Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Our Bearded Fanatics Will Beat Your Bearded Fanatics

A friend sent me this video. My response, with edits, is below, because sometimes it's just worth sharing.

The most tragic thing of all is that the West Bank Palestinians want nothing to do with the refugees in Lebanon or Syria or Jordan. Even if there is a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, they will not permit mass migration and build cities to house another two, three million of their own people. The PA has done nothing to dismantle or develop their own people's refugee camps near Nablus, Jenin, Ramallah... they are still one kilometer by one kilometer, the same size they were in 1948. The Lebanese blame Palestinian refugees for all their civil strife and want nothing to do with them. The Gulf Arabs kicked hundreds of thousands out after Afatrat (yes, I spelled it correctly) came out in support of Saddam during the First Gulf War. The Jordanian Hashemites are scared to death that the Palestinians will take over; they're already seventy percent or more of the population of Jordan.

People respond to the content in videos such as this in different ways - fear, apprehension. Watching these children, I feel sadness, anger; if only I could tear their parents and mentors to pieces. What a stomach turning waste of human life, like being forced to keep a count as madmen throw babies off a cliff's edge. There are governments, interests, policies, armies... and then I remind myself that I, too, am not helpless in the matter. That we were born for just such a purpose, to rid the world of gut wrenching horror.

There is a Chabad yeshiva in Morristown, NJ, filled with fundamentalists; real fanatics, not these Islamist wannabes you see on CNN. Oh, boo hoo, Mr. Jihad can kill innocent people in cold blood, big tough guy that he is. Amateur. My cat yawns. Try eating a kazayis of shmurah matzah in under 4 minutes, with a full serving of freshly cut maror, and then we'll talk.

I'm going to be visiting the yeshiva in late May, after an absence of three years, for a week, maybe two, or longer - it's a kind of pain-free, entry level summer program they have, called A Taste of Yeshiva (click on the picture for a Facebook link). Guys come from all over the country, all types of backgrounds and ages. My friend Adam says he'll join me, Matt just texted he's coming, and Michoel is already there with his wife and newborn son.

We have a government, an army, businessmen, lobbyists, and everything humanly possible is being done, but not everything. Evil, too, has its opposite, which is to not do evil, and to confront it. But to do good, that takes a different effort altogether, and an army of fanatical ninjas - strong enough to eat maror and savor it with mind and heart - the battle hardened Special Forces of love and hope, and those who join their ranks, even just for a week, maybe two, or more.

In light of Ambassador Michael Oren's substantive contribution this week to strengthening the US-Israeli relationship, I should point out that he, too, is just such a ninja, trained in the ancient Jewish arts of seeking and pursuing peace, a graduate of the Rabbinical College of America - the very yeshiva I'm returning to in May.

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