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allyship is a two-way street

11/02/2023 09:32:02 AM


Rabbi Jeffrey Myers

An uncountable number of doors opened in response to 10.27, and I’ve tried to walk through those doors, engage with the hosts, find common ground, and work together to make a better world. Minority groups in America should have learned that they will be far more successful in promoting equality when they collaborate with other minority groups who also seek the same things. There are many ways to work together to achieve common goals, and I had thought that progress was being made to grow those relationships and appreciation for each other. Then came the massacres in Israel on October 7.

Some responded to me personally to express their shock and horror, and some also publicly shared their outrage, and I am grateful for those who did so. What dismayed and disappointed me were the yet still voices who have said nothing, and their silence is deafening. What am I to think when there is no comment on the wholesale murder of over 1400 people in such a barbaric manner? Elie Wiesel taught us that “silence is complicity”. If you do not condemn this, then your silence condones it. And this is of great concern to me, and no doubt many others as well.

Attempts to equate the massacre of families while they lie asleep in bed, the beheading of babies, and the taking of more than 220 hostages with the Israeli response to such an atrocity fall flat. Attempts to blame the victim fall flat, and reveal what we must call it: antisemitism.

Shimmers of humanity in Europe have partially soothed my Israeli brothers and sisters, which is what I hear from those that I am in contact with for daily updates. The leadership of President Biden has been most reassuring at a time when reassurance is so desperately needed. I am equally grateful for our elected leaders who have spoken with moral clarity.

But it also has been a time of profound loneliness, as those that I thought were allies did not reach out to me to offer any words of comfort after October 7 nor the fifth commemoration. Carefully cultivated relationships suddenly do not exist. Pittsburgh may be a city of 446 bridges, but in my observation, some of them have been dynamited, and it was not by me. Amid all of the silence, one unexpected voice rang out loud and clear at a recent vigil. The impassioned words of Rev. Canon Natalie Hall, the rector at Church of the Redeemer in Squirrel Hill reached deep into my soul, and the tears poured out. “Finally”, I said to myself, “A religious leader spoke up”. I am grateful for her bravery, her moral and ethical stance, and her allyship. Here is the link to her impassioned speech:

I still hold out hope that those that have remained silent will come around and recognize how painful their silence has been to me. I so want it to be a two-way street. The street is deserted right now.


Mon, July 22 2024 16 Tammuz 5784