By Shelley Hubal
The Jewish Federation of Greater Binghamton held a Vigil for Israel last week. It was touching to see the community leaders come together with short notice and create a meaningful and healing gathering. Even more touching was the large turnout and show of support for Israel.
Here is an excerpt from my welcome speech: I am not a politician. I am not a spiritual leader. I stand here to humbly offer myself as a beloved daughter and granddaughter, a treasured sister. I am a wife and blessed to be a mother. I am someone just like you. I search every day to do better and to be better. And now, just like you, I stand here with a broken heart crying out for the madness in Israel to end. In my eyes, we are gathered under one large tent – a tent under which every Jewish soul is welcomed.
My dear friends, our tent has come untethered. The events in Israel have left us feeling lost and hurt and scared. As we go through this evening’s program, I want you all to know that this is a safe space to weep and to mourn. I hope that you will find comfort in one another, and the courage to whisper words of love and support during this terrifying time in our history.
We are blessed to have wise and compassionate clergy here in Binghamton whose words and voices will give us hope and courage. Let us all begin to mend our broken hearts so we can pick ourselves up and find the strength to do our work as Jewish people to repair this broken world.
I would like to share of the these words from the poet Mark Nepo that speak to this time: “We cannot eliminate hunger, / but we can feed each other. / We cannot eliminate loneliness, but we can hold each other. / We cannot eliminate pain, / but we can live a life of compassion.”