Wednesday, December 10, 2008

From Somalia to Jersusalem

In sleepless hours Wikipedia is often my friend. Up late, feeling pain over the incomprehensible evil and stubbornness that is Antisemitism -- that it should even follow us as far as Mumbai -- I found myself finally becoming curious over this piracy that is threatening cruise ships and supertankers off the horn of Africa and the links it might or might not have to Islamic fundamentalism in Somalia. I learn the pirates are thriving in the chaos that is Somalia in the wake of so many wars, both civil and with neighbors like the also deeply-impoverished Ethiopia. I learn that Ethiopia is a land of many high mountains and that its seasonal rains in its west are what fed the annual floods of the Nile -- floods that literally made possible the civilization that had once enslaved the Israelites with its water and soil for crops growing in a desert. And I learn of the small and ancient community of Jews that once lived in that west of Ethiopia, and tears come to my eyes as I read again how once nearly 15,000 of them were rescued in only 36 hours from the chaos that was Ethiopia in 1991 when the State of Israel sent planes to get them. I learned how even the Orthodox rabbis of Israel -- who can sometimes be so frustratingly inflexible -- gave their blessing to this mission by granting permission to break the laws of Shabbat by flying planes then.

In a world where there is so much hate and killing and violence, it is good to remind ourselves of where love comes from. As a chaplain, it is good for me to remind myself of where caring comes from. It is good.


These thoughts came to mind, today, as I was reading a talk that Art Green recently gave about Zionism -- about his Zionism -- to a group that is sometimes accused of being anti-Zionist, or even anti-Jewish. Good reading.

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