I'm in Atlanta this week giving a few seminars, and during the lunch break, I headed over to the Subway stand here at the conference center to buy a soda and a bag of chips. As I'm standing in line, a man behind me says to me "we're watching you".
At first, I had no idea what he was referring to. Did he see my yarmulka and think I was about to buy non-kosher food? Or was he an attendee at the seminar I was giving and let me know he was waiting for me to screw something up? I was totally taken aback. But the look on his face was extremely forgiving. Then he continued speaking....
"We're all watching you. I just hope that in the end, everything works out in Israel's favor."
Suddenly I realized what he was referring to. I told him that I too hope that everything works out in Israel's favor, and that most of all, I hope that all the violence ends as quickly as possible.
We spent a few minutes talking and the feeling I got from him was that he felt Israel was not only doing the right thing for its own protection, but that Israel was representing the general free world. As we parted ways, he said he prays for peace for us and the world.
I mention this story because it struck me on two levels:
- First, the initial language he used when he addressed me: he said "we're watching you". Even though he clearly meant that he was watching the news with interest about what was happening in the Middle East, I personally took away another meaning. Everyone is watching us. There is always opportunity to make a Kiddush HaShem, and, chas v'shalom, a Chilul HaShem. That capability exists not just in Israel, but all over the world, no matter where we may be.
- Second, in previous posts, Jameel had expressed concern that Israel was suffering from a PR perspective that the actions and response are overly severe or that Israel is using this as an excuse to take out their aggression. I wanted to report that while such feeling do exist, there are plenty of those in the US -- even non-Jews -- who side with Israel and who pray for its survival and triumph.
Wherever I am, Jameel's blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael