The United States has a complex and deep rooted relationship with the rest of the world. We stood beside Europe on the march to victory in the first two world wars. But then the 60s and 70s yielded economic and political corruption centered in Latin America, casting us in a malicious light. Then the 1980s saw the fall of the Berlin wall/ Soviet Union, which the US had a large part in. We were the heroes – until the Gulf Wars and Afghanistan, when we invaded places where there was no need to invade, while withdrawing from regions at crucial, inopportune points. Now, in October of 2019, we burned a bridge that had been forged with blood and brotherhood, united under a common desire for justice and peace. For decades, the Kurdish people, an ethnic group living between Syria and Turkey, helped the United States with intelligence, manpower, and resources. In turn, we drove radical insurgents from the surrounding area. But as of this week, the Kurds no longer see us as the ally we have always been. Despite strong warnings from various agencies and the pentagon, President Donald Trump ordered American troops out of a buffer zone between Turkey and Syria, which had for years stopped the Kurds from fighting with the Turks over land. By essentially opening the gate for the Turkish Army, the United States turned its back on the Kurdish people, which has resulted in a plethora of problems. Two issues that stand out greater than the rest are the fact that we betrayed a long standing and loyal ally, and that because of Turkey/Syria’s concentration on the impending conflict, large amounts of prisoners that belong to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have escaped from prisons that as of recent lack security. Many fear that an old and strong bridge has been destroyed, and that the future of the western Middle East may be drastically changed for the worst. The events that are to unfold are likely to be harrowing and unpredictable, so please read from reputable sources if you wish to learn more.
I have always considered myself a person of faith. I was lucky enough to be born a Sephardic Jew in one of the most welcoming periods in world history. Because of this, I never had to hide my beliefs, I had the opportunity to inform countless masses of friends what the laws of Kosher are, sharing stories about my main man Moses, and having a global network of strangers and friends alike that I could rely on, that I could confide in. But that’s not what I wanted to highlight today. Recently, I went to Yom Kippur services for the “Jewish New Year” where I fasted the whole day and prayed in repentance of the misdeeds committed by me and fellow Jews this last year. At the end of the second night, after nearly 30 hours without food, water, or bathing, as night falls, your fate for the next year is sealed, your past year is wiped clean and are given a chance to start anew. As I left services with my father, I felt invigorated, I felt fresh, I felt strong despite my thirst and hunger, and it was all due to this faith of mine. I realized I possessed a luxury that many of my friends grew up without and still live lacking.
My faith has always been something I could rely on. From a young age, when I questioned something, I found my faith would always give me a confident answer, giving me a sense of closure, a peace-of-mind not afforded to my peers. When my friends grew to understand the finality of their mortality, when they struggled to find meaning in their lives, when they tossed and turned trying to comprehend our loneliness in our vast expanse of the universe, I had Judaism to fill the gaps in my young mind, sheltering me from the despair. Now I’m not saying it by any means encourages ignorance, some of the best Jewish scholars throughout history have integrated the scientific understand of our universe and Judaism because “[Both] were understood to be two different manifestations of the same divine truth.” (MJL, 2007) I was always encouraged by numerous Rabbi and teachers from my Jewish primary school to find my own truths, but if I couldn’t find a why for any of these, an explanation for my truths, Judaism would always be there to support my conclusions, to give me confidence about my role in our universe, no matter how small. I can go to sleep every night knowing if I were to not wake up in the morning, it would be because I have served my purpose and my job is completed, for this I am incredibly grateful.
Photo Credit: Kenzie Bruce, The Denver Post
Mjl. “Judaism & Science in History.” My Jewish Learning, My Jewish Learning, 4 Feb. 2007, www.myjewishlearning.com/article/judaism-science-in-history/.