As you know, last week there was a tragic attack upon Israeli tourists in Bulgaria.
It is difficult to discuss events like this with my 10-year-old son. He needs to understand some of the dangers in the world, but I do not want to scare him. I am sure that many of you have similar concerns.
I want my son to be proud of his Jewish heritage; not live in fear because of it. After careful consideration, I decided to take this opportunity to focus on a positive aspect of this horrific event.
This picture was taken at the scene of the attack shortly after the explosion. In the center of the photograph is one of the Israeli victims of the terrorist bombing; behind her are two medical staff members of the Mogen David Adom; and in front of her is an IDF soldier.
This scene was possible because within just a matter of hours, two Israeli Hercules airplanes landed in Bulgaria with 25 medical personnel and approximately 100 police and IDF members to provide the medical treatment and security for the injured Israelis.
This is an amazing immediate response. There is probably no other country in the world that has both the ability and the commitment to assist its citizens on such short notice, regardless of time, location or circumstances.
Think about it. In a time of crisis, there was no debate about whether they were Orthodox, Conservative, Reform or unaffiliated. Believe me, the terrorists did not care either.
We are a community, and we take care of ourselves, regardless of our differences. Yes, it is easy to say that we are American Jews and so we are safe, but history teaches us that we can never fully let down our guard. Yes, I am proud to be an American, but when I think about events like this, I am proud of Israel as well.
This week also marks Tisha B’Av. As I recall all of the destruction and the atrocities committed against us – just because we are Jewish – my heart swells; with sadness, but also with pride. After all of the centuries of crusades, pogroms, inquisitions and exterminations, we are still here!
Granted, there are only about 14 million of us out of approximately 7 billion people worldwide, but we continue to survive. Our strength cannot be measured in size, but in our convictions and achievements.
Here is the lesson that I will teach my son: that we have a proud heritage and that we care for each other in our community.
And that regardless of the bad publicity and undue scrutiny Israel might receive, Jewish State is a great country and very good at protecting and caring for its people.
Let me know what you think!
By Cliff Weiss