Heavy thoughts before Shabbat and for Passover

This story breaks my heart.

It’s something I witnessed when I was in Israel, back in 1995. In an incident I managed to brush under my psyche, not wanting my mostly fantastic, amazing experience in Israel to be sullied more than it already was by Prime Minister Rabin being murdered. But on Simchat Torah in 1995/5755, I was praying and dancing in a small shul in Tsfat, which is a little town in the northern part of Israel. Tsfat is a special place. It’s home to the original Hassidim and Jewish mystics, but it’s also home to a fantastic artist colony. They’re used to varied and diverse people living in a small space. But on that particular day, a group of angry Hassidic men accosted the group of us who were praying just outside the synagogue, because they didn’t think women should be praying with men, or that women should be holding the Torah. Things got violent – my friend Adam’s glasses were broken. I don’t remember what other damage was done. But this broke my heart, just like this story breaks my heart. It breaks my heart that the Jewish community – tiny that it is – is fractured up into smaller groups, Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Jewish Renewal, Reconstructionist, etc – because we can’t even be tolerant among ourselves of different interpretations and understanding of what it means to be Jewish. How can we expect ourselves or anyone else in the world to be tolerant of other religions if we can’t even be tolerant of each other? It really makes me hopeless about the state of mankind, because I really do believe in the Jewish idea that Judaism has something to teach the world about how to live in the world among other people. But we’re not even listening to ourselves.

This Passover, this is the redemption I pray for.

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~ by realsupergirl on April 22, 2011.

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