Early last week, Rabbi Menachem Creditor had a light-bulb moment: He should put together an anthology of essays about Israel’s fight with Hamas and its impact on the Jewish community. Two days later, the book hit Amazon.com.
“The Hope: American Jewish Voices in Support of Israel” was compiled, edited, designed and put on sale all within 48 hours. Creditor, the rabbi at Congregation Netivot Shalom in Berkeley, teamed up with New York publicist Shira Dicker to put out a call for submissions. Quickly.
Creditor, who contributed one essay and also edited the book, says the guidelines were simple: no hatred for anyone. “This was a unified American Zionist voice that didn’t ring like it came from the right or the left. Just from the Jewish heart.”
Dozens of rabbis and other Jewish thinkers submitted essays, some originally published elsewhere and others written especially for the book. Contributors include Rabbi Steven C. Wornick, CEO of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism; Rabbi Rick Jacobs, president of the Union for Reform Judaism; and, locally, Rabbi Mark Bloom of Temple Beth Abraham in Oakland.
Writer Esther Kustanowitz penned a piece about Israel supporters taking solace in social media during the fighting. Rabbinical student Josh Buchin wrote about being in Israel during the run-up to the operation. Dicker offers an essay about Jews feeling unsafe in the world again.
Creditor hopes the book will serve as a reminder of the sobering day-to-day reality Israel faces. “Jews want to be a source of light and dignity for people,” he says, “and Israel is a beacon of that.”
The paperback is 180 pages and costs $10.79. Proceeds will go to the Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin. Look for it online, or place a bulk order by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. — dan pine