Lee Sharkey reflects on silence at the Women in Black vigil

As a Jew, I have been appalled by Israel’s response to the second Intifada. I take this personally. My Jewish heritage is a passion for social justice. As a Jew, I twist in pain for each new Palestinian or Israeli victim of that cycle of violence and retribution. I came to Women in Black in solidarity with Israeli Women in Black to make my resistance to war on all fronts visible, without hatred to say “Dai! Enough already!” I mourn all the dead.

In a midrash I love, a man returns to the shtetl from his travels. As always, the villagers gather round the traveler for news from the wider world. He has returned this time with something precious, a small sphere all gold and blush, the finest fur velveting its skin. The villagers have never seen a peach before. He names it for them: “peach.” They pass the fruit from hand to hand, pronouncing it, marveling at how the syllable tastes in their mouths.

Without a language succulent with love of life, and love of life is love of justice, I founder. The public rhetoric of vengeance undoes my sanity. I reclaim speech, and space for speech, when I stand and move toward peace in silence.

First reflection>