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Words of the Week

Karen Lerhman Bloch, “Losing Facebook Friends Over the War in Gaza” (Tablet):
“As has been well noted, pro-Israel commentators were a little slow at the starting gate in the social media war, but within a matter of days, Israeli groups were sending out plenty of visually succinct PDFs and news stories that weren’t making it into traditional media, and a segment of my Facebook friends and I began to post and share them. Despite a residual discomfort in becoming a ‘public Jew,’ I actually never felt as though my skills were being put to greater use.”

Mayim Bialik, “Why I Wear My Jewish Star” (Kveller):
“Oh, Israel. What a month it’s been for you and me. I lost a lot of fans this month because of my love for you. But it’s OK. I love you more than popularity, even when you make me crazy. And even though I don’t always agree with Israeli policy, I’m still a Zionist.”

Rachel Azaria, “The People on the Train” (The Times of Israel):
“We need to make sure that those who attack and blame Israel are perceived as attacking human rights in Gaza or anywhere, because this is what they are doing. Supporting Hamas is supporting the annihilation of basic human rights for their people. In retrospect, it’s kind of ironic and at the same time completely logical that a man indiscriminately shouting at a woman and a baby on a subway is not really interested in human rights. We just need everyone else to see it that way.”

Hillel Halkin, quoted in Jerome A. Chanes’s “Has Israel Lost Its Moral Balance?” (The Jewish Week):
“‘I personally feel sad,’ continues Halkin, ‘that Palestinian civilians are being killed as a result, but I — and I think I am speaking for nearly all Israelis here — feel no guilt over it. We did not ask for this war; we are doing our best to fight it fairly and humanely, if humaneness is anything you can expect from warfare. The world, to the best of my knowledge, has not been commenting on it, but Israel has been trucking in daily, daily, hundreds of tons of foodstuffs into the Gaza Strip to prevent the local population from suffering hunger. Has there ever been anything like this in the history of warfare? Can you imagine England or America sending shiploads of food to Germany in 1944?'”

Leonard Fein, z”l, “From Gaza to Sderot, Trauma Marks the Past–and the Present” (The Forward)
“Those of us who count ourselves as chov’vei tziyon, lovers of Zion, know not merely how profound our love is — unconditional, actually — but also how complicated.”

And something a little different from Jewbellish (via Rebecca Klempner). Thanks (I think!).

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  1. “Billy Hamas”
    By Mort Laitner
    Billy Hamas was my cross to bear. He was a major thorn in my butt. Not a small prickly rose bush thorn but a butcher-knife sized agave spike.
    Ever since he moved into the neighborhood, he tried to make my life miserable and sometimes he succeeded.
    He placed broken Coke bottle shards on my stoop, knowing I walked barefoot to retrieve the Daily News. As I pulled three slivers of glass from the soles of my feet, I cursed him and swore revenge.
    But he continued to scream filthy words at my family as they walked down the boulevard.
    He continued peeing in my flower bed and uprooting my carrots.
    Then on the Fourth, he shot bottle rockets at my sister—aiming for her eyes.
    I warned him on many occasions, “Billy, you gotta stop messing with me. You’re pushing my buttons way too hard. I’m much bigger then you. I can break you into little pieces. I’m smarter than you’ll ever be. My switch blade is longer and sharper than your puny stiletto. Don’t mess with me or my family or you’ll end up in the hospital.”
    Billy sneered his disrespect. But he dared not talk or look me in the eyes. The last time he did, I broke his nose.
    Now I hiked the snaking path up this Oregon mountain, wondering if Billy was alive. I remembered the wails of the police cars as they raced toward his body. How the officers jumped out of their squad cars with guns drawn. Pivoting in all directions, looking for a perp. As one cop examined Billy’s body, the other radioed for the paramedics.
    From the rooftop I heard the ambulance arrive. I dared not look to see if his head would be covered by a white sheet.
    I wiped his blood off my blade and onto my blue jeans. The same pair of pants I wore as I drove across the country.
    I headed up toward Rattler Butte, as Douglas firs stood at attention by my side.
    I observed white mushrooms growing out of the trunks of the fallen. These dead trees reached across the forrest like witches’ fingers covered in dripping velvet moss.
    As I watched as sunlight break through the tree-lined canopy, a leaf fluttered to the forest floor. In that instance, I knew that my blade had stopped the beating of Billy’s sneering heart.
    My burden had been lifted. My thorn surgically removed.

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