Sunday, September 27, 2009

Taking Stock

For me taking stock is an ongoing process. There are some things I've noticed...

Sharing is what it is about. People shouldn't throw stones. And leaders ought to strive to make peace, not war.

Striving for peace enables us to help repair the world. But looking to dominate or live out of balance leads to war.

It may sound naive to push for peace when war clouds are looming...but I believe, intention has something to do with creating a future.

Do we really want war? Really? Who wins?

On the other hand we must prepare ourselves to fight and defend ourselves; however, striving to make peace at every opportunity could do wonders. Although, knowing human nature...even the peaceful warrior sometimes has the urge to fight back. So, to gather one's focus and use it for the good of all/including my own I strive for peace. The other direction is chaos.

Ahmadinejad is a repressive would-be messiah/mahdi who can't even acknowledge the truth of recent history. He seems impossible to deal with as he funds hatred and disinformation. He and his party oppress their own countrymen while paying Hamas and Hizbullah to foment war. And the whole underground nuke facility is potentially catastrophic.

Netanyahu is too proud. He thinks he is Abba Eban. He may be facile with words but does he have what it takes to make peace?

The whole struggle for Jerusalem saddens me. I liked Teddy Kollek's view of sharing respectfully--a democratic way for the complexities of social life.

Since then the build up of settlements for some and denial of building rights for others is out of balance--undemocratic. Using religion as a wedge to increase imbalance is the wrong way.

I grew up with a limited view; we all do. I was proud of Jewish soldiers standing in awe once more at the Western Wall. I thought most Israelis lived communally on kibbutzim. Boy, was I wrong. Upon arrival I was surprised to notice wealthy enclaves in a few neighborhoods of Tel Aviv. This was antithetical to the egalitarian myth I'd grown up with. I, the daughter of a self-employed mechanic and homemaker/bookkeeper. Though I proudly told my friends that dad was a car doctor, we didn't have the funds to give me extras like summer camp.

So, I was annoyed with the wealth disparities evident in Israel, the blooming desert to whom we gave coins of tzedakah each week at Sunday School.

There were remote "development" towns whose residents seemed to live in East bloc shambles...cinder block hulks in a barren wasteland. These were people with fewer connections. And the Palestinians, whether Israeli citizens or not, did not seem to have equal access to what the richer areas had. But, the saying went, they had it better than in most Arab countries. To me, it was a disillusioning sight and made me want to see civil rights for all in that special land.

I am grateful for the work of B'Tselem, the New Israel Fund and Meretz, but there's a long way to go, as one could argue about almost any other country.

And then there's the irony of President Obama in Cairo acknowledging Mecca and Medina as the birthplace of Islam...places where other religions are forbidden or repressed in public. It left me wondering if he is biding his time when he speaks the parallel of Jerusalem, and Judaism. What's the problem with Jewish state of Israel having sovereinty there, especially if the religious shrines are governed by their own?

Perhaps, it's the complexity of having many faiths that are connected to that place, because of their connection to an even older faith or culture that came before?

It's tricky as is the situation in Hebron where the tombs of the patriarchs/matriarchs stand. Where is the sense of sharing? Of common ancestry? Some see it; others don't. And they are on both sides. So, the conflict can continue unless we stop the cycle of taking power without sharing and being fair to all, regardless of their parentage.

Sometimes, being a person in this world all seems too much.

So, at this time of reflection I ask for forgiveness for not being perfect. I acknowledge that I cannot be so, and yet I must strive always for what is right. That way I'll contribute to the solution and not the problem. I am grateful to the One/None for the opportunity.

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