It’s your Bruddah Hank and my heart is broken. As an American Jew, witnessing the recurrent attacks on Israel invokes a profound sense of disquiet, a conflict that sprouts from my intrinsic connection to my Jewish heritage and simultaneously, my identity as an American. The horrific visuals and news of violence target not just a geographical place but dig deep into my roots, evoking profound empathy, a natural surge to defend, and a sense of loss, rendering my heart to bleed the colors of the Star of David. However, this unabated surge of sentiment, commitment and solidarity oftentimes places me in a precarious position in the diverse society of America, which garners a multitude of opinions and perspectives on the issue.
As an American, standing up to the principles of freedom, equal rights, and justice, I strive to harmonize my viewpoints, bridging the gap between my Jewish identity and my commitment to impartial understanding. I am continuously confronted with the challenge of illuminating the nuances of my stance on situations concerning Israel while ensuring it doesn’t impede my ability to fully engage in, contribute to, and harmonize with American society’s diverse cultural fabric. Amidst the cacophony of differing viewpoints, I am often torn between the urge to defend Israel fervently and the need to blend seamlessly into the vibrant fabric of America’s societal mosaic.
Yet, this longing to ‘fit in’ does not eclipse the deep-seated ties to my Jewish heritage, nor does it silence my desire to advocate for the land that lives within the essence of my identity. Rather, it urges me toward the pathway of dialogue, promoting greater understanding and building sturdy bridges of unity. The oscillation between faith and fate, therefore, is not entirely a matter of conflict but rather a catalyst for growth, inspiring a deeper understanding of myself, my heritage and my role in American society. There is no conflict between my patriotism as an American and my desire for Jews to have a place to call home. My allegiance is not divided. It is my heart that’s broken for the people who can’t seem to find a way to get along when, historically, they used to live together like family. We have many countries and for me, the US is #1, but I also believe in one God and that we are all creations of that one God. To me and many others, this last phrase is a basic truth.
If we can all agree on basic truths, the rest is just rough-and-tumble negotiation bullet points on a contract. How can we start?
“Bruddah Hank” was born in Brooklyn but has lived all over the US and abroad. A deeply spiritual man yet circumspect person, he learned the most valuable lesson at the feet of a Hawaiian Kapuna: time is the only gift that can never be taken away. Spend it wisely.