Hebron changed my life. I may have been a run of the mill peacenik and an ordinary Jew before summer 2004. I have never been free of that place since. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is nuanced and complicated, where both sides are mutually at fault. But Hebron’s situation has become an abomination, a situation where we’re absolutely at fault for an unnecessary and unacceptable blight.
Annually on the occasion of reading the portion Heyei Sarah from the Torah (Genesis 23:1–25:18), a growing number of us tell what Hebron is really like. We’ve spoken in synagogues, every major rabbinical seminary, indie minyans, and community centers. And this year, we’ve posted 14 of our Torah sermons to YouTube in order to show the world that Hebron and Chayei Sarah does not belong only to the settlers. Indeed, a thousand will converge there this weekend.
It is precisely because Hebron is such an hopeless place to behold that creating inspirational meaning — as these 14 voices have — is so hopeful. There are no trite answers in their mouths, but oh so many aspirations. Hebron presently is so low and devoid of holiness, that it feels there is only up to go. And here in these testimonials you will hear both the shock and the rage, but also the hope and determination for a better future for Hebron, for Jews, and for Palestinians.
Drew Cohen is a teacher of Jewish Studies and Music in a transdenominational high school in the US:
Alana Alpert is a community organizer and a third year rabbinical student at Hebrew College:
Moriel Rothman is a New Israel Fund/Shatil Social Justice Fellow, and is active with Rabbis for Human Rights:
Ben Murane is the director of New Generations, the New Israel Fund’s 20′s and 30′s activist community, and the co-publisher of the blog Jewschool.com: