web analytics
May 29, 2015 / 11 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Heroes And Those They Inspire


< ?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

            Israel was at war, and though I live across the ocean, I felt like I was on high alert. Strangely enough, I was actually grateful to have experienced this feeling during the crisis.

 
The weeks of unrest for Jews worldwide leading up to the war coincided with the weeks prior to and following my sister’s wedding. From the fiasco at Beit HaShalom in Hebron to the Mumbai massacre and the escalated Hamas rocket shooting, I was torn between celebration and mourning, between happiness and wrath. And I realized how easy it is for one immersed in personal matters to shift focus from intense concentration on the klal to individuals and family members.
 
During those weeks I would feel extreme resentment over the Israeli government’s manhandling of the Beit HaShalom protesters and then continue on to my next gown fitting. I cried over the innocent victims in Mumbai and then wiped my tears and filled in more names on the hall’s seating charts. Kassam rockets crashed down in Sderot and Ashkelon while I prepared another cake for the Sheva Brachos.
 
Though I’m no hard-core activist, this period of intense entanglement with private matters definitely curtailed my usual depth of involvement with Jewish issues. It takes above-average stamina and devotion to effect real change even under the most ideal circumstances, making it all the more remarkable that there exist those relatively few Jewish heroes who are able to sustain fierce involvement in righteous causes regardless of where their personal lives take them.
 
Heroes are also human, however, and though their dedication and their will to fight may not intervene, mortality can. Such was the thought that occurred to me after my initial shock on learning of the sudden death of modern-day hero Tsafrir Ronen, z’l. Tsafrir suffered a fatal heart attack on Dec. 27 at the young age of 53. He left behind a wife and three daughters.
 
Tsafrir was the consummate Zionist. A secular Jew who espoused the ideals of ahavat Eretz Yisrael, his mantra was Jewish identity, his constant slogan “There can be no Jewish state without Jewish identity.” He worked tirelessly and passionately on behalf of that motto. A fervent supporter of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria, he was also an outspoken critic of Israeli policies – the Oslo “peace” accords, the withdrawal from southern Lebanon and the Gush Katif expulsion – that in his view harmed the Jewish state.
 
I first met Tsafrir last year when I accompanied him and another Jewish activist on a visit to the Jewish National Fund offices in New York. During that time Hamas was firing daily barrages into Sderot while the Israeli government under a beleaguered Ehud Olmert did nothing.
 
We had hoped to inspire a change of attitude on the part of JNF officials and impel them to openly urge Israeli leaders to change course and protect their citizens. We were told it was not in their organizational mandate to get involved in Israeli politics.
 
Tsafrir implored the JNF officials to “be on our side” because Israeli public opinion was steadily moving to the right. He insisted that “the State of Israel was fighting against the Land of Israel” and begged the JNF to take a stand in defense of all of Israel, including Judea and Samaria. But he was politely rebuffed and told the JNF wished to remain a “positive” organization dedicated to planting trees and saving the Negev.
 
Tsafrir’s words ring prophetic today. Though the JNF does some wonderful work, I doubt many trees are being planted in the troubled southern region of Israel. And the JNF certainly must be having a hard time luring people to the Negev, what with the still imminent threat of rocket barrages from Gaza.
 
Ironically, Tsafrir died on the eve of Israel’s defensive operations in Gaza. And while everyone was shocked at his sudden death, I wonder whether the stress of committing himself entirely to an ideal, only to see that ideal denigrated by most of those around him, may have contributed to his demise.
 
            Not all Jewish heroes become disillusioned, nor are all hindered in their quests. But it seems nearly impossible to live a life in the constant face of bitter realities without those realities following one like an unwanted shadow. Jewish heroes, driven by a passion to fight the uphill battle for Jewish survival, are heroes precisely because they have to fight. And for many of them there seems to be a price to be paid.
 

There are few among us who can claim such fierce dedication, undeterred by obstacles or personal distractions. For we mere mortals unable to put aside our daily responsibilities in the pursuit of a just cause, these heroes serve as an inspiration to engage in that cause when our lives do allow for it.

 

Sara Lehmann is a freelance writer and editor living in Brooklyn with her husband and children. 

About the Author: Sara Lehmann, a freelance writer living in Brooklyn, was formerly an editor at a major New York publishing house.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Heroes And Those They Inspire”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Israel Envisions Regional Cooperation with Arab Nations
Latest Indepth Stories

As for the president’s new, softer tone vis-à-vis Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel, this is most likely being driven by the results of the recent Israeli election.

What especially appeals to us is his grand – some critics would say extravagant –view of what the borders of Israel should look like.

There was something else of great importance in play – something we would have liked to see him take into account before deciding to stand with the boycotters.

Front-Page-052915

The establishment of Hebrew University was a cause much beloved to Einstein who in 1923, during what would be his only trip to Eretz Yisrael, delivered the university’s inaugural lecture on Har Hatzofim (Mt. Scopus) and, discussing the theory of relativity, spoke the first few sentences of his address in Hebrew.

The Golden Square wanted Germany to destroy the British and Jewish presence in their country. The Third Reich craved what was beneath the ground – oil.

Ida Nudel’s account of how the Soviets persecuted and punished her was far worse than imagined.

Swim4Sadna is an annual event benefiting Sadna, an integrative special-ed community in Gush Etzion

Prof. Wistrich, was THE foremost historian of anti-Semitism; committed spokesman & advocate of Jewry

Jewish Voices for Peace’s 2015 Haggadah is a blatant anti-Israel screed crying, “L’chayim to BDS!”

On his shloshim, I want to discuss a term I’ve heard countless times about Rav Aharon: Gedol HaDor

After obsequious claims of devotion to Israel, Obama took to criticizing Israel on peace process

Mr. Obama, Israeli voters have democratically chosen to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea&Samaria

Netanyahu so disdains Shaked’s appointment he completely ignored her after the swearing-in ceremony

Ronen Shamir’s just the latest tenured Leftist convicted of sexual misconduct with his own student

More Articles from Sara Lehmann
Lehmann-Sara-logo

Despite efforts to revive Jewish cultural life in Poland, which has met with a measure of success and support from Polish officials, Poland still remains a virtual graveyard of its prewar glory days.

Lehmann-Sara-logo

One look at the breakdown of competing parties in the Israeli elections lends credibility to the old joke of two Jews and three shuls.

The fact that a congresswoman and head of the DNC felt the need to recant what is obvious and at the same time threatening to American Jews is more of a commentary on the state of American Jewry and less on the dishonesty of a dithering politician.

In his September speech to the UN, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed to that fox when he compared Iran to the Nazis.

It is hard to believe that only one hundred years ago religion played such a central and accepted role in the personal and governmental lives of American citizens that its invocation was standard.

We see pictures of mosques, monuments for terrorists, illegal schools, and hundreds of apartments being built on Jewish land without repercussions. We are losing Jewish property, so it is up to us to protect it.

What’s important is to make the case for Israel more forcefully and to give it the articulation that the next presidential candidates ought to have.

From Obamacare to Common Core to gay marriage, radical agendas are pushed through the legal system.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/heroes-and-those-they-inspire/2009/01/28/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: