes. Critical thinking is a thoroughly Jewish trait. Avraham avinu models it for us when he gives God a hard time on the Sodom/Gomorrah destruction. Our texts call us B’nai Yisrael, the descendants of the one who wrestled with God. God, Torah, and Israel–the big three of Jewish philosophy. Why should the subject of the Jewish state be exempt from scrutiny, unlike the other two elements of the triad?” Indeed, if I’ve been religious (and I have) about teaching my kids media literacy and critical reasoning, why can’t I encourage them to grapple with Israel?

Other readers pointed out that I could tell my kids that loving Israel doesn’t mean endorsing all its leaders and actions; most used the United States as an example. A reader named Vicki pointed out, “You can most definitely love the State of Israel without loving the government of Israel, just as you can love Kentucky without loving Rand Paul.” Malka added, “What do you tell your kids about Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney or Arizona’s new immigration law? Good countries often do bad things. Good people live in those countries.” Her suggestion: Befriend liberal Israelis and visit liberal cities like Tel Aviv and Haifa, where I might meet mothers who belong to Mahsom Watch (a movement of Israeli women peace activists), and Orthodox feminists.

Another reader, Elisheva, had many superb suggestions for liberal parents: “Read Yossi Sarid’s open letter at the dining room table and say why you agree with parts of it or disagree with other parts,” she offered. “Listen to Israeli pop music, which addresses emotional and political stances as varied as the spectrum of its listeners. Donate to organizations that help Israel grow into the aspects of itself you love most, and tell your kids about those causes. Now that Josie is 8 and the black-and-white years are receding, be comfortable expressing love alongside of ambivalence—even love alongside disapproval, sometimes—about Israel, just as you can tell your children, ‘I love you because you’re my child, even though I’m really mad at your awful behavior just this minute.’ ” I adored her conclusion: “If we tell our kids to love Israel because it’s perfect, they will fall out of love when they mature; but if we teach them to love Israel maturely, with all it’s imperfections, they can build lifelong relationship with Israel that will make us joyful instead of making us cringe.”

My response: Yes! I’ve talked to Josie and Maxine about Manifest Destiny and slavery in the United States, the beginnings of the labor movement, the fact that women didn’t always have the vote—why haven’t I talked about the disappointing side of Israel? Why can’t I ask their religious school to discuss Israel in a less jingoistic way? As one Facebook commenter said, “We need to totally revamp supplemental Jewish education for school-age children into a serious and integrative curriculum on Israel and a host of other areas of contemporary Jewish life.” Also right. As I said in the first piece, my big parental sin here has been topic-avoidance.

You suck!

Well, there were too many of these sentiments to count, but a reader named JAF distilled the high points pretty well: “[S]omehow in your twisted and erratic liberal mind, the Jews never had the same right to return to their land that the Palestinians have to return to theirs?!! Never mind the fact that the Jews were butchered, tortured, and sold into slavery in Roman times. Or that the Palestinians willingly left the boundaries of the Jewish state in 1948 at the behest of their Arab leadership, or the fact that for 62 years the Jews are the ones making tangible sacrifices for peace. Can’t let actual facts and history get in the way of a nice liberal screed which endears you to the Black Panthers, International ANSWR [an umbrella group of leftist organizations, many fiercely critical of Israel], and the readership of the Nation on the Upper East Side! I eagerly anticipate your further articles on how as a liberal you can support Hamas throwing their political opponents off of tall buildings in Gaza; how the Iranians stone adulterous women to death (and hang enemies of the state); how Fatah has burned synagogues in the West Bank; how the Saudis beat men and women for holding hands in public; how Palestinians send their children to battle camps learning how to blow up civilian buses.”

My response: That covers most of the you-traitorous-bimbo bases. Thanks!

Israel sucks!

There were only a few of these, but they’re worth sharing: “I guess I must be a self-hating Jew because the truth is I am pretty steadfastly anti-Zionist and feel that Israel probably shouldn’t even exist,” wrote Miriam. “There, I said it. I guess what I’m saying is I don’t think it should ever have been called ‘A Jewish State’ and I certainly don’t think there should be any country anywhere where laws codify a national religion.”

