Colors: Green Color

I have received many emails and phone calls from people all over the world asking me the same question: “What can we do, from where we live, to help our beloved Eretz Yisrael during this difficult time?” Here’s my answer. (Thank you to my daughter Nava for brainstorming these ideas with me and, by the way, 11 in g’matria is alef + yud = Eretz Yisrael!)

How do you feel when someone or something you love is attacked, maligned, or defamed? Obviously, your first reaction is to scream, “How dare they!” You immediately jump into your defensive mode while simultaneously preparing your revenge attack… and then reality sets in. You sit quietly for a moment and think, “Maybe they’re right? Do their words have any merit? Maybe I’m not seeing the whole picture?”

Things in Israel have been quite dangerous in the last 24 hours. Over 500 rockets have been fired by Hamas into our cities, resulting in two deaths and close to 100 injured. In addition to the rocket attacks, Israeli Arabs have shown their true colors by showing complete support and solidarity with their Hamas brothers. How did they do this? Simple: by attacking Jews on the street, stoning and destroying Jewish cars, burning shuls and yeshivos, and acting like hoodlums, thugs, and violent street gangs. In short, these last few hours – as a matter of fact, these last few weeks – have not been easy ones for our Nation. Jerusalem is under attack, as well as cities that used to boast of peaceful coexistence, such as Lod, Ramle, Jaffa, and more.

Jews put a lot of focus on the past. We just concluded Pesach where we read, discussed, and even sang about what happened to our people over 3,300 years ago. Every Shabbat we read portions of the Torah, about Noah’s Ark, Yosef and his multicolored coat and even about Moshe hitting the rock. We celebrate Chanukah (which happened around 2,200 years ago), Purim (2,500 years ago) and are getting ready to celebrate Shavuot – the day our Nation received the Torah… 3,333 years ago (yes, I did the math!)

My morning minyan in Herzliya is similar to other minyanim around the world: Eighty percent of the people come to daven while 20 percent come to collect tz’dakah. Our shul has a very simple policy: Solicitations are permitted only after davening has concluded. Every now and then, an aggressive collector tries to avoid this one rule by telling me (I’m the gabbai, by the way) that he can’t wait, but I do not show him mercy. “Sorry, fellow, no walking around the shul until we’re finished.” One of my buddies once said the following to a guy: “Excuse me, I don’t bother you when you daven, so please don’t bother me!” Clever line, which works with some of those guys.

This past week, a skit on Saturday Night Live (SNL) caused a storm in the Jewish world. Michael Che Campbell, a stand-up comedian, actor, and writer on the show, said the following (as part of his skit): “Half the folks in Israel have already gotten the COVID vaccine. I’m going to guess it’s the Jewish half.” Many Jewish groups immediately screamed “anti-Semitism!” and have demanded an apology from the producers of SNL and the executives at NBC. In my humble opinion, no apology is necessary. On the contrary! Israel needs to send a “Thank You” card to SNL for publicizing that fact. Yes, Israel takes care of Jews first…and we are very proud of that!

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