Michael has been an educator for over 20 years. He was a founding member of the Torat Tzion Kollel movement in Cleveland, Ohio, where he and his wife Dara taught in and helped create the curriculum of the Fuchs Mizrachi School. Michael was the lead educator for ICNext, a training program for the broader Jewish Community in Cleveland. He was also a creative consultant the the Cleveland Playhouse. Michael studied philosophy in and received smicha from YU. Michael and Dara have five children and live in Efrat.
Why so noisy?
Is your newsfeed still buzzing? Mine is. A week after the UNSC Resolution 2334, the American abstention, and the Kerry speech, there is still plenty of freaking out to be seen. No matter where one is on the political spectrum, there is no shortage of emoting.
In an attempt to raise the light and lower the heat, we’ve discussed these issues on two episodes of our podcast. But zooming out a bit, I’d like to meta-reflect on the discussion itself. I’d like to argue for cooler heads prevailing.
I think when discussing the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, people often get stuck somewhere along Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’ model of the five stages of grief. You’ve heard of this idea, that mourners experience denial, anger, bargaining, depression and eventually acceptance as part of a natural process. Much of the posting I see, and discussions I hear, seem to take place somewhere along that process.Homer goes through faster than most
Who is grieving?
Zionists and Palestinians have an ideal vision of what the state that lies between the Jordan river and Mediterranean sea should look like. But since they live in that area in roughly equal numbers, those ideal concepts have not become reality.
Letting go of that dream is a cause for genuine pain and grief. And while that may be reasonable and normal, it can often lead to discussions that ignore the actual complicated and deeply problematic realities. Those discussions are often anything but reasonable. Let me explain by cutting and pasting from the wikipedia page about the stages, but substituting the relevant examples.
The Five Stages of Middle East Grief:
Denial – In this stage individuals believe the description of the problem is somehow mistaken, and cling to a false, preferable reality. Examples from across the realm of political opinion include -
Anger – When the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue, they become frustrated, especially at proximate individuals. Examples from across the realm of political opinion include -
Bargaining – The third stage involves the hope that the individual can avoid a cause of grief. People facing... trauma can bargain or seek compromise. Examples from across the realm of political opinion include -
Depression – During the fourth stage, the individual despairs at the intractability of a toxic status quo. In this state, the individual may become silent, refuses to be idealistic and .take part in building a healthy future for their state. Examples from across the realm of political opinion include -
Acceptance – In this last stage, individuals embrace reality and understand that the status quo will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future. It typically comes with a calm, grounded, perspective for the individual, and a stable condition of emotions. Examples from across the realm of political opinion include -
Whether any of these individual examples are true or false isn’t relevant to my case. What I’m concerned with is whether or not the conversations that include them are helpful and/or enlightening.
Like I said, more light less heat.
Ehud Olmert never recieved a response from Mahmoud Abbas to his proposal.
Note: Many thanks to my excellent class at Midreshet Emunah V'Omanut for helping me develop these ideas.