Since the Hebrews wandered Sinai, we were warned not to undervalue our strength. Twelve spies entered Canaan on a reconnaissance mission as a prelude to invading Canaan. Ten returned saying “We looked like grasshoppers to ourselves, and so we must have looked to them.” (Numbers 13:33). For their perfidy, God condemned the entire people to wander the Sinai wilderness for more than three additional decades. Accordingly, the Torah’s lesson is to exercise our power as a people. Yet, some Jews, specifically anti-Zionists, advocate a different narrative.

The Jewish people battled their way into the Promised Land and established a kingdom. Devastating invasions by Assyria, Babylon, and Rome squelched Jewish identity as a strong people. The world again regarded Jewish strength only briefly after the Six-Day War in 1967. Currently, young anti-Zionists assail Jewish power to protect and pursue those who would kill us.

As a backlash against Israel’s response in Gaza to Hamas’ murderous raid, anti-Zionism is increasing in the Jewish community. In reaction to Israel’s military actions, many Jews assumed a new identity. They support the boycott, divestment, and sanction movement to constrain Israel and joined protests decrying Israel’s actions in Gaza. They wrapped themselves in a cloak of moral superiority. We can debate whether or not Israel as a nation has overly expanded upon the Zionist dream.  But the anti-Zionists ignore the other moral values that speak to security and survival.

Jews are the perennially beleaguered people. Without a nation, we had no civil rights. Without participation in the majority religion, we had no religious rights. Regarded as sub-human, we had no human rights. Only a Jewish state truly reverses 2,000 years of persecution.

As Jews we cherish life. The Torah teaches us to care for our neighbors and even strangers. Yet, those are not the only values we uphold. My colleague, Rabbi Reuben Modek, a self-described former “lefty” wrote that in our “zeal for peace and justice, we have neglected to take seriously other core Jewish values” [such as] . . . “the preservation of life, my own life, my family’s life, and my country’s, would be one of them. Another is to “preempt the one who sets out to kill you by killing him/her first. (Sanhedrin 72a)”. Modek urges that the Jewish people must preserve and protect Israel and preempt attacks.

I share the longing for peace between Israel and its neighbors. I condemn extreme violence and mourn the loss of all lives. Yet, we should not be like “grasshoppers”, small and jumpy in the face of enemies. Jews and Israelis have finally achieved human rights and civil rights, not to be yielded to a violent adversary. If succesful in their advocacy, the Jews who value the rights of others to the detriment of our people, might condemn all of us to displacement and wandering in this world.

Rabbi Evan J. Krame

 

Watching populist “right-wing” political leaders gain strength across the world, I fear a new age of demagogues has returned. Their skill is directing attention to the shadows and away from the light. Their approach is the antithesis of the Torah, which inspires us to illuminate the world.

Thinking about light and shadow, I recalled Plato’s allegory of the cave. Imagine people stuck in a darkened cave. Bound in a row, the people always face the cave wall. Behind the prisoners are puppeteers. Behind the puppeteers are fires. The prisoners only see shadows on the wall, neither the light nor the puppeteers. Their reality is just shadows. This summary of Plato’s allegory of the cave describes a dystopian existence. The allegory also reveals what frightens me about our world. Many are stuck in caves looking only at shadows. Their anger, antipathy, and denialism bind them together.

By contrast, our Jewish tradition offers an alternative to a shadowy subterranean metaphor. For example, Parsha Behaalotecha begins with raising light. Among the priests’ duties is to light the candelabrum. The priest ascends steps to reach the menorah. In a single motion, of raising up and illuminating, the priest focuses our attention on the two essential elements of improving the world – lifting and lighting. We lift our eyes up, we set our gaze high, and we aspire for a better world. With light we show the way, eliminate the darkness and illuminate the way forward. In three words, Behaalotecha Et Hanairot ( בְּהַעֲלֹֽתְךָ֙ אֶת־הַנֵּרֹ֔ת ), the Torah presents a mantra for a troubled world.

In the modern update of the cave allegory, people are trapped because their focus is misdirected. Their cave is discontent, disaffiliation, or distress. Rather than seeking the light, the shadows captivate them.

These prisoners are drawn to the shadows they see on social media. According to Franklin Foer: “Facebook and Google are giant feedback loops that give people what they want to hear. And when you use them in a world where your biases are being constantly confirmed, you become susceptible to fake news, propaganda, demagoguery.”