My response: Yikes. The United Nations proclaimed Israel’s right to exist; it’s a no-backsies kind of situation, to invoke playground rules. You don’t get to un-exist it. And remember, this land is, historically and not just mythically, where Jews came from. Finally, look at it in post-Holocaust historical perspective (yes, I just invoked the Holocaust, the perennial Jewish we-suffered-most trump card, but I swear I’m doing it in a historically illustrative way rather than in a conversation-ending, we-win way), when much of the world felt pretty cruddy about those piles of corpses and those ships of homeless Jews being shuttled from port to port, not being allowed to land. Perhaps fittingly, the Jewish state was born of guilt. But I’ll restate it: I absolutely believe in Israel’s right to exist, and I wish you did, too.

What this all adds up to: Despite the sneers about my naiveté, I still want to see equal rights in Israel. (If you will it, it is no dream! I heard that somewhere!) I do understand that having a Jewish state that is not a right-wing theocracy can seem like a hard-to-achieve balancing act. But as some readers reminded me, it hasn’t always been thus. We liberals shouldn’t give up, and we shouldn’t tune out. Sticking one’s fingers in one’s ears and singing “la la la I can’t hear you” when uncomfortable subjects are raised is annoying when done by children and irresponsible when done by parents of any political persuasion.

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Amanda C. says:

Way to go, Marjorie. So glad to see you take a deep breath, de-escalate the hysterical tone, and continue to develop this discussion in order to refine your (and your readers’) POV on this important subject. Amidst all the screaming there are indeed some fine points, suggestions, and resources for those of us who are actively looking for ways to confront our own ambivalence in order to be good Jews and good parents. Your courage and honesty in writing this piece have been very helpful to me and I really appreciate your loving, messy, personal take on the topic.

susan says:

Still don’t understand what you’re for and against. Are you for right of return? Do you want one state or two? Do you accept Israel as a Jewish state? The answers to these questions will determine how much you can be against Israel’s policies. Which policies are you against? If the Arabs who are currently living in Israel become a 5th column, what would you propose Israel to do? Just saying you’re against Israeli policies doesn’t tell us what you would do, it just makes you more acceptable to other people who don’t really care what happens to Israel.

Everyone wants rights for all but there are tradeoffs. Should the US allow anyone who wants to immigrate to immigrate? We are having similar issues re Arizona. It’s easy to be against the Arizonans but no one is coming up with solutions for the 1000s of Mexicans who are walking over the border every day with impunity.

Read the book, “Coming Together, Coming Apart: A Memoir of Heartbreak and Promise in Israel” by Daniel Gordis. This book tells you how Israeli policy makers wrestle with every decision that they make and how hard it is to do balance the security needs of Israel with what may appear to be the humane thing to do via the Palestinians.

Great follow up to last week’s column.

Kim Phillips says:

Fabulous follow-up. And Elisheva rocks.

Thank you for these two thoughtful pieces on a subject that hasn’t received enough attention. The typical response of the establishment voices is, “You shouldn’t feel this way” which is how they responded to Jay Michelson’s piece in the Forward as well. You found that place where the personal meets our communal policies.

The reality is that our fundraising/propaganda machine worked for a long time but it’s not working the same way any more. It was appropriate for those early days, but it rings hollow for many now. Today the Jewish community needs to pivot to a more thoughtful approach to discussing and engaging with Israel. It is great that new organizations such as The iCenter are starting to re-think how Israel is taught throughout our institutions generally to make sure that we aren’t avoiding the topic.

Thank you for leading the way in this important conversation.

Katie says:

Kudos to you, Marjorie, for your graciousness in continuing this conversation. I too loved Elisheva’s comments! And I appreciate the ongoing effort to delve into the nuance of the Israel-Palestine situation. I admire both your thick skin and your big-hearted commitment to this topic. Thank you.

Marc says:

Nothing has changed. You still are a naive moron who understands zero about politics or the middle east. There – I said it. You are stupid and unfortuatnely are given a platform to expound your utterly unsophisticated views upon the public and give them a figleaf of legitamacy. I’m not even telling you which side I support- just taht you ought tos tiuck to topics that you know something about.

I appreciate this thoughtful follow-up from Ms. Ingall, but I think she is missing the reason why she attracted such a vitriolic (and in a few inexcusable cases, ad hominem) response to her original piece, which is that she signaled very clearly that she finds Israel at best a matter of indifference (saying that sheisn’t moved by the Israeli flag) and even a matter of embarrassment (saying she’d no sooner attend an Israel Independence Day parade than a Justine Bieber concert). For those of us who DO care about Israel, such an attitude (or perhaps it is merely a pose) from a Jewish journalist writing for a Jewish publication is of course going to be infuriating, quite apart from the content of any specific criticism of Israel (which no sensible person can avoid).

e. tamar says:

thanks again, m, for continuing this Very Important discussion. you are incredibly graceful in your handling of all those insane poo flingers.
a traitorous bimbo would probably not bother to think about any of this in the first place, no?

