As we prepare for Shabbat, our hearts are heavy as we continue to witness the brutality in Ukraine and after yesterday’s terror attack on Israelis in the heart of Tel Aviv, the fourth such attack in several weeks which has left fourteen dead and many injured. We mourn the loss of innocent life, pray for comfort for those whose loved ones were killed, and healing for those who have been injured and traumatized. We must do whatever we can to bring an end to the violence and work for peace.
I heard about yesterday’s shooting as I was on my way to meet two remarkable Israelis—one Jewish and the other Palestinian—who are leaders in an Israeli organization called Standing Together
that works to create a more just and equitable society for all Israelis regardless of religion or ethnic background. Alon-Lee Green grew up and lives in the neighborhood where the attack occurred last night, and Sally Abed has lived in Jaffa and has many friends in the area. One Jewish Israeli, one Palestinian Israeli both scared, saddened, and horrified about the shooting and what was happening in Tel Aviv as a manhunt ensued to catch the terrorist.
Sally and Alon-Lee were preparing to speak at Beth Emet last night when I met them for dinner. We ate a somber meal together while they checked their phones continuously for the news. As we started the program last night, I mentioned the attack and we extended our prayers to those who had been hurt and for the violence to cease. The response to terror attacks such as these is often for some Jews to condemn Palestinians as a whole and for some Palestinians to cheer on these kinds of attacks and justify them. Last night, however, Sally and Alon-Lee shared a different response. Standing Together is creating another way for Palestinians and Jews, one based on mutual respect and the belief that diverse people working together can create a more just and peaceful society for everyone.
If you didn’t have a chance to hear Sally and Alon-Lee’s presentation last night, do yourself a favor and watch the video
of the program. They were asked last night what gives them hope despite the difficulty in achieving their aims. For me, the answer was obvious. Sally Abed and Alon-Lee Green are two shining stars who are energetic, smart, articulate, caring and committed to creating a better future for Israel. They were delightful to listen to and a real source of inspiration and hope.
May this Shabbat bring peace, healing, and wholeness.
Rabbi Andrea London