Bots, trolls, and fake media, further beguile us. Abusers of artificial intelligence misdirect and roil the shadow watchers. Reactionary clergy, populist agitators, or power-hungry politicians exhort people to believe the shadows and ignore the truth. There’s an element of complacency and weariness. Sometimes, it is just easier to remain in our caves, despite our detachment from the real world.

Judaism understands the light to be truth and Godliness. The Torah instructs us not only to seek light but to spread the light. Rather than succumb to shadows, we light  lamps of truth and justice, high up to inspire everyone. This task is not for the priests alone, but for all of us, as we are a nation of priests.

I take the words Behaalotecha Et Hanairot as a signal to get up, exit shadowy existence in our caves, and spread Divine light. Behaalotecha asks us to be fired up for a civil and just society.

Rabbi Evan J. Krame

After January 6, I grieved, outraged, and horrified. Our President encouraged insurrection as if he were calling for justice. There were no statements of remorse. After October 7, I struggled with melancholy, rage, and fear. I heard the world cheer the assault. Even as Gaza crumbles, the terrorists refuse to drop their weapons no less seek forgiveness. My indignation, however righteous, was not the only response.

Perhaps it is a Jewish trait that we yearn for justice and expect the perpetrator of evil to atone. We hope or even expect those who cause harm to regret their mistakes. The guidance comes from Parshat Nasso.

דַּבֵּר֮ אֶל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵל֒ אִ֣ישׁ אֽוֹ־אִשָּׁ֗ה כִּ֤י יַעֲשׂוּ֙ מִכׇּל־חַטֹּ֣את הָֽאָדָ֔ם לִמְעֹ֥ל מַ֖עַל בַּיהֹוָ֑ה וְאָֽשְׁמָ֖ה הַנֶּ֥פֶשׁ הַהִֽוא׃
Speak to the Israelites: When men or women individually commit any wrong toward a fellow human being, thus breaking faith with יהוה, and they realize their guilt,
וְהִתְוַדּ֗וּ אֶֽת־חַטָּאתָם֮ אֲשֶׁ֣ר עָשׂוּ֒ וְהֵשִׁ֤יב אֶת־אֲשָׁמוֹ֙ בְּרֹאשׁ֔וֹ וַחֲמִישִׁת֖וֹ יֹסֵ֣ף עָלָ֑יו וְנָתַ֕ן לַאֲשֶׁ֖ר אָשַׁ֥ם לֽוֹ׃
they shall confess the wrong that they have done. They shall make restitution in the principal amount and add one-fifth to it, giving it to the one who was wronged.

Our belief equates wrongdoing with breaking faith in God. The standard is true of any wrong toward any fellow human being. Whether breaking into the Capitol or killing a cowering family, all criminal behavior against another person offends God.

Even as we feel righteous and holy indignation, we consider the morality of our recourse against evil. While we strive for justice and retribution on behalf of those who have suffered, the Torah duly obliges us to control our emotions.

According to the Torah, God is the ultimate arbitrator of justice. Nonetheless, Torah establishes systems of adjudicating justice. The Torah  commands us to pursue “Justice, Justice.” Deuteronomy 16:20. Commentators presume the repeated word “justice” refers to the quality of justice we seek, one inspired by Godliness. At Leviticus 19:18 the Torah excludes vengeance from justice: “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against members of your people. Love your fellow [Israelite] as yourself: I am God.” The line between justice and vengeance can become muddied. The desire for vengeance coopts and rots true justice.

Those calling for vengeance should always be suspect. Those who attacked and killed on January 6 and October 7, unrepentantly broke faith in God, and sought what they supposed to be justice through violence.  Palestinian leaders and their sympathizers who applaud murder and rape do so couched in the language of justice, seeking retribution for Israeli aggression. But Justice is not the provenance of those who scream loudest. Justice does not validate sexual violence and murdering children.

The people who encouraged the attack on our Capitol perverted justice in pursuit of their purportedly righteous and just cause. Thereafter, fair judicial processes were derided by those who suffer the consequences of their unlawful behavior.  Trump, instigator of the January 6 attack, seeks revenge robed in a call for justice. The language of Justice is altered and perverted. Justice does not mean achieving your goals by any means necessary. Righteousness can become a sword rather than a shield.

We need a new playbook for a world where vengeance and violence are cloaked as justice. The opening chapter of this new playbook begins with the Torah and requires all to recognize that violence offends God. The next chapters are beyond my imagination.

Rabbi Evan J. Krame

A friend asked for my opinion; “who was the most influential figure of the last century?” Our ensuing conversation squared off around the dichotomy of leaders in times of destruction or leaders who brought progress. Is the most influential person a warrior or a peacemaker? Are we deciding between commanding forces or advancing civilization? Hitler or Einstein? Churchill or Mandela? I thought about this question, hoping my legacy is at least that of someone who improved the world.

In the Torah, some leaders are both peacemakers and warriors. Abraham made a pact with unfriendly neighbors and battled marauding Kings. Moses rescued the Hebrews and commanded troops against hostile tribes. Perhaps because of their ability to play dual roles, they are among the most influential figures in history.

We begin the fourth book of the Torah, BaMidbar (“Numbers”), with identity and leadership. There is only one Moses. Yet, many are needed to lead men into battle and to foster civil society. Representatives of each tribe are named. Why does Torah now expand on the roles of dozens of other Hebrews? Perhaps the book foreshadows when the greatest leader will step back.

Soon enough in BaMidbar, Moses buckled under the pressure of governing the people and passed the military leadership to Joshua.  Leadership is not a permanent status.  No person is a perfect leader.

I was debating whether to attend a community meeting this week. A friend suggested that as a community leader, I must show up. I began to reflect on my role and my legacy. Neither a commander or a chieftain, and holding no elected office I felt plebeian. I have no pulpit, neither bully nor bimah. I don’t compare to Abraham or Moses as a leader. No canon, saga, or song will tell my story. At best, family and friends will recall my good deeds and mock my failings.

Martin Buber relates the Chasidic story of Reb Zusya. On his deathbed, he began to cry uncontrollably, and his students and disciples tried hard to comfort him. They asked him, “Rabbi, why do you weep? You are almost as wise as Moses and almost as hospitable as Abraham. Surely heaven will judge you favorably.”

Zusya answered them: “It is true. When I get to heaven, I won’t worry much if God asks me, ‘Zusya, why were you not more like Abraham?’ or ‘Zusya, why were you not more like Moses?’ I know I would be able to answer these questions.  After all, I was not given the righteousness of Abraham or the faith of Moses but I tried to be both hospitable and thoughtful.  But what will I say when God asks me, ‘Zusya, why were you not more like Zusya?’

The time to consider our legacy is now. We cannot all be leaders, chieftains, or prophets. We can help create a better world, with wisdom, generosity, and kindness.  Just exercise the inherent goodness within you.  For now, I will focus on being the most Evan I can be.

Rabbi Evan J. Krame

 

Here’s some shocking news, Brad Pitt is not perfect. He has a condition known as facial blindness, the inability to recognize faces. I am familiar with the condition. I have a friend who also struggles to distinguish faces. Perhaps you can relate. You likely have had an occasion where you met someone who knows you, but you don’t know them. The situation is more than embarrassing. The impaired blessing of acknowledging another person becomes a curse.

Pitt’s condition makes him seem remote, aloof, inaccessible, and self-absorbed. When another person doesn’t offer us their recognition we feel less valued. But the truth is, Pitt’s ashamed that he can’t remember people he meets and means no harm when he doesn’t recognize them.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, artificial intelligence is advancing in facial recognition. To the delight of travelers, facial recognition technology is increasingly used at airports to screen passengers boarding planes and through customs. Facial recognition technology will be coming to a device near you. Soon Brad Pitt will hold up his phone to identify any approaching person.

Facing another person acknowledges their humanity. Looking at someone creates a meaningful connection. In fact, there is holiness associated with facing another person. It comes from the Torah. The oldest formulaic blessing in Torah reads, literally, “May God bless you and keep you, May God turn God’s face to you and grace you, May God turn God’s face toward you and put peace upon you.” Numbers 6:24-26. By contrast, to forewarn the Hebrews to be faithful and obedient, God threatens with the words “I will set My face against you.” Lev.26:17.

Your ability to recognize and greet others is a blessing for you and a blessing you give. We enjoy being identified and welcomed just by a smiling face acknowledging us. When we are angry with others, or wish retribution, or harbor ill will, we turn our face. Denying our visage upon seeing another person is like cursing them.

When happening upon people who have hurt me or who I do not like, I try to hide my face from them. I do this to shelter myself from feeling badly. Perhaps Torah is teaching that the holier exercise is to offer our face to acknowledge the humanity of all people we meet. If I can fully offer my face to people who disturb me, how much more so can I show a loving face to the people who care about me. This is a difficult exercise but one that transforms us from feeling cursed to being a blessing – acknowledging that we must face every person to be fully the person God intended us to be.

Rabbi Evan J. Krame

Erik Larson’s new book The Demon of Unrest is a great read, just as was Devil in the White City and many others he authored. Exploring the months before Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration, Larson uncovers a truth relevant to today. For a democratic nation to survive we must abide by just laws.

Southern states seceded from the union after Lincoln’s election in 1860. They had characterized him as a “black Republican” fully dedicated to the abolition of slavery. The brand was inaccurate. Lincoln was willing to uphold the laws in place at that time. He maintained that fugitive slaves be returned and the abolition of slavery deferred. The Southern perception of Lincoln was inaccurate.

Southerners, that is white Southerners, were full of pride and obsessed with chivalrous behavior. Their attachment to the Southern way of life overshadowed any attachment to the Union.

Larson’s thesis reminds me of some oft-repeated lines of the Torah about upholding the law. Parshat Behar of the Torah reminds us to obey the laws as the path to well-being. “You shall observe My laws and faithfully keep My rules, that you may live upon the land in security;” Leviticus 25:18. As the South was not quite the Promised Land, the principles of obedience to the laws and fidelity to the Union did not resonate well enough.

Of course, Larson was reflecting on the current state of the Union. The issues confronting us today are many. Be it immigrants, abortion, or prejudices, many Americans now cling to a bellicose former President who pridefully endorses carnage over fidelity. As our electoral processes are under attack, the systems by which our democracy is upheld are undermined.

I believe there is a spiritual aspect to our nation’s current distress. A spiritual person understands submission of the ego to the Divine or a greater cause. A result of religious practice is to learn both obedience and fulfillment. The faithful observance of law, albeit just laws, is a neglected virtue.

Our nation has endured civil war, caused largely by arrogance, defiance, and disregard for law. Those same problems exist today, and I pray that they don’t result in yet another civil war.

Rabbi Evan J. Krame

Jacinda Ardern was only 37 when she became Prime Minister of New Zealand. A working mother, she smashed the glass ceiling. After five tumultuous years, she stepped aside with a simple message: “The decent traits of a human being should be the decent traits of leaders.” Her words are in sharp contrast to the behavior of many current leaders.

Leadership is not about personality; it’s about behavior.  That lesson carries forward from the Torah to leaders like Ardern. At Parshat Emor, the Torah sets out the rules of behavior expected of High Priests. Priests follow rules that elevate their status. They should not be exposed to the dead, must remain scrupulous in their relationships, and stay meticulous in their duties. Looking past the particulars of temple sacrifice or the limitations on marital relations, the message is clear, leadership’s behavior sets a standard for all of us.

Ardern reflected on her tenure in 2023: “The most important leadership principles can be found in what we teach our children — empathy, curiosity, bravery, and kindness.” Great leaders should have these traits in the 21st century.

Soon after becoming Prime Minister, crisis tested Arden’s leadership. In 2019, a white nationalist live-streamed his attacks on two mosques in Christchurch.  Fifty-one people died.  Ardern’s response was exemplary. Within two days of her demand, the parliament banned semi-automatic weapons. Describing the victims, most of whom were immigrants to New Zealand, Ardern said: “They are us. The person who has perpetuated this violence against us is not. They have no place in New Zealand.” Ardern later remarked that “the characteristics we should necessarily deploy in troubled times are defined by the kind of humanity” we should always bring to leadership.

Ardern’s legacy challenges all leaders, especially in the United States. Americans must hold their leaders to the same standards of behavior as Ardern. If your people are hurting, hurt with them.  Protect threatened minorities. People who are militant and ethno-nationalist have no place in civilized society. Similarly, the new antisemitism of the intersectional left is equally hateful and underserving of space on campus or in political realms.

America needs leaders who appeal to our overarching goals as a nation of immigrants, ensuring freedom, security, and opportunity for everyone. This country’s journey must reflect these high ideals, encourage hope, and pursue standards of excellent behavior.

