Physically, I'm pretty safe in Jerusalem. We haven't had rocket sirens in almost two weeks and if you don't look or listen too closely, you might think that Jerusalem is simply a quiet city. But if you do engage, the undercurrents speak volumes. Graffiti around the city reminds us (ironically, perhaps), that "hakol b'seder" - everything is ok, or everything is in order.
Other graffiti asks Bibi (Prime Minister Netenyahu) what the "point", or target is. These words with the image of a young girl in the crosshairs of a sniper rifle are jarring. Other graffiti proclaims that "girls in Sderot [Israel] and Gaza want to live." Gatherings in large public spaces are cancelled. Shabbat services this past weekend included the prayer for our soldiers and for the welfare and decision-making of the government, and more importantly, mentioned the specific families from congregations that had a relative called up.
What to do, what to say?
It's not all doom and gloom. This war in Gaza (Israelis have started using the word "war," instead of "situation") is the backdrop of my life right now, fading away as I sit down for hours of Hebrew study or a Biblical history lecture. There's also the city, with cafes and winding roads and alleyways and restaurants that I'm discovering, along with new friends.
I'm going to conclude with six of my favorite words:
שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ יי אֶחָד
"Sh'ma" - Listen
"Israel" - one who struggles with G!d (or goodness, or human nature, or tragedy, or violence in the divine name")
"Adonai" - G!d
"Eloheinu" - is ours
"Adonai" - G!d
"Echad" - is one
The world is diverse, beautiful, animated. And we all struggle, and we are all one.