this is another tragic day for us. I know Israel was respond, and it won't bring back the 17 people and maybe more who were killed yesterday. It won't make life any better for the Palestinians either. We'd all be in such a better position if we cooperated - but how can people in such pain think straight enough to cooperate?
The loss of each one of these people is felt by everyone here. Each time there is an attack like this I feel personally like I am going through the Holocaust again - the facelessness of the murders is an overwhelming factor for me.
A wonderful student of mine has been writing about the rediscovery of Arab identity in the past year and a half. She points out the rap music that has emerged in particular. Last night a friend heard a rap group in Arabic. She said all the Jews were dancing to it with great enthusiasm.
The only problem was the text. It was - she said- full of hate at the neglect and discrimination against Israeli Arabs. And the estatic dancers didn't understand the language.
This may be one of the most key images in the entire situation. We Jews have never learned Arabic - so how can we hear the pain of the people we live with.
I like to watch my friend Naim Araidi on television. In addition to presenting the news in Arabic, he has a program where he interviews Arab children. Sometimes they're little, sometime they're teenagers. They're usually very articulate about their situations - in part because he asks the right questions. I read the subtitles but follow a bit better now that I used to. But it is really difficult. One of Naim's poems is on my website - I'll try to put some more on when the internet services at the university get restored - right now I write for 10 minutes before 7:00 each morning.
We went to a wedding last night - it took place very near Megiddo, where the terrible bus tragedy took place only 2 days ago. We didn't pass the scene of the bombing, but it didn't leave my mind the entire evening, even though we were all celebrating with great ardor.
Even though the wedding took place on a socialist kibbutz, there were many guests wearing the black hats of the very religious. Women wearing hats and long skirts standing next to writhing girls in miniskirts. At one point we found ourselves between a group of people "benching," singing the blessing after the meal and an another group of people dancing to middle-eastern rhythms.
Today, coming back from errands in Tel Aviv, we passed the group of women in black with signs "An End to Occupation." They're right, we said. And then at the next corner was the antithetical "Moledet" party with pictures of Arafat and signs "he smiles and he kills." And we said, they're right too. There are numerous other platforms of the Moledet party that I have problems with, but that drive through Tel Aviv reminded me of the wedding of last night - a world of oxymorons.
Can't begin each time with another report of an attack - the 3 people killed last night deserve discussion but I can't do it.
More useful - for me at least - is thinking about tzedaka, charity in English. But tzedaka is so much more. In Hebrew the story of Rabbi Akiva and his daughter is supposed to be theorigin of the expression 'tzedaka saves from death' because she got saved from being bitten by a snake on her wedding night when she gave her food to a beggar.
But I think tzedaka is more of an attitude toward the world, a constant awareness of the needs of others, the fact that others exist in the same world with the same needs, and the fact of interconnectedness. That awareness is also parallel with the awareness of danger - when you are tuned to the needs of others as of yourself, you are also tuned to the dangers from others, and what can bring them to act against you. that's why it saves lives - not because you get rewarded for giving things to others.
The two bomb-cars captured today in Ramallah, the score of wanted bombers arrested today in the territories, the 'dirty' bomb picked up at the U.S. airport -- all of these terrifying facts today have not touched me so much as a specific item mentioned in passing.
There was a doctor interviewed today together with his patient - a young man whose detonator only worked in part. He was injured and was recovering in a hospital in Israel, in the same ward as the soldiers injured in the bus in Megiddo last week. He was apologetic, mistaken, he said, because of his great depression. Then the Doctor was asked about his age and he said that when they brought him in, he had thought he was younger than his sixteen - maybe thirteen. When pressed as to why, he mentioned that the Shahids are usually shaven of all body hair, to purify them.
Can you imagine being purified before you go to meet your maker, in preparation for your trip to paradise? There is something so beautiful about it. So mad.
Can you imagine carrying a dirty bomb into New York, causing thousands of people to die slow painful deaths, in a state of purification?
Ann, visiting here from Australie where she lives now, asked me today if we have changed our habits of living because of the dangers of explosion. No, I said, after considering for a while. I guess I do much the same things. But think of it, here I am writing every single day about bombs - about terror - about injustice, mercy, righteousness. I may be doing the same things, but my mind is no where where it was.
whose mind is?