love your brother

Graphic teefed from Jewschool

Over shabbat I read an editorial in the Jpost which talked about “Shalom Aleichem’s bittersweet, only semi-fictitious account of Dreyfus in Kasrilovka.”

The Jews in the shtetl of Kasrilovka, “beleaguered though they were, up to their necks in pressing problems of self-preservation, they evinced unending capacity for empathy with fellow-Jews – even Dreyfus, an aloof Jew, radically unlike themselves, an assimilationist who didn’t know their hamlet existed and didn’t spare a thought for far-off Jewish multitudes out of his sight, mind and concern.”

The author uses this example to contrast with many Israelis of today, whose sentiment about fellow Jews in Gush Katif is essentially “toss the fuckers out”. Today we mourn the loss of a temple that we understand was destroyed by a Jew hating his brother, and yet we have no qualms justifying our own callousness to our fellow Jew. I’ve seen it on Jewlicious, I’ve heard it in conversation here. No matter what you think of the politics or the actions, several thousand Jews are about to be forced to start their lives over, old folks and families alike, giving up everything they have built and fought for for up to 30 years. They feel betrayed by their country. They feel misunderstood by their fellow Jews. They have literally given their lives for something they are now being told is a mistake. On this day of all days, can we perhaps make a collective effort for some empathy, compassion, or, dare I ask, a little love?

About the author

Laya Millman

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