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The Heart of the Nation is Broken

The heart of the nation is broken.  A country all too familiar with tragedy once again is mourning the loss of three of its sons.  Three beautiful, innocent children whose short lives were filled with mitzvot. 
Who cannot feel the pain and anguish of the grieving parents whose children were murdered? Their cries pierce the heavens and tear the hearts of all decent people.  The response of those who rejoice and celebrate their murder tells a great deal about the nature of Israel’s enemies and of what Israel faces.
I was attending the dedication of the cultural community center built by my brother-in-law when the news started to circulate.  A pall came over the crowd as word spread and the emcee, Yehoram Gaon, announced at the beginning of what was to be a festive celebration that the bodies of the three boys, Eyal, Gilad and Naftali had been found. 
Riding a bus, listening to the news, walking the streets, I look at the faces of people going about their daily lives and notice there are no smiles or laughter or joy. 
As Israel’s leaders prepare and decide what to do in response, they seek not revenge but to show that a price will be paid for sanctioned acts of violence taken against its people and to deter further acts by not letting the perpetrators reap the benefit of being acclaimed as heroes.
This day when the people of Israel are in mourning and bury their sons is a time of unity.  Expressions of sorrow and sympathy by Jews and others around the world bring a measure of comfort.  It is not a time for moral equivocation, which is why the call by the president for all sides to exercise restraint is at best poor timing.  It reflects poor judgment and is a slap in the face of an ally whose values we are supposed to share and with whom we should stand at a time such as this. 
May God send comfort to all who mourn. 

 

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Stuart Weinblatt

Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt is the President of the Rabbinic Cabinet of the Jewish Federations of North America. From 2009 - 2014 he served as Director of Israel Policy and Advocacy for the Rabbinical Assembly.
Rabbi Weinblatt is the rabbi of Congregation B'nai Tzedek in Potomac, Maryland, a vibrant Conservative synagogue of 650 families he founded in 1988, along with his wife and a handful of families.