A Place Called Jewnity
By Justin Amler
There’s a place I’d like to visit… and maybe stay forever. A place that offers hope and strength and courage and unity. But it’s not a place you’ll find on any map – at least not on a map of the physical world. I’m not really sure if it even exists… but I want to believe it does, because I feel it in my bones and in my soul and in my heart.
I’m talking about a place called Jewnity – the idea of Jews uniting in the face of adversity, coming together in times of challenges, standing tall despite an often hostile world trying to take you down. And it’s something we need now more than ever.
Because these are dark days for Israel and the Jewish people… although we have had many before. We’ve had centuries of darkness and gloom – but always within those dark moments, there’s been light. There’s been hope. There’s been dreams. And so it is today, because despite what must be fear in many Israelis, there’s also a spirit of togetherness that is shining through.
In our almost 4000 year history, we have experienced almost everything a people can experience. We’ve had hope and despair. We’ve had slavery and freedom. We’ve had war and genocide. And we’ve had expulsion and redemption.
But as a small people, few in numbers, our true strength has never been about our weapons, or our power, or our resources. We have survived more disasters than any other people in history have ever faced without any of those things.
Our true strength lies in each other.
Because now, as our people in Israel are under attack, we are seeing once again, as we’ve seen so many times before, that the world is not really interested in our story. They’ll publish misleading headlines, justifying the terrorism as a… reaction to the “occupation”. They’ll ignore the incitement and say… well, that’s not what they really mean…it’s just politics. They’ll pressure us by saying… you must give in – for peace! Give up everything that’s important to your people – and you shall have peace!
But we know that peace will never come – at least not when our enemies are emboldened by our so-called friends and the international community at large. And as long as our enemies will never be held responsible, so too shall peace never arrive.
So now is the time for Jews around the world to unite against an enemy that is truly relentless and insatiable, to put aside our petty differences. We need to understand that while we can deem ourselves progressively left or conservatively right, it doesn’t really matter. The distinctions we make are for ourselves, not them.
Because to our enemies we are Jews – that’s it.
So I call on all Jews to stand together, whether you are religious or not, left-wing, right-wing or any other kind of wing. Stand together with our brothers and sisters in Israel who bear the brunt of the vicious attacks. Stand with them in solidarity, because they are our people and our family.
Our enemies will always be able to hurt us. The sharpness of their blades will cut just as sharply as the sharpness of the words of those who are supposed to be our friends in the international community who accuse us of “terrorism” when defending our lives.
But what our enemies can never understand is that our pain is not our weakness – it’s our strength. Because each attack will not shake our resolve, but will only strengthen it further.
We are facing a world, a cruel one and an unforgiving one. And in this world friends and allegiances change all too often. Your friend one day may not be your friend the next. That is our reality and the reality of the world we live in.
So ultimately, when it all comes down to it, all we have to rely on is each other, our belief in ourselves as a people and our dream of a future, backed up by almost 4000 years of history.
Our greatest strength will never come from being divided but from being united. And a united people is about the most powerful force we can achieve on this earth – a true shield of David. So even though we live in Australia, New Zealand, Israel, America, Argentina, England, France, South Africa, Russia and every other corner of the world – we all carry that same spirit within.
That spirit of togetherness, that spirit of unity, that spirit of a shared future – that place called Jewnity.
- Does Jewish unity mean everyone agreeing on the same ideas? Can we have unity without uniformity?
- We divide ourselves into different groups based on the way we practice Judaism, where we live etc, but Antisemites don’t make those differentiations. Those who hate Jews hate all Jews. What can we learn from that?
- With our differing opinions, how can Jews of all different denominations come together? Name the obstacles we face and suggest ideas as to how each could be targeted for proactive response.
- Does Jewish unity mean supporting Israel unconditionally?
- Should Jewish groups that might be considered anti-Israel or who collaborate with antisemitic movements such as BDS and other extremist elements, be welcomed into a unified Jewish community? If so, how do you think this can be realistically achieved?
- When faced with Anti-Israel or even Antisemitic rhetoric from Jewish people/groups, how can we respond in a manner that allows for open discussion of all opinions while staying true to our pro Israel ideals?
- How can a unified Jewish voice fight the growing incitement and misinformation in the media? What language can we use to show our desire for unity?
- What are some ways we can build toward unity in our individual communities?
INTERESTED IN DELVING DEEPER INTO JEWISH UNITY? HERE IS A GREAT ACTIVITY FOR ANY EDUCATIONAL OR COMMUNAL GATHERING.