Forget the ark, just bring the flood

This week, Jews read the story of Noah and The Flood and today was a day awash with feelings. One of today’s Jerusalem terror attacks was near my house. One of my daughters heard the gunfire and then the sirens, sirens, sirens. Our upstairs neighbor ran for the bus and missed it. It shook us all, maybe because this one was so close to our house. All our other near misses have been further away from our front door.

Straight away, you hear the flood of Israeli reactions, “Kick ‘em all out”, “Kill them all”, “We’ll teach them”. A Palestinian FB friend allows comments on his peaceful posts that include calls for me to die. We all crave simple, final, absolutes. It’s what our gut calls for in response to terror and anger. Wash ‘em away. Finish them all. Start over.

Something primal in us calls for another Noah-style flood.
We don’t need more people condemning all Palestinians and we don’t need more people condemning all Israelis. It’s just blind to the complexity here. That there is one way to do things, one truth, one way to present the facts, one version of history that you have to agree with me about or die – is the thinking of fundamentalists. Not in my ark. In fact, let’s forget the ark.

Instead, I’ll tell you what kind of flood we need. What we need is a flood of social workers. We need 5,000 circles of healing to take place in this city. We need a good cry. We need to wail a river of tears. We need a tsunami of listening and caring and humanizing and meal trains. We need a flood of empathy. It’s messy, exhausting and requires tissues.

(This piece is an excerpt from a longer essay, “Forget the ark, just bring the flood“, which was published by the Times of Israel in 2015.)

Helen Gottstein

Posted by Helen Gottstein

Helen Gottstein is the proud owner of Loud and Clear, יעוץ תקשורת , a communication training business that works with top executives and others on their communication and presentation skills. She blogs on the Times of Israel on business, women and liberal Jewish values.

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