A New Song of Hope – For a Community Gathered in Solidarity

Two men hugging
שיר חדש של תקווה
As the tide of the world
turns against us,
we gather to speak,
we gather to march,
we gather to pray,
wnd we gather to hope.
We gather together
in good times, and in bad,
in times of love, and of war,
in times of pain, and of joy,
in times of tragedy, and celebration.
We gather, whether it is safe or not,
because we are a religion of Community.
We are a people of Community.
We are a culture of Community.
We are a Community together,
through the horror and pain,
when the world targets us.
We are a people who survived exile,
not once, but time and time again.
We are a people who survived genocide,
not once, but time and time again.
We are a people who crossed from slavery
across the sea into freedom,
only to lose our home and lives,
time and time and time and time again.
But still, we gather.
We stand together in Community,
because Community is how we survived.
Our ancestors survived the Inquisition,
even if they had to practice in secret.
Our ancestors, and even some of our families
survived the Shoah.
My people; Our People;
My Culture; Our Culture;
My Faith; Our Faith;
My Life; Our Lives;
My Judaism; Our Judaism;
They all survive.
They survived the past,
they will survive the present,
and they will survive the future.
And so, together in community,
we hope for an end to hate,
whether it is directed at us,
or at others because of what
has happened to us throughout History.
Even as we call for peace,
and humanity for all, not just for us,
we look in the face of those who
wish to see us gone.
When I say “Am Yisrael Chai,”
it is not only for the State of Israel.
it is not only for the Government,
and it is not only for the Land.
When I say “Am Yisrael Chai,
it is for the Jews of the World,
those who love Israel,
those who don’t,
those who live there,
and those who never lived
to see the Land at all.
When I say “Am Yisrael Chai,
It is for my Community,
it is for my People,
it is for my Culture,
it is for my Faith,
and it is for Me.
And it is for those of the land,
Palestinian children and mothers,
grandmothers, and innocents,
Who have little to protect them.
They may not be of the tribe,
but they are of the land.
When I say “Am Yisrael Chai,”
it is for those of the land,
who have been there one generation,
or thirty generations.
And I say it for me.
I will no longer hide.
I will no longer fear.
Instead, I will stand.
I stand with those hostage to fear,
To terror, or violence.
I stand with those punished unjustly
For crimes they did not commit,
and I stand with those
who just wanted to live their lives
in the homeland of their people
on either side of the wall.
So today, I share my love for my people.
I will call out for justice for all my life;
justice in its many different forms:
freedom for Israel’s hostages,
homes and Lives for Palestine’s refugees,
acceptance for all Humanity around the globe.
But today, I am calling out for Love.
Love of those who don’t look like us,
worship like us, or appreciate us.
I will call out for an end to hatred,
an end to violence.
So I say “Am Yisrael Chai.”
I say “Oseh Shalom.”
I say “Avinu Shebashamayim.”
And I say protect the innocent
on either side of the wall.
Because we were once
strangers in a strange land.
Because we have been commanded
to love our neighbor
and treat the foreigner with Love
and with dignity.
Today, I call for hope.
Tomorrow, I call for peace.
Forever, I call for justice.
Forever, I call for Love.
Because Love is stronger
than anything we have in this life.
I call for Love.
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