I was invited to a musical circle for “love and peace” a few nights ago.
This was the tri-lingual invite:
I’ve yet to go to one of these circles.
But, I hear they’re wonderful.
People of all faiths gathering to sing songs together.
Which I’m all for.
First of all, I love singing.
In fact, my name, Shira means song.
And, I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember.
Secondly, I’m certainly pro-love and peace.
So, for me this was a no-brainer.
Yet, when I invited one of my best friends to this event, she responded with a roll of her eyes and a comment that went something like,
“You’re honestly not going to that circle, are you? You know what you’re supporting when you go to those circles, right?”
“Huh?” I responded.
“You know. Left-wingers. That sing about love and peace, but they’re so naive. All they’re really doing is apologizing for our existence which is leading to giving up land to the Palestinians which is what will make Israel disappear one day.”
“Are you kidding? That’s not what this is about,” I responded. “This has nothing to do with politics.”
“Oh, yeah? So, go. See for yourself.”
But, she left a bitter taste in my mouth.
And, I decided not to.
Instead, I went to a community gathering to break the fast of Tisha B’av (the saddest day in the Jewish calendar commemorating the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem), in which there was supposed to be singing anyway.
And I felt complete with my decision until the next morning, when I heard from another friend, “I went and it was amazing! I stayed til the bitter end. 11:30 pm. It was just what I needed!”
And, I got stuck.
On missing that love circle.
And stuck on my friend’s negative reaction?
Why didn’t she just say something like, “‘Ok, go for it. When you get back, tell me what you thought about it.”
Why did she have to respond so curtly?
With such antagonism?
So, I “s” stopped.
“T” told myself how I’m feeling. Frustrated and disappointed with my friend, but curious at the same time.
Checked in with what my be underneath my friend’s reaction. “U”.
The current war.
The broken ceased fire that cost more Israeli soldiers’ lives.
Anti-Semitic reactions from cities and countries around the world including: France, Germany, Belgium, Canada, Florida, Australia and more.
Forced decision to leave Gaza almost ten years ago.
Rockets from Lebanon.
More suicide bombers.
The Yom Kippur war.
The 1967 War.
The Independence War.
Her family that survived the Holocaust.
The Russian Progroms.
The Expulsion from Spain.
I could go on and on.
And further back.
Until the time of the Bible.
I get it.
I understand her frame of reference.
She (and I) have lots of history to deal with.
Lots of anti-Semitism.
Tons of it.
Lots of having to prove our right to existence to the world.
So, when I arrived at “C” – choosing to change perspective, it was quite easy for me.
I realized my friend is suspicious of any activity or initiative that attempts to resolve the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
Because, to date, nothing has worked.
And, I can see why she’s dubious about these “love and peace circles”.
And why she calls me naive if I think these loves circles are anything but political.
“You know what?” she said. “Go. Go pray for love and peace. But, you’ve got to prepare for war at the same time.”
And, you know what?
After taking a breath and having an open-hearted discussion with her, I’m realizing that she may be right.
She absolutely may be.
But still, next time, I’m going to go.
Just to check it out.
Perhaps I’ll leave after five minutes because I’ll feel uncomfortable with the political undertones.
Or, perhaps not.
Either way, I’ll give it a try.
If for no other reason, because I just want to sing.
Words of Peace.