By Tyler Samuels
Like many here in Canada and abroad, the events occurring in Israel are troubling and distressing. Like many Canadian Jews, I have people I care deeply about now under the barrage of rocket fire and violence. While I am angry at those who I considered friends, posting a slew of information that couldn’t be further from the truth. I am reminded that we are thousands of miles away from the comfort of our homes. Whether we make a pro-Israel/pro-Zionist statement or a pro-Palestinian/pro-Zionist statement, it does not matter. Our Facebook posts will not shake two governments into action and to instead fight for the peace rather than blood. Many will lose friends and family over this situation here, in anger because of posts and messages on social media. However, Israelis and Palestinians will lose friends and families in the literal sense because of this explosion of violence.
I make no secret of my stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, many have disagreed with me for years about. I have lost many friends recently due to it, however this does not bring peace. Once this violence is over, like all violence that has occurred over the decades, we move on. That is the pessimistic nature of this conflict. I hope with all my heart that I will live to see the day of a peaceful outcome, whatever it is. I hope to see when Israeli and Palestinian children do not have to die because of the political consequences that they did not make.
I grew up with the Debbie Friedman version of Oseh Shalom. We find Oseh Shalom in many liturgy pieces in Judaism, importantly when we recite kaddish/mourner’s kaddish.
Oseh shalom bimromav Hu ya’aseh shalom aleinu V’al Kol Yisrael
He who makes peace in His high places, May He bring peace upon us And upon all Israel, And say Amen.
Since these trying times have occurred, I recite these words more often than most from a person who struggles with the concept of faith and religion. However, I wish for safety and peace; I yearn for the day when news about violence in Israel and the West Bank & Gaza cease. We owe it to the creator or master of the universe, whatever you believe in for us to find the peace rather than run away from it.
I don’t pretend to be the Prophet Samuel, a name that means “God heard” or “name of God.” I don’t intend to preach to you about peace, nor who is right or wrong about this conflict. However, the dynamic should be what we will do to bring about peace so we can one day live in a land of milk and honey once more.