• As a Jew, I feel personally violated by October 7. For much of my adult life, I have tried to understand what it must have been like to be a Jew in America around 1900, while our brothers and sisters were suffering pogroms in Europe, or while the Holocaust was happening in the 1930s and 1940s, or when the SS St. Louis was not allowed to dock, and all its Holocaust refugees were returned to Nazi Europe. What could we have done to help?  I don’t have to wonder any more. I now know what it means to be helpless.
  • Israel has become “united” by this war. The anti-Netanyahu-establishment demonstrations ended as soon as Hamas attacked us on 10/7.  Former opponents are working together closely to retrieve all our hostages and to dismantle Chamas.  They have a common purpose.
  • But many Israelis still want to hold “someone” responsible for October 7, just not till the war is over and all hostages are released.  Expect to see big hearings taking place in Israel when this is all over.
  • At the UN and worldwide, there is denial of Hamas’s crimes, and especially its sexual crimes, despite video proof and now testimony from released hostages.
  • The UN and the rest of world fail to support Israel’s right to self-defense, a natural response by any sovereign nation.
  • October 7 has been characterized as worst attack on Jews since the Holocaust. Much of the world and social media deny the nature and facts of the attack, which is Holocaust denial writ large and current.
  • Hate speech and concepts are ramping up in most media: Israel is called a “settler colonialist state”, “performing genocide on Palestinian children”, “open air prison”, “targeting Palestinian children”, “river to the sea”.   Just another “South African-style apartheid state.”
  • I am so proud of ADL, JCRC and other organizations and key Jewish leaders for really stepping up the past two months. We need them like never before.
  • I am really disappointed how we have failed in American Jewish young people in their education. So few American Jews, adults, college students can speak to our indigeneity and relationship with Israel.  Few know anything about our history – ancient or modern.
  • I am disappointed in our absence of any real “control” over media or message, despite how people accuse us of controlling the media.
  • We have done a terrible job about promoting the many great and important things that Israel does in the world. Or getting any of the truth out there.  So many groups deny the right for the Jews to have our own nation.
  • Or perhaps no amount of positive press can offset the lies that Hamas and its supporters plant in every medium.
  • We have allowed the pro-Palestinians and antisemites to define all the issues and create false truths.
  • It is especially meaningful that this is all happening in the days leading up to Chanukah, as it was at this very time of year, on that land, that the Maccabees were waging a war against those who sought our destruction.  Their victory reminds us of the miraculous nature of Jewish history, and the faith and resolve that has defined our people to this day.
  • It is also a time when we reflect on the beauty of the Chanukiyah and the idea that, together, we can increase light in the darkest of times. This is what the Maccabees were able to in their time after the war, and that is our hope for our brothers and sisters in Israel, and all the people of the region.

    Hag Urim Sameach! 

Best wishes to you and your family from me and Renana for a joyous Chanukah!