Thursday, August 6, 2020 -
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Collective grief takes a different form

A Greek philosopher once commented that change is the only constant. Just one week ago, we were blogging about the incredible unity created among Jews in the wake of the tragic murder of three Israeli teenagers by Palestinian terrorists. We couldn’t have guessed that hours later the Jewish world would be thrown into another cataclysmic shock when news of a horrific revenge killing started circling.

What a difference a day makes.

Shock that three of our ‘own’ could brutally murder a child in cold blood. Deeply disturbed at the evil thread that’s running through our community. Anger that these kids damaged our sense of unity and grief. Despair that their actions added potent fuel to an already raging fire, and further endangered the lives of their fellow citizens.

Sherri Mandell, whose teenage son Kobi was murdered by terrorists in 2013, expressed our community’s shock with three simple words: “How dare you!” Jewish tradition does not value revenge, its values justice. There’s a distinct difference: Motivation. It’s legitimate, she wrote, in the wake of Gil-Ad, Naftali and Eyal’s deaths to feel anger and perhaps fantasize of revenge. But to act on those emotions? “Justice is not burning another innocent human being alive. Justice is allowing the government to find the murderers and punish them,” writes Mandell.

And so our collective grief takes a new form: Outrage.

As Tehilla Goldberg comments in her column this week, the Jewish world instantly and unequivocally denounced this hateful revenge killing.

Change is the only constant, and in the case of the Jewish community this past week, an unsettling combination of the two. We continue to stand together, but our topography is much changed, and far shakier.

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