Waking up on Saturday to my phone blowing up with news from Israel, I first wondered what I could do to help. Being across the world, I felt so helpless at this time.
Do you wonder what it is like to be experiencing the war as a teenager from California? One of the first things I thought I could do was to donate money. Maybe donating money is very useful, but I felt like I could have a bigger impact since I didn’t think the small amount I could donate would have a big influence. I do not usually post on social media, but I felt a responsibility to do so. Even though I was posting non-stop on social media, I still felt like what I was doing was not enough; I needed to make sure my non-Jewish friends understood what was going on in Israel right now and some of the history so they could help defend peace. While there would be some difficult conversations with some of my friends along the way, I can say that I have educated them on the war, and if they were on the fence in the past about who to support, I changed their stance, and they are now pro-Israel.
Do you wonder what it is like to be experiencing the war on a pro-Israel college campus? I was lucky enough to spend the weekend with my sister, a freshman at the University of Miami, because it was visiting weekend. She is very lucky to be at the University of Miami, which has been a very pro-Israel school. They were one of the first schools to put out a statement about the war, and they strongly condemned the terrorist attacks. Not only that, but there have been multiple pro-Israel rallies over the past few days with very little opposition. If you were to not be on a campus that is that pro-Israel, a way to help could be to try and have dialogues with people and try to inform them about what is happening.
Do you wonder what it is like to be experiencing the war as someone retired? No matter your age, we are all dealing with the same thing but in different ways. It was only a week ago I was watching the movie “Golda” with my grandparents. It feels like we are living in such a similar time to what happened during the Yom Kippur War. In our family group chat, we talked about how something similar and awful happened again. While I know it has been hard for us to try and focus on our lives and not be watching the news constantly, for my Grandparents, it has been challenging because they don’t have a job or school to distract them. For anyone having a hard time taking their eyes off the news, try to find a distraction. Not knowing what is happening every second does not make you any less Jewish. If anything, trying to focus on the positives in life and not let this take and control your life, especially if you live in the Diaspora, is more Jewish because just watching the news is not good for anyone’s mental health, which embodies the Jewish value of “B’riyut” or health and wellness.
No matter what generation you are, especially if you are in high school or college, one of the best ways to effect change is to have conversations with people about their views on the ongoing war and to try and educate them so they can have a more informed opinion. Another great way to help is to donate to important organizations in Israel.
Blake is an Aleph from Irvine, California and he is a pilot.
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
2021 had to be better than 2020, but not everything falls into place in the way we think.
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