The God Squad: Thanksgiving and the posters
Every Thanksgiving I send you a list of things/people for which/whom I am thankful. The list is always outside of the traditional items like hearth and home. I have given thanks for powerline workers who restore electrical service after storms. I have given thanks for hospice workers who care for the dying in their last days. I have even given thanks for squirrels! (It’s complicated.)
This year my heart is heavy, but I am still thankful.
I am thankful for Christians who do not know any Jews but who are nevertheless standing against Jewish suffering.
These kindly souls have decided to act in solidarity with people they do not know and have never met. I cannot explain and do not understand the origins of their compassion. I understand Jews who fight against Jew hatred. What is hard to understand is the loving support of Christians for the Jewish people and the Jewish state, both of which have not impacted their lives in any meaningful way.
I would like to believe that God’s grace has led their souls to an understanding of the truth that we are all made in the image of God. I would like to believe that despite our different faiths, these Christian Jew-lovers have come to know and embrace the belief that although we are climbing different paths up the mountain to God, it is the same mountain, and we shall all meet at the same summit where we shall bask in the presence of the same God. Thank you and God bless you. You are welcome to my Thanksgiving table.
I am thankful for Jews who do not know any Palestinians but who are standing against Palestinian suffering.
When asked if he hated Germans after the Holocaust, Elie Wiesel said simply, “Only the killers are guilty.” The Palestinians are today’s Germans. Rage and pain make it easy to blur the lines between the killers and the innocent Palestinian victims of the same killers. Especially after the extent of the barbarism was exposed, many Jews refused to believe that there were any Palestinians who were not either killers or supporters of the killers, but of course that is not true. There are many Palestinians who understand that the only way for them to have a future is for the killers to be defeated forever. I do not know you, but you must know that I am not the only Jew who prays for your safety and liberation in a struggle that will let all live in peace. You are also welcome at my Thanksgiving table.
I am thankful for the people who designed and printed the pictures of the hostages,
The pundits and the politicians who are accustomed to painting world affairs with wide brush strokes have sometimes forgotten that the main moral issue now is not the future of Israel or Palestine or Iran as important as those issues are in the long run. Israel is in no danger of being defeated by marauding thugs.
The main issue now is the fate of the hostages who are buried alive underground in the maze of tunnels. They are all innocent and they are all suffering and many of them are surely dying. What has saved the 239 of them from the anonymity of invisibility are the posters. Posters with their faces have appeared around the world as both an accusation and a plea for help. These posters and those faces make it impossible to think of them as just a statistic. They cannot be forgotten or ignored. Their faces on the posters have humanized them and their plight and have made it impossible for the world to deny the wave of terror that engulfed them on October 7.
Moved by the photos of missing children on milk cartons, the posters were designed by Israeli artist Nitzan Mintz and her partner, Dede Bandaid along with Tal Huber, an accomplished graphic designer in Israel. They came up with the now-famous posters featuring a thick red border on top with “Kidnapped” in white lettering.
I absolutely understand why the supporters of the killers are desperately trying to tear down every poster. The posters are clear evidence of the terror. The only way this indictment could be brought was for us to see their faces. People think that the most important weapons in this war are bombs, bullets and tanks but the truth as I see it is that these posters are the mightiest weapon in the arsenal of the forces of freedom. The posters of the faces of the hostages are the reason that this war will be won.
Nitzan, Dede and Tal, you are also welcome at my Thanksgiving table.
(Send ALL QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS to The God Squad via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Rabbi Gellman is the author of several books, including “Religion for Dummies,” co-written with Fr. Tom Hartman. Also, the new God Squad podcast is now available.)
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