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Optimism In 5782

09/09/2021 02:42:38 PM

Sep9

Rabbi Weill

Dear Friends,

The shocking ascension of the Taliban 20 years after 9/11 causes deep consternation. So many Afghanis and others have and will continue to suffer from the Taliban’s violent brand of Islamist extremism. In addition to our consternation, we may also feel a sense of dismaying futility, as in: After all that, they’re back?

The Taliban’s re-emergence feels like the realization of Ecclesiastes’ pessimistic sentiment: Ain col-chadash tachat ha’shemesh. There is nothing new under the sun. It’s the “same old-same old,” from the humdrum to the heinous.

But it is a new year, and so we are – and must will ourselves to be – in an optimistic state of mind. There is surely cause for optimism. I am astonishingly inspired, for instance, by young Afghani women who are protesting the Taliban. They are literally risking their lives. Journalists – also anathema to the Taliban – boldly cover those protests.

Meanwhile, we are also encouraged by the Abraham Accords, in which Israel made peace with formerly avowed enemies. Some see these accords as a snub toward the Palestinians, but they also offer a hopeful example: surprising progress toward peace can happen, even in the most enduring conflicts.

May 5782 see the emergence of new leaders, women and men who will work boldly, creatively, and with urgency to pave a path toward peace.

L’shana tova,

Rabbi Jeffrey Weill

Tue, April 23 2024 15 Nisan 5784