By: Belda Lindenbaum
Since its inception Blu Greenberg has written this column. However, even as I write this, the Greenberg family is sitting Shiva here in Jerusalem, mourning the untimely and tragic death of their son J.J. And
so it has fallen to me to express the thoughts that Blu would have expressed so much more eloquently.
The theme for this special edition of our newsletter is Israel, and specifically “Aliyat Regel,” the personal and physical act of coming to Israel in this time of national need and crisis.
I heard of a beautiful gesture that Rabbi Haskel Lookstein of Kehillath Jeshurun made at the Yom Kippur services. Bracelets with the name of a terror victim were placed on each seat. Many of the names were read aloud by various people throughout the shul. This was a moving act of solidarity by a rabbi who has organized numerous missions to Israel in the past two years. Like the members of Rabbi Lookstein’s congregation, we have all sought ways to help the Israeli economy and lift the spirits of Israelis. While all of our efforts are vital and laudable, there is nothing that can compare with the actual presence of visitors in Israel.
My husband and I are fortunate to have a second home here in Jerusalem, and truly fortunate to have spent every holiday here for the past two years. Many of these trips have included our children and grandchildren. Am I braver than the next person? Do I love my children less than those who urge theirs not to come? I think not.
What motivates me is best expressed by the comment of a friend from New York. At a chance meeting at a restaurant in Jerusalem we started to discuss “the matzav,” the “situation,” as it is referred to here. When I mentioned how nice it was to meet her eating out with friends despite the matzav, she replied, “I have a feeling that when we all get to the world to come we will not be asked how many mitzvot we observed. Rather, the question will be, where were you when Israel was in need?”
I remember asking my parents what they had done to help the Jews in Europe during World War II, and someday our children and grandchil- dren will pose the same question to us. We will each have to answer for our action or inaction, and I hope that our love will outweigh our fears. There is a lovely Israeli song that says – “All of the world is a narrow bridge but the essence is not to fear – not to fear at all.” I hope this is the message all Jews will heed.