Sarah says:

Way to go, Margie! I found both the original piece and the response very thoughtful. I’ve been to Israel with my kids, and while we all loved the country and felt very connected to it, we have many critical (and tough) discussions of Israel’s leaders, politics, and policies. (I lived below you in Matthews and wish I’d gotten to know you better then!)

Robin says:

Wait, what exactly is your objection to a disentangling of religion/ethnicity and the state?

This is what I urged you to consider more deeply in my response to your last article. I hope you do not regard supremacist ideology as indispensable, or at least that your reasoning goes beyond “no-backsies”.

But why is Israel the exception here? Or do you support the idea of Islamic states, or racial-supremacist White states, to name other examples?

Sarah — email me!

Robin Margolis says:

Dear Marjorie:

This is Robin No. 2 — there is another Robin commenting. I commend again your honesty. I would respectfully caution you on the apparent idea that Israel will continue to evolve like the United States, as a basically democractic state with a some serious flaws.

Israeli population studies show that one-third of all Israeli Jewish kindergarten children are ultra-Orthodox Haredim. They will be at least 37% of all Israeli ews in three decades.

They have made it very clear that once they are the majority of all Israeli Jews, they will institute what I call a “halachic state,” similar to the Muslim Islamic states ruled by sharia law. You should warn your kids that there may come a day –may G-d avert it — when American Jews will have to step away from Israel and disengage.

I greatly admire the learning and piety of many Hasidim. But their radical factions are gaining power and have tied up the Israeli riot police for weeks attacking them..

I do not believe that you could, in all conscience, support a “halachic state.” In areas where the radical Haredi factions dominate, women are now forced to ride in the backs of buses, for “modesty.”

I respectfully suggest that you encourage your children to keep a close eye on Israel but to remain realistic.

Robin Margolis

Art Vandelay says:

You say that you want Israel to exist. But if you insist on separating your family from Israel, the country can’t exist. Israel is a democracy, which means it’s only as good as you want it to be. Keep “protecting” your children from Israel and they won’t be able to have the same vibrant discussion about the Jewish homeland that you are. Israel will be a historical footnote at that point.

As you explore how to introduce your children to their homeland, I ask you to be open minded. You know that right-wing groupthink that disturbs you so much about Israeli politics? The left-wing groups you mention are guilty of the same narrow-minded attitude. Be as skeptical of J Street as you are of AIPAC.

Zelda says:

To Marc,
See, that’s the thing – Marjorie is a Jew, a very committed and devoted one who is wrestling (as you also should be) with the most fundamental issues, which affect all of us, to a greater or lesser extent. Where do you live, Marc? If push comes to shove, will it be you or your children who pay the price for irresponsible political decisions? I live here – in the eye of the storm, as it were, and I say – let the debates continue!
Zelda (Herzliya)

Bianca says:

To Martin BG,

Like Marjorie, I cringe at the idea of going to a local Yom Ha’atzma’ut concert etc. The reason is the brainless gushing that goes on. I have no interest in giving my time and energy to such a vacuous enterprise.

Does that mean you can suddenly assume that I believe Israel should not exist? Of course not! That I am “indifferent” to it? Certainly not!! It’s wellbeing is certainly of importance to me (but what I am hearing lately does not exactly fill my heart with joy…)

Marjorie – keep your chin up!

Happy and Proud says:

Your responses said nothing about educating yourself or your children about Jewish history. Have you read any of the books or websites –, Dershowitz, etc. – suggested? If you haven’t expanded your knowledge base, you will continue to operate from the same state of ignorance.

Why do you refuse to learn Jewish history?

Lizzie says:

This is a great follow up. I was pretty disgusted by some of the responses you got last time, but really pleased by Elishava and some of the others.

Still, it’s depressing to see posts like Happy and Proud’s “Why do you refuse to learn Jewish history?” Nothing could be further from the truth I know about you, that you’ve expressed in this column over and over.

Miriam says:

Hmmm, i guess i'[m honored you chose to end your follow-up quoting my admittedly offhand comment about not getting why israel exists at all.. I actually am really really curious to know your answers to two of the previous commenters’ questions that I think state well why I have a hard time understanding a support of Israel as it stands as a jewish state… I’d really appreciate it it if in Paart 3 (if there will be one) you addressed these questions:

Susan> Are you for right of return? Do you want one state or two? Do you accept Israel as a Jewish state?

