A People of Life
By Justin Amler
There is great pain among the People of Israel. It is always there but after another attack on us, it is easier to see.
Pain that filters through doorways and living rooms and kitchens and parks and bedrooms and playgrounds.
Pain that cannot be escaped and pain that cannot be outrun.
Kim. Ziv. Ari. Itamar. Yael. Shira. Hallel. Taylor. Hadas. Ido. Daniel.
These are just some of the names that call out to us. Names of young people and old people. Names of soldiers and names of children. Names of those who loved poetry and names of those who loved to write. Names of little boys who loved football and names of young girls who loved to dance.
Names of new mothers and proud fathers. Name of teachers and names of students. Names of security guards who gave their lives to protect others and names of soldiers who never gave up protecting their country.
Some of the names we know and some we don’t. Yet each of them was both ordinary and special at the same time. They had families and people who loved them and their deaths caused holes in hearts that will never be truly filled – even with the fullness of time.
And along with the pain that is felt, is also a cloud of sadness that descends upon us – a cloud that is thick and dark and hides all the light.
But there is light. And sometimes it makes its way through cracks in the clouds, cracks that refuse to stay shut and refuse to block out that shining light.
Pain is part of the story of the Jewish people. It has accompanied us on all our journeys and is never far away. It is part of us, but not the only part.
Our enemies may think that by causing us pain they are victorious. But our tears and our pain and our broken hearts are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.
Because we are a people of feelings. And we are a people of hope. And a people of love and laughter and joy. We celebrate life, because we know how precious it is. We celebrate life, because it’s a gift – and each breath we take is special. Each sunrise we watch is magical. Each sound of laughter is as if the angels themselves are singing to us.
There is pain in us – I see it on the faces of my friends. I see it in their words. I feel it through that Jewish spirit that flows through all of us.
Darkness and pain and death is part of this world – and the tears we shed are real and raw. They are tears of pain and sadness, but they are not tears of defeat. Our tears are the tears of the living.
For we are a people who feel and who cry and who hurt and who love and who laugh and who smile – even when it seems there are no smiles left in the world.
We do all those things and more, because above the pain and the suffering and the heartache and the sorrow…
…we are and always will be a people of life.