Letter to My Secular Friend in Tel Aviv

This letter is directed to a friend of mine in Tel Aviv and to all those who can relate to what she said to me.

I know you didn’t mean to be insensitive. I know that you seek to be a good person and to improve yourself and the world in your own way.

I’m no angel, either. I admit I wasn’t as sad or shaken over the suicide bombing in Dimona last month as I was over the massacre at Yeshivat Mercaz Harav.

But I wonder what has allowed you to say, rather glibly, “I’m not so upset by the attack, because I can’t identify with yeshiva community.”

Is it acceptable, even fashionable, to say that you can’t identify with religious Zionist yeshiva students? How is it possible that good people can forgive the sickest of Arab murderers but can’t mourn the deaths of their fellow Jews because they wear knitted kippahs or grow payot?

Or does this reflect the sad reality of the sharp divisiveness of Israeli society, in which we box each other into compartments so that we can’t see one another’s basic humanity? In which we are so self-absorbed that we can’t break our daily routine to care for our countrymen? In which you can’t feel for mothers with Jewish head scarves weeping over their sons’ freshly dug graves; brothers and sisters who will forever face an empty seat at their Shabbat table; teenagers who will have to go back to school to study a page of Talmud without their hevrutas? READ MORE IN THE JEWISH JOURNAL.