Passover Seder In Gaza

Letter To Alexandria

Yesterday was a day full of misadventures. I went to Afula to visit a friend. I think I have mentioned before how using the buses can be a bit stressful. If you are unfamiliar with the routes and don’t know where the “Stop” buttons are, you can easily end up in trouble.

Getting to Afula was not so bad. I did it in the daytime. And the busses had announcement systems that announced each stop before the driver passed it. But I made a mistake of a different kind. I assumed my friend would be at home without checking with him before I left. He wasn’t at home, and wouldn’t be until late at night. So I turned around and headed back to Pardes Hannah when the sun was going down.

egged intercity
I got lost

That’s when the big misadventures started. On the first bus from Afula I was supposed to get off in a place called Gan Shmuel (Samuel’s Garden). The announcement system was not working. I went up to the driver and asked him to stop when we came to Gan Shmuel. The driver drove on focusing on navigating a couple roundabouts and then asked me what I wanted. When I told him I needed to get off at Gan Shmuel, he looked at a schedule and said we passed it already. I am not sure he was right, but I got off the bus and proceeded to walk back.

It turned out to be a long walk. During the walk, my mind turned to articles I had read about turmoil on college campuses because of the war that Israel is now in. I thought about how so much of American political activity is driven by misinformation. And then I thought about the emails I had received from Alexandria, which I had failed to answer. I hadn’t heard from her for a couple days.

For the last few weeks, I have received a friendly email nearly every day from Alexandria. Though we have never met, she always calls me by my first name, Jerry, the same as all my friends call me. She always has something new to say about what is happening in Congress, where she works, or in her political life. She ends every letter by asking me if I have $5.00 to spare, which i never do. Maybe that is why she hasn’t written for awhile.

I should write to her. She has talked about Israel lately, and she has said things that aren’t true. I think I will write to her now:

Alexandria accuses Israel of genocide.
Alexandria accuses Israel of genocide.

[Begin open letter to Alexandria]

Hi Alexandria, it’s Jerry. I haven’t heard from you in a couple days. In one of your latest emails you were worried because AIPAC was throwing its support toward your primary opponent. Then you said that AIPAC was a big fundraiser for Republicans.

Alexandria, I am not in your district and I don’t have a vote one way or the other. But if I was in your district, I would not appreciate it when you spread misinformation and conspiracy theories to marginalize Jewish people. I don’t especially like AIPAC, but I know they do not limit their endorsements only to Republicans. They have endorsed prominent persons in your party, the Democratic Party, as well. They have endorsed the Democratic minority leader in the House of Representatives, where you work. If you really want to know why AIPAC endorses your Democratic opponent and not you, you would do well to examine your treatment of Israel and its people.

Six months ago, only weeks after October 7, you called for a cease-fire in Gaza, and you accused Israel of war crimes. In your video to your constituents you equated the “war crime” of Hamas on October 7 to the Israeli reaction, and then you took offense when people said you sided with Hamas. Alexandria, even if the statistics you had about war casualties in Gaza were accurate (They weren’t.) when you equate the actions of Israel’s military with the terrorist actions of Hamas, you insult not only all the people of Israel, but also all the Jewish and non-Jewish supporters of Israel and all the people in the U.S. military and any other military in the free world who know the difference between acts of terrorism and acts of military defense.

The information you had six months ago, as well as the information you use today, has been supplied by Hamas. Check the resources, they always mention some Hamas controlled health ministry. And you never see a reason for fact-checking. Why? When you use Hamas’s information to call for a cease-fire, that is exactly what Hamas wants. On October 7, there was a cease-fire in place. If we return to those conditions, it gives Hamas a chance to regroup and start bombing Israel again. A cease-fire only means Israel stops firing at Hamas, but no de-escalation of violence on the other side.

Fast forward six months later to today. You are not only accusing Israel of war crimes, you are accusing Israel of genocide. No mention whatsoever of Hamas. There is no truth to what you are saying. Whether you actually know the truth or not, what you are doing is highly irresponsible for a woman in your position. There are a lot of people who use your words to legitimize their hatred of Jews. Your concern for the people, specifically the children in Gaza, is disingenuous at best when you fan the flames of hatred at home. On college campuses in New York, Hamas supporters have harassed and threatened Jewish students and have tried to block them from entering campus facilities. Your words and your actions lend themselves to this harassment and whatever violence ensues.

Alexandria, you share the name of a city in Egypt which once had a fantastic library and also a thriving Jewish community. You have acknowledged your Jewish roots, which connect you with another community – Puerto Ricans with Jewish origins. Now in public office, you have aggressively distanced yourself from the Jewish community, and you are trafficking in misinformation about the Jewish homeland in ways that bring harm to your Jewish constituents. Your Democratic primary opponent is the underdog, and he probably has little chance of being elected. However, he showed courage when you did not, when soon after October 7, your opponent joined a pro-Israel counter-demonstration opposite an anti-Israel, anti-Jew demonstration. If I lived in your district, I would lean toward voting for him. I hope this gives you reason to reflect.

P.S. You are welcome to read the rest of my post. And I welcome you to continue writing to me. If you really need $5.00, I really don’t think I am the one you should ask to lend it to you.

[End open letter to Alexandria]

Staff Sgt. Adir Eshto Bogale, 20, a Golani soldier, from Ariel, was killed on October 7 battling Hamas terrorists at the Nahal Oz IDF outpost
Staff Sgt. Adir Eshto Bogale, 20, a Golani soldier, from Ariel, was killed on October 7 battling Hamas terrorists at the Nahal Oz IDF outpost


I composed much of my letter while walking along a busy highway. I waited a day before transfering the thoughts from my head to this post. But let me tell you about something along the way home.

Somehow I ended up at the wrong bus stop and didn’t know it until much later. But everything is for a reason, right? There was a soldier at the bus stop, a young guy of Ethiopian descent. I wanted to let him know I appreciated his service, but I didn’t know how. I ended up asking him if he’d been in the north.

No, he had been in the south, in Gaza. A little more small talk, and I asked him where he was for the Passover Seder.

His face brightened up and he said he was in Gaza. “Do you want to see a picture?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said. He showed me a photo of himself with other soldiers under a tent, around a table filled with the food items needed for the Seder.

And that’s when I realized, “We’re gonna be okay.” With all the turmoil – the politicians shouting at each other, the misguided demonstrations on college campuses with threats to Jewish students, and all zeroed in on what is happening in Gaza, the soldier wanted to share his photo of soldiers in a tent, enjoying their Passover dinner and rituals.

With all the noise and bombs and shootings, the soldier was so proud of one thing. It wasn’t the battles. It wasn’t about emerging victorious. It was about carrying on ancient traditions in a tent in a war zone.

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