Israel Mission Reflection by Rabbi David Spinrad

Originally sent via email from Beth El Hebrew Congregation

I feel like I have no words but words are all I have. I need a little time and space to breathe before I can write something of depth. Happy to send my sermon for Shabbat Hanukkah to you when it’s ready. For now, here is a slightly modified short note that is going out to our congregation later today. Nothing particularly profound, but wanted to share. Thank you for everything you did to make this happen and do in service of the Jewish people. Shabbat shalom.

Vantablack coating is the world’s darkest material, absorbing 99.965% of all visible light. When applied to three-dimensional objects, it is so dark that Vantablack produces the appearance of a two-dimensional surface or void space.

These past few days in Israel have felt coated in Vantablack paint. To not smile or laugh or even be able feel the sun while it shines on my face is to experience a darkness that has fallen across our people that seems like it will never lift.

Being here now has been critical. I am appreciative of the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington for its support and for understanding how important it has been l to stand in solidarity, bear witness, and bring our experiences in Israel home told communities.

While Israel seems coated in Vantablack paint, this moment for our people is far from two-dimensional or void. Much like the lights of the Hanukkiyot we will soon light together, amidst this tragic darkness, I have also heard stories and seen small lights of heroism, sacrifice, resolve, and unity. The war is far from over. Far too many hostages remain beneath Gaza. But Israel will prevail. It, and we in the Jewish Diaspora, will again shine our light on the world.

Am Yisrael chai. Shabbat shalom.