Thursday, January 22, 2009

Tikkun - Repairing the World - or trying to...

While watching the inauguration of the new U.S. president at the American Cultural Center with a bunch of other expats, I had this wonderful feeling that the U.S. had finally done its tikkun (spiritual repair work)for the way African-Americans were treated way back when. I saw much pride in the faces of young Afro-Americans, such joy that seemed to sweep right through the tv screen towards everyone who was watching with us. I loved the happy multicultural scene of the crowds in Washington D.C. and even felt a bit jealous that they had that and we don't have that - yet. For me, it was an incredible moment, though I smiled at the thought of how my now-deceased dad, who was a Jewish Archie Bunker, would have reacted to all of this.

A Jerusalem peacemaker, Elad, held a gathering last night of dozens of people at the YMCA to discuss the "situation." Although much better than last week when we were in the midst of the Gazan war, there was still much repair work to be done. Jews and Arabs gathered together because we all felt that we were in the same boat, so to speak. Because we peacemakers are standing in the middle between both Jews and Arabs, we got it from both sides. We get the hateful remarks about the other, and it's hard after a while to listen to everyone's venom bouncing off of us, when you're standing in the middle. It almost feels as if you're being squished from both sides. People sitting at my table laughed when I told them I got mail from a friend in Tulkarem telling me to boycott Israeli products and I got mail from a Jewish person telling me to boycott Israeli Arab products that I blurted out "MY GOD! I'M GOING TO STARVE TO DEATH if I boycott both." Israeli Channel Two was there filming our sharing circle about why we were there. And when it was my turn, I told the circle (and Channel Two) that we are really all one family - the Tribe of Abraham. And being that one part of my family got hit a bit harsher than another part of my family, it's part of my Jewish tikkun to do my bit to help out. We had no idea where we could help out. There were humanitarian drives for clothing and food and baby items to Gaza. Some of my friends who posted on the Jerusalem Anglo email list got a slew of hateful mail about 'why do it for them'?

Many actually said they got physically sick at the onset of this war. One woman told me she always felt that Gaza was the "kidney" of Israel. She was peeing blood and had tests done, but they couldn't find anything. She seemed to know it was related to the conflict and told the worried doctors not to worry, she'll check back with them in two weeks. Needless to say, her ailment is over. Other people were talking about how sick they felt and I heard someone say my friend Ibrahim was going around at the beginning of the war calling people up telling them he's dying. Kind of freaky, no?

We all wrote cards/posters to the people in Gaza. I don't know who will read them. I wrote mine in English and asked an Arab man I didn't know if he could please translate this into Arabic.

"I'm trusting you with the translation," I told him, hoping he wasn't going to translate my loving letter into something like "I wish you all would just curl up and die" or something of that note. But I had to trust this person to translate, and I did. After all, he's family, isn't he?

1 comment:

rabbi lars shalom said...

how would you deal with aliens from outer space??