Editor’s Wrapup: Oncoming Traffic
Members of ethnic or religious minorities tend to be expert at going against the flow.
Our invisible God emerged from a world full of idols, our affluence from places where our ancestors were denied the right to own land, and our comedians have found a gold mine in the very slings and arrows our enemies throw at us. Bucking the trend has been a boon to Jewish creativity and survival.
One place where Jews are determined to fight against the flow of traffic is in Sderot, the Israeli city that lies a few hundred yards from the Gaza border and where the unwanted traffic is in the form of incoming Qassam rockets. Despite the dangers—with 10 fatalities and 3,600 people treated for trauma in the past 7 years—though some have left, most of Sderot’s 20,000 residents are staying put. Rochelle Furstenberg reports from the city that is Israel’s civilian frontline, beginning on page 14.
Of course, some of us go against the flow even among our own, which explains the patchwork of organizations that make up even the smallest Jewish communities. On moving from Evergreen, Colorado, to Austin, Texas, Robin Chotzinoff discovered that swimming against all the streams in Austin was likely to make her a community of one. Her tale of finding a place for herself starts on page 50.
Those who think well of the Jewish people often have to challenge the traffic in their own time or place. Take Winston Churchill. Though the philo-Semitism of Britain’s wartime prime minister has long been known, Sir Martin Gilbert tells the story in richer detail than ever before in his newest book, Churchill and the Jews (Henry Holt). As Gilbert makes clear in an essay written for Hadassah Magazine (page 18), Churchill’s defense of the Jewish people began long before Hitler gave anti-Semitism a bad name in polite society. Like the people he admired, Churchill learned to thrive in oncoming traffic.
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