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Issues of the Day The Changing of Seasons and the Renewal of Hope

Perhaps it’s the coming of the new year. But following a hot summer, the death of an uncle, the war talk and news of climate change that is worse than anticipated, the last few days of August were not cheery ones for me. The arrest of Israeli youths as young as twelve in the beating and firebombing of innocent Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank, and the gratuitous disruption and calls for cancellation of the Batsheva dance troupe at the Edinburgh festival by ill-informed or ill-spirited British activists who equate anti-Israelism with pro-Palestinianism,  add to my melancholic mood.

But then again, the Batsheva dancers, Israeli ambassadors of culture and peace, did appear in Edinburgh -- reportedly to a number of standing ovations.   There is a detectable cooling of the early morning air around Jerusalem. The schools have reopened. The saber-rattling with Iran has subsided, at least by a couple of decimals, at least for now.


As the season changes, one hopes for change among us as well. I really don’t believe that violence and hatred are inextricable parts of human nature. I believe that education and dialog can be potent instruments for social advancement. I don’t think that might makes right, nor do I believe that viewing complex situations in terms of black and white rather than shades of gray, which are much closer to the truth, make things better.


In these weeks of transition, as according to Jewish tradition the Days of Awe approach, I will be reflecting on how I can help make the world a better place. We can’t hope to improve what is outside of us if we haven’t made similar improvements in ourselves. I am glad that my tradition calls for a period of introspection and renewal. I think it is a healthy thing.  

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