Unlike my dad, I've never known the feeling of needing to hide my identity. Thanks to a lifetime of his sacrifices, I have been blessed to grow up in peace and security. In the full warmth and embrace of our Jewish faith. This year, I am reminded of how fragile that blessing is.
Exactly two weeks ago, the world witnessed an atrocity in Israel so evil and inhumane that it still remains difficult to comprehend: the barbaric slaughter of 1,400 innocent men, women, grandfathers, grandmothers, boys, girls, and infants in the name of their Judaism. In the state that was born to assure such tragedies could never happen again.
On Tisha B'Av, the saddest day in the Jewish calendar, we recount the destruction of the Second Temple. Ancient Jewish commentary teaches that the destruction of the Temple by the Romans was caused by “sinat chinam”, or “baseless hatred”. So too was the attack on Israelis this month and the wave of anti-semitism around the world that followed. But it also teaches that what can be destroyed through baseless hatred can be rebuilt through "ahavat chinam", or "baseless love".
This year, it is my honor to donate $25,000 in my dad's name to Magen David Adom – the singular organization in Israel responsible for life-saving medical disaster response – so that we may begin to spread baseless love once again, as my dad has always practiced.
October 21, 2023