Robin> Wait, what exactly is your objection to a disentangling of religion/ethnicity and the state?… But why is Israel the exception here? Or do you support the idea of Islamic states, or racial-supremacist White states, to name other examples?

Back to me (not quoting) — i guess i should clarify that I certainly don’t think the answer right now is to suddenly cease to recognize israel as a country and say, game over. of course that would be ridiculous. but what I genuinely do not understand is why that area of land cannot be considered a country that has no official ties to any one state religion and anyone who wants to live there and practice his or her religion or lack thereof can do so.

Isn’t it reasonable to assume that both Israelis and Palestinians can live in the same country and each practice whatever religions they want in their communities but there isn’t a state religion anymore, nor is Israel the “Jewish homeland” for any Jew who wants to emigrate there? Why can’t it just be like any other democratic country in the world? I must be dense, cause i just don’t see why Americans in general — Jews, non-Jews, everyone — don’t see it that way, since I thought one of our great ideals was that democracy is the fair way to decide who gets political control, and that religion has no place in affairs of state.

Rachel says:

I really like Andy’s analogy (I was thrown off my bus; for years I ran alongside the bus trying to get back on; I finally said I’d share my seat but the rest of the riders refused even that and attacked me; yet every time I push back, the world calls me a bully.). And up until the invasion of Lebanon, I’d have believed it wholeheartedly… in fact, I did.

Future Jewish Parent says:

I admit I was nervous about your Jewish parenting skills and knowledge in the first column, but the second is reassuring. Thank you for your honestly and willingness to engage with your readers. They continue to raise some valid points that I hope they find answers to, if you don’t provide more insight. Robin and Miriam, in particular, raise points worthy of some serious conversation. We can be critical, but still love our homeland. Israel/Zion is a historical and spiritual concept that plays out politically in complicated ways. This doesn’t mean we should walk away-it means we should find ways to make our homeland stronger.

Inanna Baskan says:

Only with the rise of Christianity did “religion” come to be a category of its own, independent of nationalilty and ethnicity. The Jews rejected this shift. We continued as an ethnicity with a set of worship practices–except that we, unlike other ethnicities, would adopt, as our own, anyone who sought to take on our worship practices. But for the past 200 years, our desire to be “like everyone else” has made us claim to be merely a religion, like Christianity.

Nonetheless, we remain more an ethnicity than a religion. Aheists and agnostics can still be Jews. It is Jewishness as an ethnicity that is involved when we speak of Israel as a “Jewish” state.

Can we incorporate the people of Gaza into our state? They hate us enough choose the hour when our children are on their way to school to lob rockets into Sderot and Ashkalon. The demographics predict that any mixed state would quickly become a Muslim State where we would be deemed superfluous and expelled, just as we have been expelled from so many other Muslim places.

Remember before 1948, when Jews were despised as cowardly and/or weak? Remember the change when we won our independence against five enemy invaders? People admired our courage and strength.

We continued to win physical wars but we began to lose the information war. No matter how kindly we treat Arabs and Haitians and Africans, we are portrayed as racist and cruel. And some of us buy into that evil image and of course we shrink from it, becasue we are the opposite of racist and cruel.

We do defend our citizens, as every country, even Israel, has a right and a duty to do. If we permit terrorists to deliver Iranian rockets to Gaza to lob into Sderot, we fail in that duty. That path leads to placing Israel in the hands of those who have promised to murder and expel us.

It might almost be worth it to win the love and respect of the gentiles.

But, nobody will love or admire or respect us for losing.

Dear Margie,

An op ed in the New York Times on May 6 referred to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict as the “third rail” of American Jewish life. You definitely hit the rail! But good for you for taking this on, and for trying to start an honest conversation based on your own dilemma about talking to your kids about Israel.

I hope I don’t seem too self-serving by mentioning a resource for the kind of honest conversation you want to have: “Constructive Conversations about the Israel-Palestinian Conflict,” published by the Public Conversations Project ( and the Jewish Dialogue Group ( The guide, which includes a section dedicated to the Jewish tradition of dialogue, is based on more than twenty years of experience in dialogue facilitation. The approach it outlines has worked for rabbis, congregations, rabbinical students, young Jewish adults, and informal discussion groups.

