By Zach Bernstein
Struggle has been a theme throughout Jewish history. We can’t seem to go more than a few generations without some other group of people trying to get rid of us. No matter how many of us they manage to kill or get rid of, we have survived. We have achieved this through unwavering dedication to our tradition and our people. This time is no different. So far, the Jewish community has come together stronger and more passionately than I’ve ever seen in my life. And the value that is being tested this time is our connection to our homeland, Israel.
Israel has been a central part of my life for as long as I can remember. From celebrating Israeli Independence Day in Dallas to celebrating Jewish holidays in the Old City in Jerusalem, I’ve always known that Israel is different from any other place. Just like every other challenge the Jewish people have faced, this one can be overcome only through showing unconditional support for Israel and for all people who are suffering because of this conflict.
My parents, Josh and Jordana, are the epitome and the embodiment of this support and this struggle. They moved to Israel about a month ago and joined both of my sisters, Rosie and Shaya, who were already there. Despite the atrocities that have occurred so soon after they moved there, they do not show regret. They are there to support Rosie while her husband is serving in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) and to keep her and Shaya safe. They have inspired me to search for what I can do to help.
Israel and the Jewish people are mourning, but now is not the time to stop and back down. The national anthem of Israel is “The Hope”, or “Hatikvah.” We will survive and thrive through hard work and perseverance.
My brother, Micah, and I are staying in America, likely in Austin. Living so far away from Israel, it’s easy to feel disconnected from the conflict. So what can those of us who don’t live in Israel really do?
Regardless of where we live, social media is everywhere. Sharing facts and stories and calling out misinformation is powerful and important. And we should do the same thing in real life. Have conversations with people and share facts. Most importantly, listen to what other people have to say — actively listen. If you are Jewish or an ally, we are all representatives of the Jewish people. We are stronger together. Together we can help secure a safe and peaceful future for Israel.