Natalie Katz is a recent graduate of UCSD
We in the pro-Israel community are fighting a very real war. We are fighting propaganda, misinformation, hate speakers, intimidation tactics, double standards, apathy, ignorance, and plain old antisemitism.
And yet the biggest threat we face is from within. The division of the Jewish community is real and it is dangerous. We can not afford to be at odds with each other. We need a united front to meet the enemy head on; we stand no chance if we act as many separate, small groups.
But that is where we stand now. A near fire fight has erupted in Orange County and both sides are wearing yarmulkes. This is by no means a new altercation, but it seems to have reached new heights. On the one hand, we have the OC Jewish Federation and the OC Hillel, and on the other we have a group of concerned community members. The Federation and Hillel feel that the community members are overstepping their bounds and promoting a falsely negative image of Jewish life on campus. The community members feel that the Federation and Hillel are underestimating the seriousness of the situation on the UCI campus. The current uproar revolves around a series of emails between Hillel staff and a member of the community (representing many community members, not just herself) dealing with Hillel and the Federation’s sponsorship of an Olive Tree Initiative event, and the community’s concern about it.
I could say a lot about which side I believe is in the right. But that’s not the point of my post. The bottom line is that all concerned parties should have the same goal in mind-the welfare of the Jewish students on campus. The welfare of the greater Jewish community of the OC. The welfare of the greater Jewish community of the world.
G-d forbid that all should agree on every point. We wouldn’t be Jews if we did. But the animosity that is running rampant is downright tragic. Love your fellow as you love yourself is THE tenant of Judaism-as taught by the great Rabbi Hillel himself. Despite our differences we should be able to deal reasonably with each other, to hear each others concerns, to be honest and sincere with one another. Instead there is name-calling and accusations. I myself am very firmly in agreement with one side in this issue, but that doesn’t stop my heart from breaking.
The more we fight with ourselves, the weaker we become. It is that simple.
I am begging, pleading, for the Jews to come together. Lay aside your differences in order to deal with them. Put aside your pride, your fears and suspicions. We are all on the same side, or should be. Working together we could accomplish so much more than what we do divided. Money is not the issue. Funding and support is not the issue. Being right is not the issue. Doing what is right for our community-which is not limited to just the students, nor to just the OC Jewish community, but to all Jews, everywhere-is the issue. Standing together to stand up to those who threaten us is the issue. Loving our fellow Jew even when we disagree with him is the issue. Let us not forget that the reason the second Holy Temple was destroyed was because Jew harbored baseless hatred against Jew. Our own heritage provides us with a very important lesson, and the secret to survival. We must stand together. We are a small people. We are scattered enough as it is. Let’s not be scattered even within a community.
It’s just my personal opinion, but I am begging; make it yours too.
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