Dirty shoes

As I stood for the two minute Holocaust memorial siren, my mind flooded with heavy thoughts. As the siren winded down. I slowly lifted myself out of my pain as I reminded myself where I am and that I have thank God, children and grandchildren in our Jewish country.

They say life is a roller coaster. For most nations it is maybe the junior coaster at “Bob’s kiddy park” . For us it always the “Cyclone” in Coney Island.
And the thing is. the ride never ends…You would think that there might be other  waiting their turn, but no, we get to keep riding over  and over again.

This time of year in Israel is indeed a time of compressed emotional storm. Holocaust memorial day:out of the ashes of the worst event in human history. Memorial day:remembering the fallen of the first Jewish national  army in two thousand years. Finally. Independence day; pinching ourselves to make sure that we are truly living this miracle of  a place.

Such mixed feelings. Such a mixed brew.
Tragically, it was on Holocaust memorial eve when, once again, an Arab used his car to run down two Jews in Jerusalem; two special young people who were planning to raise a beautiful Jewish family in Israel.
Much has been said about the very sweet young man, Shalom Sherki, may his blood be avenged, but then again we have heard far too many words of praise for far too many murdered Jews in our Jewish land. His friend, who he saved with is body, is fighting for her life just now.

Recently one sees increasing numbers of concrete barriers at bus and train stops in Jerusalem as Arabs have discovered a new weapon with which to kill Jews.
 Similarly, the extensive building of bomb shelters for those living near Gaza and the building of the “security fence” along Israel’s “border” with the Palestinian Authority are supposed to protect us.

Woe unto us. Who ever dreamed of the Jewish people hiding behind concrete in our renewed beloved land? Is this the best we can do?
Must we look on in fear of every Arab car or tractor? Am I missing something?
The very sad part is that this relatively new phenomenon is being accepted much like the earlier form of attempted murder, massive stone throwing. It is treated like bad weather or bad luck. It happens and certainly will happen again.
Shimon Peres used to call it “the price of peace”. It wasn’t always this way.

We stand for moments of silence, with thoughts of “never again” or, “may their blood be avenged.” Who will save the blood yet to be spilled?
Who  will be  brave enough to say, enough. Is not our right to life not dearer than any other “right”..

These thoughts filled my mind as I sat on the bus today.
Along side the seats that face each other is a sign forbidding the resting of ones feet on the opposite seat. ( I often wonder what goes through the mind of a person who actually does put  his dirty shoes on the opposite upholstery, but I often get a shrug at best when I ask.)

Today I saw a young man, rubbing his shoes into the opposite seat.
As I often do, being a concerned citizen, I nodded to him, hinting that he should find a more appropriate place for his shoes.
He chose  to make a disparaging, taunting gesture. At this point  the fellow travelers were aware of the exchange. Probably  because he was an Arab, the  folks did not want  to “get involved” and dug their noses deeper into their phones or changed their seat.

There is  a fear. A fear  that did not exist  years ago. I remember.

The Arab scoffed,” is this your bus”?
 “It is my country and I care”, is what I thought, but I knew that if I made an issue I would anger lots of Jews on the bus who just wanted to get home. I feared they would yell at me and thus cause a real desecration of God’s name and national shame.
So, I relented, and the Arab put his dirty shoes on the seat..  and deep into our national  face, just  twenty four hours after another Arab ran down our  holy Shalom Sherky..

We hide behind barriers and look away…

It wasn’t always this way. And so, at this time of year I pray that we will tear down the walls and raise up our heads to the One who finally brought us home and stand tall for the many Shaloms, who deserve better.



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