Note: Dana Post Adler serves on the Board of the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County and as a member of its Israel and Overseas Committee.
Where should I begin? Heartbroken, angry, frightened, distraught, sick: these are the first words that come to mind when describing my feelings over the last week. I love being Jewish. I love the values and the foods and the prayers in shul and the sermons from my rabbi and the warm feeling of community. I love traveling to Israel, often several times a year. I love spending time with my Israeli “family.”
Israel to me is like a second home, where I ALWAYS serendipitously bump into people I know. I love the food, and the smells, and the dancing, how the sunshine shimmers on the Jerusalem stone and on the Mediterranean Sea. I am incredibly proud of my only son who served Israel for two years as a voluntary or “lone” soldier. I am proud that my youngest chose to become a bat mitzvah at the egalitarian section of the Kotel, along with family and fifty Israeli friends, many of whom had never witnessed a girl read Torah.
The brutality of the massacre on Saturday, October 7th has left me shaken to the core: the photos of headless Israeli soldiers, burnt and shot bodies of infants, bloodied corpses, the kidnapping of elderly Holocaust survivors, the raping of young women…there are no words. My friends in Israel have relatives who have perished. They attend funerals and shiva daily. They are subjected to constant sirens, bombings, and evacuations. I will never understand how people from around the world are staying silent. Some non-Jewish friends have reached out to me, but few are publicly standing for Israel on social media. They are afraid to do so, even when reminded that this is EXACTLY how the Holocaust began.
The marches in New York City and at college campuses that celebrate the massacre have affected me profoundly. How can rational people stand for such evil? I believe in human rights and human dignity. As a scholar and an activist, I have studied and understood the conflict. I have visited Sderot near Gaza and other southern kibbutzim directly on the border and I understand the danger. I have spent the day in East Jerusalem at an Arab community center for teens and at an Israeli school with troubled youth where the resources are profoundly different. I have been through checkpoints in the West Bank so I could have coffee in Ramallah with a Palestinian business leader and toured the checkerboard city of Hebron with a brave Palestinian activist. I have been to the Lebanese border in the North and I have many friends who have come to expect rocket attacks from Hezbollah.
I can tell you that what I have seen has been eye-opening. There are some very deep-seated problems. However, NONE of this is an excuse for what we have witnessed the last two weeks. There are not “two sides” to this atrocity. Hamas must be defeated. Israel has every right to defend herself. In the world of nation-states, Israel has every right to exist as the homeland of the Jewish people. I am so proud to have dedicated much of my adult life to standing for the Jewish people and I will continue to do so, not just for ourselves but for all humanity. I encourage both my Jewish and non-Jewish friends to do the same.
STAND UP! RAISE YOUR VOICE! We cannot allow barbaric violence to continue, for any of us. Am Yisrael Chai. The Jewish People Live.
Dana Post Adler lives in Delray Beach. She is a PhD student at FAU studying Sociology and Jewish Studies. She serves on the Board of Governors for the Jewish Agency for Israel, the Board of Directors for the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach and is Chair of the City of Delray Beach’s Site Plan, Review and Appearance Board.
Originally published at https://www.sun-sentinel.com/2023/11/01/stand-up-and-raise-your-voice-for-israel-commentary/