Hope and Resilience in the Midst of Strife:
Thoughts and Prayers for the State of Israel on this 9th of Av

A message from Rabbi Dr. Meesh Hammer-Kossoy, Director of the Year Program:

עם הנצח לא מפחד מדרך ארוכה
“The eternal nation is not afraid of a long journey”

A popular folk song based on a saying by Rav Kook z”l

The State of Israel and the Jewish people had an intense week of conflict. The pain is especially poignant as we approach the 9th of Av and mourn the loss of the Second Temple, whose destruction is traditionally attributed to senseless hatred.

As someone who has been deeply involved in the protests, together with many colleagues and students, I have personally been inspired again and again by the willingness of so many thousands to fight for their vision of democracy with tenacity, endurance, and resilience. I am thrilled that many of our students have been buoyed by a protest movement, of which our own President, Isaac Herzog, said,

“Our democracy is also reflected in protestors taking to the streets all across the country, to emphatically raise their voices and fervently demonstrate their point of view. Our democracy is the blue and white Israeli flag waved and loved by all Israelis taking part in the debate.”

I am deeply disappointed by this week’s developments. However, I will continue to fight with renewed vigor and dedication for a Jewish and liberal democratic state, built on human rights and equality for all. And at the same time, we will continue to work towards healing the rifts in Israeli society.

The Pardes community holds a range of views on this conflict as well as all political and religious issues. I am proud that Pardes and Pardes Torah are making a real contribution to the health of the Jewish People and the State of Israel. The most important way we do that is by breaking down the binary of a conflict between secular and religious, right and left, rather than being on the frontlines of any particular movement. As we commemorate the national tragedies of the 9th of Av, all of us at Pardes are committed to resisting hatred, polarization and catastrophizing, and to continuing to work towards love and fellowship.

My blessing for us all is that this 9th of Av be a meaningful day of national reflection and healing.