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January 31, 2003 - Image 75

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-01-31

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

like not to have those feelings."
As the violence escalated, Rabbi
Gordis' e-mails became increasingly
sorrowful as he portrayed the desper-
ate state of a nation struggling to hold
on in the face of economic collapse
and constant bloody attacks.
"This notion of life having been
turned upside down is the part that
has all Israelis most distraught," he
wrote. "The ideologies of both the left
and right have crumbled."
Rabbi Gordis also tells a subtler tale
in Dispatches, the story of a family that
has changed and grown to a deeper
sense of their role in an unfolding
"We left the consumerism of the
States and went to a place where kids
have a sense of purpose. They know
growing up there is about something,"
the rabbi said.
"My daughter is in B'nei Akiva, the
youth movement. Sometimes on
Friday nights she'd come back with
these little copied sheets
stuffed into her coat
pockets, and I'd read
them after she went to
"They were quotations
from Hertzl or Ehad
Ha'am or some great
Zionist thinker or some
other social issue. These
kids really have a sense
that to live in this coun-
try is to be invested in a

land that it leads parents to willingly
sacrifice their children?"
For all of that, the rabbi still makes
his children's lunches in the morning
and sends them off to school. And he
still cautiously travels the road to
work, although now he admits he is
more aware of everyone and every-
thing around him.
In a land where his wife's visit to a
hairdresser on Jerusalem's Ben Yehuda
Street — a frequent target of suicide
bombers — is now a defiant act, the
Gordis children are growing up happy
and healthy.
"We don't live in a morose house-
hold," Rabbi Gordis said. "We don't
huddle every day and say, 'Well, we
made it through another day.' It's a
normal household — 'clean up your
room, do the dishes' — that sort of
Almost like life in the United States
— with one very important difference.
"Right below the surface there's a sense
that there are people this
week who didn't make it,
so why waste your time on
stupid stuff. There's an
appreciation for how valu-
able time is."
Still, Rabbi Gordis won-
ders whether his children
will understand — when
they are older — why their
parents brought them to
Israel. And why they
"Decide what's worth
fighting for, what's worth
giving everything for," he
Hoping For Peace
Rabbi Daniel Gordis:
writes. "If you can find
"Israel is not just a place that, you've found every-
And even though he and

a story."
his wife sometimes put
thing. And that, more
the children to bed to
than anything, is what we
the sounds of shelling in
want for you." ❑
Gilo, just a few miles from their
home, Rabbi Gordis has not lost hope
for peace.
Rabbi Daniel Gordis speaks 7:30
"We've held onto the hope by first
p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5, at the
of all being inherently optimistic," he
Jewish Community Center in
said. "You can't really move to Israel
West Bloomfield. Admission: $5.
without being somewhat optimistic.
Those who purchase a ticket will
"Secondly, God forbid, your kid gets
receive a $5 credit toward their
killed [in the United States], walking
SAJE (Seminars for Adult Jewish
down the street, by some crazy guy, it's
Enrichment) class registration. For
a complete and utter waste. God for-
a ticket and/or more information
bid anything should happen to our
about SAJE, running Feb. 11-
kids in Israel, I'd be devastated, but I
March 13, call (248) 432 5577.
wouldn't think it was a waste."
The complete collection of Rabbi
Indeed, Rabbi Gordis cites God's
Gordis' e-mails and his ongoing
call to Abraham to sacrifice Isaac as he
e-mail list can be found at
ponders the fate of both Israeli and
Palestinian children in the region.
"If a Place Can Make You Cry:
"Could it be that there is something
Dispatches From an Anxious State"
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