Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Fateful Decisions...

As the days countdown to "Disengagement", I find myself being pulled in many different directions. Don't get me wrong, I am not conflicted over my feelings towards this decree against Jewish communities in Israel, as I am, and have always been very much in the "neged" (against) camp.

So, where am I conflicted?

The Yesha Council (and other groups) have set July 18th as the date for all those apposed to "Disengagement" to begin heading down to Gush Katif (article). This 3-day trek to Gush Katif is not merely another rally to show support for our Jewish brothers and sisters living there, but to physically solidify their ranks by joining them in Gush Katif, and thus making any attempt to implement this expulsion plan all the more daunting. After all, there's a big difference between expelling 8,000+ Jews, and expelling 70,000 - 100,000 Jews. (Dan Halutz, the IDF's Chief of Staff, has said that if 100,000 Jews come down to Gush Katif the army will not be able to go forward with the plan, and will send it back to the Knesset for deliberations).

Now, let's be optimistic, and assume that everyone who participates on this march to Gush Katif will actually be able to get inside (which would greatly surprise me, as I can't imagine how in the world the army would allow tens of thousands of Jews with backpacks, tents and sleeping bags to get anywhere near the place). The date this trek is scheduled to begin is July 18th, and the "Disengagement" is scheduled to begin on August 15th and last about 4 weeks (assuming everything goes according to Sharon's plan).

If one does the math, it means, as a best case scenario (well, the best case scenario would be having this decree being annulled, but putting that aside for the moment), being away from home and work for at least a month, possibly longer, with a decent chance of finding oneself in jail at the end of everything (as Gush Katif will be declared a closed military zone, and as such, illegal to be in).

So, how does one balance on the one hand a commitment to the Land of Israel and the Jewish People, and on the other hand, more mundane concerns, such as showing up to work and not missing a month's paycheck (or more), not to mention being apart from one's family (as mine will be abroad on 18th, and will likely have difficulty meeting up with me in Gush Katif when they return a few weeks later).

I didn't make Aliyah from New York so that I could sit on the sidelines while Jewish history was being written right before my very eyes. I came here to be an active player in the writing of that history... but all that being said, I must admit to being unsure of what to do. I have been to demonstrations, and have handed out orange ribbons on the side of the road, but as "D-Day" approaches, these actions seem to have less and less influence.

What will I be able to tell my young daughter who one day may ask me why it is that I didn't do more to help stop this decree - even if it meant missing some work and losing out on a paycheck? If I am not going to participate in this march, what other practical steps can I be taking which will serve as equally meaningful forms of hishtadlut?

Well... Today is July 6th. I have a little less than two weeks to figure things out.

Any suggestions?


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