The rollercoaster in two continents

YAs I continue with my Argentina/Uruguay mission trip with JFNA, I continue my emotional rollercoaster. Going to see, as a tourist, places I grew up in is strange to say the least...going into Jewish institutions which were part of my daily life, but now goin in as a visitor, is even stranger. These spaces (Jewish and non Jewish) defined my life and my identity - they made the foundation of who I am. They are the sme - yet they are different. I find the same energetic spirit among the young leaders which I came to know so well, the same inventive ways to try to get your message across. But underlying it all there is a lingering fear, as sense of foreboding, looming over Jewish life pending the results of the upcoming Elections. A strange mix of energy, determination and fear.And pride. I am, if anything, prouder to be the son of the Argentine Jewish community than I ever was before.

But I am not only the sone of the Argentine Jewish community. Who I am today is also an American Jew. My American experience took the foundation that Argentine gave me and molded into something else... not fully American, not fully Argentinean, yet both. And as an American Jew I could not help but read with serious concern about the new initiative for an official currculum on Social Studies for California's high schools which has a serious anti-Israel bias abd ignores comnpletelly the existence of American Jews and their role in the development of the West Coast state. It also uses rap lyrics and antisemitic tropes to promote an idea of Jews  and Israel being in cahoots to oppress the world. Not pretty. You can see a JNS article with a lot more detail by going here


. We are a people of "Oy Veys" and dissatisfaction, but as Mark Twain once said "even a broken watch is right twice a day". The Oy Veys and the dissatisfaction, as well as the sense of impending doom might all be justified in the context of my experience this week, or if we are lucky, they might be completely unjustified. But given the stakes of what these developments representy, we cannot afford to ignore them nor to be ready to do whatever might need to be done. This is where the Power of the Collective that we harness as part of the Federation Movement gives us an advantage. The advantage of our partners on the ground, like the JDC and JAFI and ORT; the advantage of the collective efforts in the US like the AMCHA initiative watching over state curricula. Oy Vey alone doesn't cut it, but when we add our dissatisfaction, it is what propels us to action, and action is what we need s the world keeps getting weirder, less hospitable and more unstable...

 

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