In an election year, we need Arden’s reminder: how leaders behave reflects the purpose of their position. In a time of petulant and egoistic politicians, Jacinda Ardern’s words seem prophetic. We should select leaders who cherish decency displayed by their behaviors – “empathy, curiosity, bravery, and kindness.” Leaders’ willingness to adhere to standards of proper behavior truly sets the standard for us all.

Rabbi Evan J. Krame

.Yesterday, I encountered a bearded young man riding a motorized scooter, donning a black yarmulke, with his tzitzit fluttering behind him. His attire juxtaposed traditional garb with modern flair, as his designer black sneakers sported a gilded logo. This sight encapsulated my confusion about how Jews perceive one another – often perplexing as the sight was not as expected. The differences between the way Jewish people look or act can be discordant.  The way we expect each other to look or act can feel disruptive. Yet, the Torah commands Jews to love one another.

At Torah’s core lies Parshat Kedoshim. The text requires that: “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against members of your people. Love your fellow [Israelite] as yourself: I am יהוה.” The Torah commands us to harbor love for our fellow Jews. Yet recent events have tested our commitment to this tenet.

In Israel, Ultra-religious groups have been exempt from military service . . . until now. These groups have threatened to withdraw from the ruling political coalition if required to serve in the army. I appreciate that the Haredi of Israel have devoted themselves to Torah study, which we believe sustains the world. Their reluctance to defend Israel strains my ability to love my fellow Jews as I love myself. It’s confounding.

Closer to home, the offspring of cherished friends have clashed with their parents over the conflict in Gaza. For some, empathy for Palestinian suffering has led to a rejection of both Zionism and Jewish customs. The Passover seder table became a battleground, with some refusing to participate. I struggle to comprehend how politicizing and even abstaining from a Seder, the celebration of freedom, serves as a logical response to the ongoing war. It’s bewildering.

I’ve engaged in challenging dialogues with former friends regarding Jewish rituals and laws. Observant acquaintances have rebuffed me with statements like, “I can’t eat in your house because your kashruth isn’t sufficient,” and “Non-observant Jews are detrimental to our community.” Conversely, non-observant friends have expressed frustration, saying, “Your refusal to work on Shabbat or a holiday is absurd,” and “Can’t you make an exception?” Disagreements over religious principles often sow discord. It’s disorienting.

There are moments when I feel uplifted witnessing Jews proudly displaying their yarmulkes and tzitzit in public. This is especially true when on vacation an orthodox man goes whizzing by on his scooter. On the other hand, when individuals sporting religious attire ignore me, or worse, ostracize me, I am disheartened.

Recently while walking my dog on a Saturday, I offered a “Shabbat shalom” to my observant neighbors. I barely received a grudging acknowledgment. Then I realized I had my earphones on and a phone in my hand. I wondered, am I being regarded with suspicion, or is there a deeper rift?

Perhaps it’s natural for us to categorize “others,” thereby reinforcing our own identities. Yet, Jews are separating themselves from other Jews, defying Hillel’s caution, “Do not separate yourself from the community.

In times shadowed by anti-Semitism, we can ill afford to exist as isolated factions within the broader Jewish community. Though we may not always see eye to eye, we can still extend love towards one another. Despite differing interpretations of tradition, we can still show mutual respect. The perplexing truth is that while we aspire to love our fellow Jews, achieving this ideal often feels unattainable.

The injunction to love our fellow Jew may have more transgressors than adherents. Perhaps the best we can strive for is to practice loving each other while acknowledging that perfection in this endeavor may elude us.

Rabbi Evan J. Krame

Protesters on university campuses this spring embraced a culture of disobedience, prioritizing confrontation over constructive engagement. These protests prompt reflection: what motivates us to adhere to rules, and when is disobedience justified?

Drawing from the Jewish tradition, we find a delicate balance between the duty to challenge and to obey. Throughout history, we see instances of righteous protest, such as Abraham’s respectful objection to God’s plan to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, guided solely by his internal moral compass. Talmud offers a radical statement of responsibility to object.  “If one is in a position to protest the sinful conduct of the whole world, and he fails to do so, he is apprehended for the sins of the whole world.” Shabbat 54b.

