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Jewish LGBT Community Commemorates the Death of Two at a Gay Center in Tel Aviv
In the Jewish tradition, ashkava (“laying down“), the ceremony which takes place when someone dies, is an emotional process, that all family members of the deceased must go though for a year. This process is a sad movement from grief back to life embodied in ceremonies and prayers in which we reflect on our actions in relation to the dead, doing a hesbon hanefesh, a self criticism.
Yesterday, the Bay Area Jewish, and gay community, held a vigil and walked from the Sha’ar Zahav (gate of gold) synagogue to the LBGT center in SF, to commemorate the death of Liz Trobishi, 17, and Nir Katz, 26. Liz and Nir died when a terrorist dressed in black walked into a gay youth center and opened fire. Candles were held by the participants, symbolizing in the Jewish tradition--life, “As long as candle is flickering, there is time to repair”, as long as one is still alive, one can make changes. On Saturday the light candles of Liz and Nir were extinguished. Both represented in their action love and solidarity. Liz was a volunteer at the center to support gay youth, Nir was a counselor and a supporter of the Israeli Communist Party and Meretz (a left wing party). Both understood the need to support and help those facing Xenophobia, both died doing what they believed in.
This is not the first time that someone opened fire on a group of civilians in Palestine. It is however, one of those rare moments when the murderer and the victims are Jewish. And while my heart bleeds, over the death of two individuals who died in the service to others, a simple truth shines glaringly through their death—Jews, Israelis, and gays are not safe under a Zionist regime. That institutionalize racism propagated against the “other“, will not make us safe, will not protect our loved ones, will not stop outburst of violence and hatred.
It is simply another case of “chickens coming to roost”, and we are all complicit to one degree or another. Those of us who do not speak against American aid to Israel out of fear of being ostracized by our community and family. Those of us who did not halt the Israeli military machine, out of fear of being called “anti-Semites” or a “self hating Jews”. We who did not scream when in Gaza, as Dostoyevsky wrote, blood was spilt “in the merriest way, as if it were champagne”. We are guilty for retreating to what has been described by Simon Critchley as “passive nihilism”. Rather then acting to transform a world mark by oppression, we choose to adopt a “healthy life style”, “mediate for peace”, vote for Obama and take yoga classes in search of the inner child. Wishfully hoping that the evil that our government participate and contribute to, will somehow die on its own without any effect on us.
ki meafar bata, vel afar tashov-you have come from dust, and to dust you shall return. Like some aspects in philosophy Judaism reflects disappointment. A constant need to explain the world, to come to grips with human existence, with death. Religions have done well to camouflage our outer failure in making sense out of life. But even with god, this murder cannot be comprehend. What would make one take a gun and murder what he does not understand or like? Failure, disappointed. Our failure, our disappointment. Oppression does not stop by passive behavior, and the act leaves us with nothing but a simple statement “Cast your bread upon the water for after many days you will find it.” You will not be safe, when others are subjected to starve quietly by your government. You will not be safe when your government annihilates others in your name. You cannot be natural, as Howard Zinn wrote, on a moving train.
the picture at the bottom of the poster reads "love will win"
Rabbi Camille Angel spoke about imagining herself burying one of her kids and how difficult that must be. “as a Jew” Rabbi Angel said “the most important teaching to us is that everyone was created in the image of god. Even when there is sadness, Judaism tells us to lift ourselves up”. Rabbi Angel recited the Kadish the prayer said by those who are mourning for the death of a relative.
Ruby Cymrot-Wu bay area outreach coordinator, Jewish mosaic.
Sadly, Jessica Trubowitch, from the Jewish Community Relation Council was allowed to speak. Zionists were asked not to promote their ideology as to not offend Jews and Queers who were present. The JCRC has a long history of attacking communities of color for recognizing Israel as an apartheid state, among them SF WAR, a rape crisis agency that supports survivors of rape and sexual assault. Allowing a representative of an organization that supported Israel all through its recant massacre in Gaza is an insult to those who were murdered, especially to Nir; who as a radical would want nothing to do with an organization that whitewashes war crimes and supports apartheid.
a memorial inside the LGBT center