The ways people hurt each other never cease to amaze me. I got up early this morning because I lost a lot of sleep over an email from a young woman, the offspring of a non-Jewish mother and a Jewish father, who has had too many hurtful encounters with Jews. In spite of it, she has not lost her pride in her Jewish heritage. But her heart has become the battleground over which the Jewish community struggles to learn how to deal with the people like her, the products of interfaith marriages.
And lately, I’ve listened to so many stories from people struggling with the toll Jewish infighting has taken on them. I’ve heard too many stories about people giving up on conversion to Judaism because rabbis have hurt them, instead of supported them. I’ve heard converts are being told that conversions done by certain Modern Orthodox rabbis wouldn’t be worth a dime in Israel. I have heard too many stories like these lately.
Then I read “What if Gates were an unrenowned Jewish black woman?” after a Twitter friend, @e_fink forwarded me the piece. When he asked for a comment, I wrote back that I was “so incredibly, unabashedly horrified.” Even if I could see everything from the perspective of the police officers, I couldn’t stop replaying the scene of an innocent middle-aged Orthodox Jewish black woman having to barricade herself from the cops in her own apartment out of fear.
If that is not enough, there is the headline “Gunman kills 3, injures 11 at gay club in Tel Aviv” in yesterday’s Huffington Post. How can you hate people so much that you no longer see their humanity? I don’t know. I know these stories just seem to go from bad to worst.
And as I post this, I wonder how many more strange letters I will get from strange people who as Twitter friend @jewinthecity wisely explained are “unhappy with what they’ve got going on in their life – so they want to bring others down too!” I’m sorry folks but you are sadly mistaken if you think I have to explain my life choices to you. I don’t even do that for my mother.
I’m bleary-eyed from lack of sleep so I’ll be cheesy and say it, love has got to be stronger than hate, than hurt. I have to believe it. And the more we love, the more we support each other, the more we reach out to one another (me to you, you to me through your letters, your comments), the weaker that hate becomes.