I am sure Rabbi Shmuley Boteach has considered it is no accident that an individual of his intellect, commitment, and resources now finds himself shining a local and international spotlight through a shared window of opportunity that exists between his marvelous family and the ambassador of our people’s adversary living next door.
As a Jewish community, our mistrust of our neighbors is ancient and validated by generations of horror and loss. I’m sure the good rabbi has thought again and again about the world all our children will inherit with the perpetuation of this legacy. Looking at Israel surrounded by enemies, it is necessary to be relentlessly defensive. Looking at the Libyan residence encircled by affluent and influential Jews of every denomination, it is impossible for me to overlook the “perfect storm” of simple geography and to question if the recent strife among us is what it was designed to yield. I see the possibility of a different intended outcome to this extraordinary no-accident convergence: one that leverages our strengths and risks connection and communication – despite the brutal wickedness of past and more recent murderous behaviors.
I am not a scholar, and I know leopards don’t change their spots. But I do believe individuals can make a difference. What would happen if a man of Rabbi Boteach’s gifts and passion would leverage his rare and precious strengths with those of the Englewood Jewish community to attempt to turn an enemy into a neighbor (while the world watches in the wings)? If there is a God, I can’t help but think He’s blessed Rabbi Boteach not only with a remarkable wife and nine amazing children, but with the chance to ensure they grow up in world with a little less evil, a little less hatred – and the knowledge that they were an intrinsic part of producing such a result.