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Boston Marathon

Our hearts our joined in sorrow and outrage with our neighbors and friends of Boston.  Again an American city has been struck by terror.  We pray that those injured may find healing and the families of those murdered will find a measure of consolation.

As in Israel, the joy and celebration of today’s Yom Haatzmaut, Israel Independence Day, is tempered by yesterday’s Yom HaZikaron, Memorial Day.  My rejoicing is diminished.  And so I turn to Israel’s poetry.  I find myself once again pulled toward Yehuda Amichai’s poems. 

What follows is the poem Amichai read at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony when Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Yasir Arafat were awarded the 1994 prize and although that peace agreement is fractured I continue to cling to its dream. The poem seemed fitting for the hope of that occasion.  It gains poignancy with each passing year.  The urgent dream of peace is renewed with even greater force after yesterday. 

Not the peace of a cease-fire
not even the vision of the wolf and the lamb,
but rather
as in the heart when the excitement is over
and you can talk only about a great weariness.
I know that I know how to kill,
that makes me an adult.
And my son plays with a toy gun that knows
how to open and close its eyes and say Mama.
A peace
without the big noise of beating swords into ploughshares,
without words, without
the thud of the heavy rubber stamp: let it be
light, floating, like lazy white foam.
A little rest for the wounds—
who speaks of healing?
(And the howl of the orphans is passed from one generation
to the next, as in a relay race:
the baton never falls.)
Let it come
like wildflowers,  
suddenly, because the field
must have it: wildpeace.

Peace remains my prayer—for Israel, for America, for the world.  I vow.  I will never allow terrorism to diminish my choices.  I will not allow it to destroy my dreams.  May our children, and our children’s children be granted a world free from terror.  And may peace come soon—because we must have it.