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Antisemites don’t discriminate between Jews, neither should we

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I learnt about what was going on at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, in the United States (US) late on Saturday, 15 January, from a Facebook post made by one of the rabbis at Temple Israel in Cape Town, of which I’m a member.

What became clear as the nightmare played itself out over hours – for us through the night in real time, for others, after Shabbat ended and they became aware of what was going on – is that the people of Israel, the global Jewish community, were with Rabbi Cytron-Walker and his three congregants as their captivity wore on. Jews of every denomination felt this in their gut. They shared each other’s posts of prayer and then release. This is who we are. This is am Yisrael!

Let’s remember this as we move onward. Let’s remember as we collectively pray for the healing of the four who endured the horror as hostages many kilometres away (in our case and that of others who are outside of the US), or not so far away – that we are all bonded as a people. That our differences of prayer style and interpretation didn’t matter over the hours of their captivity.

It didn’t matter if we called ourselves reform, conservative, orthodox, reconstructionist, renewal, or secular – terrorism and antisemitism know no boundary and don’t discriminate unequally. What mattered is that our people were once again victimised at the hands of a madman. We’re better together than divided, and we must learn from this. We cannot help the world to heal in our quest for tikkun olam if we don’t repair these rifts within.

We cannot afford to come together over victimisation only, we must come together over the love of each other, and respect for each other. All who call themselves Jews felt the anguish experienced by Congregation Beth Israel. No one checked pedigree.

Congregation Beth Israel literally means the house of the people Israel – and that’s what we are – am Yisrael – the Jewish people. It’s also how we must act.

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