At this time of the year, we all look for light and cherish it.
This year, as we struggle with a deadly pandemic and with so much darkness around us, it is incumbent upon us, more than ever, to share the light and spread it.
As I was adding candles to my hanukiah last week, I listened to an interview on Americans for Peace Now’s podcast with Vera Baboun, the former mayor of Bethlehem.
She spoke about the sadness of celebrating Christmas in the midst of a socially distancing pandemic, under occupation, with no tourists at Manger Square and with hardly any freedom of movement for her fellow Palestinians.
Vera is a peace activist, a staunch supporter of peace with Israel. On her PeaceCast conversation, albeit somber, Vera did not forget to share the light of hope for peace from Bethlehem. We must extend our arms toward each other, not simply reach out our hands, she said, “in order to bring a peace that we both deserve, Israelis and Palestinians.”
I am joining Vera in wishing peace to her Palestinian compatriots and to her Israeli neighbors, and in wishing our Christian friends a merry Christmas and a happy, healthy new year.
In this coming year, may the Almighty lift up His face unto us, and give us peace.
Salam - Shalom - Peace,
Shira Stutman is Senior Rabbi at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue in Washington DC.