In Torah this week, Parshat Acharei Mot, Moses, and Aaron received detailed instructions about sacrifices for sin. These directions emphasize obedience. Yet, they are not given in a vacuum. As rules of atonement and sanctification, there’s an implicit acknowledgment that justice and morality transcend mere adherence to rules. The failure to adhere to the instructions would be dire. Disobedience that flaunts rules of behavior carries consequences, including the potential withdrawal of divine protection.

When I observe college campus protests, I naturally filter them through a Jewish lens. I can appreciate students’ zeal akin to Abraham’s, yet their disregard for civility and propensity for confrontation leads me to condemn their failure to respect basic rules of nonviolent and civil engagement. Criminal destruction and violence are not protests, they are criminal activity, plainly and simply.

Our tradition unequivocally rejects violent and hateful protest tactics. By comparison, Israelis recently held massive demonstrations, first to protest the government’s intervention in the Judiciary and later to bring home the hostages. I believe that the Jewish way to protest can be both peaceful and potent.

Some politicians criticize these student protests, under the guise of championing law and order. By contrast, they brand student protests as anarchic and subversive. Conversely, liberal commentators like Anand Giridharadas contextualize them within America’s tradition of revolutionary activism. Liberalism has its inherent danger, veering towards romanticizing activism supporting violent regimes like Hamas.

The lack of civility raises an important question: are these students enamored with disobedience culture? Could culpability also lie with their teachers and parents? In my mind, we must teach the value of obedience alongside the obligation to dissent.

Reflecting on my biases, I wonder if I might view pro-Israel protestors more favorably. Yet, I would not abide by anti-Muslim rhetoric or violence as a tool of protest. I cringed seeing pro-Israel demonstrators in forceful confrontations. But, these were rare incidents. On the other hand, the Jewish community at large was too restrained in response to the protests according to NYU professor Scott Galloway.

I also note that protesters have alternatives to campus encampments. They could opt for more personal advocacy methods like door-knocking or political lobbying, which foster dialogue over division. They resorted to disruption, chaos, and confrontation.

A lesson learned from American history is that violent protest further divides our country. Civil disobedience can only be a legitimate tool in a democratic society if it adheres to universal moral principles of non-violence, respectful engagement, and consideration for the rights of all individuals.

Rabbi Evan J. Krame

“But I must also feel it as a man.
I cannot but remember such things were
That were most precious to me. Did heaven look on
And would not take their part? Sinful Macduff,
They were all struck for thee! Naught that I am,
Not for their own demerits, but for mine,
Fell slaughter on their souls.” 

  • Macbeth Act Four Scene Three

After the death, acharei mot, of Aaron’s sons, Moses approaches. He warns Aaron not to approach the altar unless prepared to offer a sacrifice or Aaron shall die. Aaron is in mourning, although his emotional state is not described. A glimpse of the grief a father might feel is part of the Shakespeare canon.

Macbeth murdered Macduff’s children and wife. At first, Macduff is silent. The scene is reminiscent of the Torah. Aaron too was silent when his children were consumed.

Then, with the encouragement of Prince Malcolm, Macduff pours out his heart.  In a few words, he expresses emotions I imagine Aaron also must have felt but did not express.

Aaron’s sons were precious to him. He must have wondered why God did not protect them rather than kill them.  Just as Macduff was emotionally torn, Aaron too might have thought that were it not for Aaron’s role as High Priest his sons might still be alive. Or perhaps Aaron was still anguished over the incident of the golden calf. Either way, it is natural for us to imagine what we did wrong that led to our families’ harm.

Both Torah and Shakespeare have me thinking about the parents of the hostages. I wonder about their conversations with Heaven. Do they bargain with God for safe returns or lash out against the God that should have protected their child? Or do they blame themselves? Perhaps they ask if we did not live near Gaza, or if we did not live in Israel, would this have happened to our child?

Macduff’s speech reminds me that the captives are not the only hostages. Their parents also are held hostage by fear, anguish, and doubt.  These are the words of Rachel Goldberg-Polin, mother of Hersh Goldberg-Polin and Israeli American Hostage.

“I have learned there are no appropriate words in any language to describe the excruciating, throat-constricting dread I feel at all times from having my only son stolen from me.  I have learned that I can pretend to be a person when all I want to do is disappear . . . I may be small but I can, and will, do whatever it takes to get my son back. I have learned that my love for my beautiful Hersh continues to grow each day.”

May God rescue all of them just as God rescued Hebrews from captivity before.

Rabbi Evan J. Krame