For a quick snapshot of how constructive dialogue about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict can happen, check out the Public Conversations Project’s blog, Words That Matter, ( The May 7 posting, “Israel Need Not Be the Third Rail,” was written by Dave Joseph, the Public Conversations Project’s Vice President for Program. Dave has facilitated numerous dialogues about this extremely difficult issue.

You sound like a wonderful mother—creative and passionate–and I admire the way in which you have encouraged your children to think about ethical issues.

Cherry Muse
Public Conversations Project

susan says:

Miriam – don’t know if you’ll come back here and read this. I am not for the right of return, I want 2 states, and I do accept Israel as a Jewish state.

Of course Israel is not the only country in the world that is the exception to people of all faiths living in harmony. And Judaism isn’t only a religion but an ethnicity. Israel as a Jewish state is no different than Ireland as an Irish state or Poland as a Polish state. If you want a modern example of what Palestine/Israel should be, look at the Indian partition. You had Hindus and Muslims who didn’t want to or couldn’t live together. Equal numbers of Jews were dispelled from Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa following 1948. They are currently living in Israel. The original British mandate territory was divided in two with the larger piece becoming Jordan. The Palestinians should have been resettled in Jordan or elsewhere in the vast territory of the Middle East but those powers have chosen to leave the Palestinians as refugees as a way of getting rid of Israel as the Jewish state which was created by the mandate and ratified by the UN, as such, in 1948.

I believe that Israel should remain a haven for Jews and that the Jews of the world need and deserve a haven like most other peoples of the world. Jews have continually occupied what is now Israel for thousands of years. If Israel allows the original Palestinians to return, a Muslim majority with votes for all will quickly become another Sharia state with no rights for women, Christians or Jews like its neighbors.

Miriam says:

I am still checking back, Susan, and appreciate your thoughtful reply. I don’t understand how you can NOt be for “right of return” and yet you say “I believe that Israel should remain a haven for Jews and that the Jews of the world need and deserve a haven like most other peoples of the world.” Isn’t that exactly what right-of-return means, that any jew in the world has the right to move to israel as a citizen?

I also think it’s a bit simplistic to say that the Jews are to Israel are as the Irish are to Ireland. Judaism the ethnicity is inexorably tied to Judaism the religion in most peoples’ minds, and what makes someone Irish is a simple fact of birth. Was he born in Ireland? Yep, he’s Irish. Was I born Jewish? Yup, I’m Jewish. i am not, however, Israeli. We can certainly debate whether Jew and Israeli ought to be overlapping designations, but it’s by no mean a simple “given” in my mind.

I’m another liberal trying to reconcile my love for Israel with being an occupier (there. I said it). What I’d like to say to rightists and Palis alike (and what I tell my kids) is, “I have a right to love this land, just as you do, just as we all do.” Because — as I state in my own blog — it’s the land where my people’s story began, pure and simple. And Marjorie, love your “no backsies” rule!!!

susan says:

Miriam – thanks for checking back! “Right of return” means that all Palestinians who left in 1948 or around that time have the right to return to what is now Israel. People have been walking around with keys for 60 years and I feel for them but if they and their great-grandchildren all come back there will be no more Jewish homeland. I am not going back to Poland where my fore-fathers lived for 700 years and they’re not going back to Israel.

Whether of not Judaism is only a religion is something which non-Jews usually worry about. In the Soviet Union and in Russia today (I think), if you’re a Russian Jew, your passport will be stamped “Jew”, not Russian. Jews are very close to one another genetically. We are a tribe. If your mother is Jewish, you’re Jewish, even if you’re an athiest.

To clarify my position – I believe in 2 states. The one-state solution would make one country of Palestinians and Jews living together with Jews outnumbered. I don’t support the Palestinian right of return.

My beef with Marjorie and others like Beinart is that they say they don’t agree with all of Israel’s policies or with Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians without saying what Israel should do. And Arabs in Israel have more rights than anywhere else in the middle east – they vote and have elected Muslim representatives.

Marisa Elana says:

Rock on, Marjorie, rock on.

One of the big challenges, from my perspective, is the pressure from various directions to feel “educated enough” to even join the conversation (as if we’re all not learning continuously!), and the pressure to have an alternate peace plan fully devised in our heads for those who say “well, what would YOU do?”

The point is that everyone needs to join the conversation, and with respect, because that’s the only way that we will all become more educated about our own communities and hopefully, eventually, collectively find a way out of the mess we’re in. Israel needs all the help it can get these days, and my knowledge of Jewish history tells me that we can do much, much better than we are right now.

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