One final note. On the plane home, I heard the echoes of a song we sang at Irit’s home, based on a passage from Rav Kook: “Am Hanetzach Lo Mefached Miderech Arukah – The eternal people are not afraid of the long road,” and reverberations of the phrase Ahmad shared: L’kulanu Oto Goral – our fates are intertwined. Together with Israelis, Jews from around the world have rallied together to address the immediate crises and concerns of these last months. Soldiers have sacrificed their lives to eradicate Hamas and return the hostages, and civilians have stepped up in countless ways to support the home front. While we crossed the Atlantic back to America, these phrases brought into stark relief that while we were so beautifully focused on these acute responses and reactions to October 7th, we were also putting aside attention to the much longer road ahead. Regardless of what anyone may wish, the Jewish people’s and Israel’s fates are also tied together with that of the Palestinians. God’s land must be convulsing with the excruciating pain of these last months and of this past century of conflict – and I pray that as we support our brothers and sisters, God also gives us the strength to blaze stronger, more permanent paths towards a livable future, for the eternal people are not afraid of the long road.
Much gratitude to the Yeshiva and particularly to Rabbi Yonah Berman (YCT ‘07) for organizing and supporting the trip.