It is the first night of Chanukah and we light candles in celebration of the eternal light never darkening despite only having enough oil for one night. Chanukah means “dedication,” and commemorates the miracle of light that occurred when Judah rededicated the Temple and that one vial of oil lasted 8 days! We celebrate this miracle and wish the war to end soon, and the hostages come home safe and sound. I know that is much to ask. But I ask it anyway.
There are now two wars coexisting simultaneously. We, the United States, are in those wars surreptitiously. It is a very narrow road that we are traveling. We are tiptoeing and not through the tulips more like a moral minefield. Unfortunately, we are not united in this quest. Our country, instead of working out agreements works out aggression to our fellows. I am so sick of the infighting and lack of getting a true product of unification. There must be some active outside and unknown group or individual stirring the pot. These merchants of chaos must be found and stopped. We may be surprised and who the culprit(s) are. I just know they are there, and I hate pot stirrers!
There is something so damned fucked up about these wars aside from the obvious. Perhaps, it is how the wars are broadcast around the world. The Internet has created an intimacy and closeness unheard of by humanity. Perhaps letter writers in their correspondence found this affinity between an exchange of letters but I have never been much of a letter writer, so I don’t know.
This global intimacy allows us to connect without much effort to personages around the world. Technology has changed so much for our lives and, like time, is still marching on. The advent of AI heralds a shrieking doom or benefits for all mankind. I cannot say which. AI frightens and confuses me simultaneously.
War whether in Israel/Hamas/Gaza or the Ukraine/Russia has impacted us more than previous conflagrations. We view it through screens that almost enable us to be there, yet we remain observers from afar. Spectators to intimate death. This terrifies me. It is like so here you can almost touch it. Yet at the same time it is “over there,” so we cannot be touched by it. This is not a healthy situation for either the viewer or the viewee! These wars are so intimate as we track each and every movement. Like I said, it is almost as if we are there, but we are not.
I spend hours on social media, reading messages and reports all up to the minute. I am texting and commenting to folks who are there amid this fright and my heart reaches out to them petrified as to what may happen next. There is no time to digest what is happening. It is all happening now as I write this. Quite frankly, it is overwhelming. But I live on the boulevard of hope, knowing that somehow all will be right in the morning, and I trust that vision more than I trust news reports.
Art Is a Great Healer
There is nothing like art to show truth and purpose. Art, especially music and poetry strike a universal chord. Art can be poignant, heartfelt, and even calming. So yes, I believe in the power of art. I have always stated that poets are doctors of the Soul. And here is my little contribution in hopes of healing.
TWO JEWS NOT SO OLD ANYMORE
They sat on a park bench
Like days of yore
The two of them
Clasping at their memories
Like soda straws in chocolate egg creams
Their smiles wandered from
kiss smeared mouths
And gazed upon each other like brothers
Long lost and wondering if found
They carried their heritage in
Bags full of poetry
That their hearts lessened with each read
Two jews not so old anymore
Listened to their reflections
And sighed with oys punctuated
Each wondered what the other’s eyes had seen
They embraced as youngsters
Renewing flagging spirits
The falsity of separation removed
Jerusalem Youth Chorus
This video is from the Jerusalem Youth Chorus a choral and dialogue program for Palestinian and Israeli youth in Jerusalem. Their mission is to provide a space for young people from East and West Jerusalem to grow together in song and dialogue. Through the co-creation of music and the sharing of stories, we empower youth in Jerusalem with the responsibility to speak and sing their truths, as they become leaders in their communities and inspire singers and listeners around the world to work for peace, justice, inclusion, and equality.
My mother is 96 years old, and I just wished her a happy Chanukah! Thanks to technology I was able to facetime with her and see her expression and pray that there is enough hope to keep the light eternal.