‘Hear, Israel’

‘Hear, Israel’

I read Gary Rosenblatt’s Between the Lines, “Ready for a president of the Jewish people?” (Aug. 7) with great interest — not so much in his words, although he is a fine writer, but in his obvious need to write this article. He is correct, of course. Anger and misunderstandings abound in our Jewish world today.

Whether the suggestion is a People’s Council, an Endowment, a President of World Jewry, or any other ideas, all are bound to fail unless we remember the words of the Shema and “Hear, Israel.”

To hear, to really hear another person, requires us to be quiet and listen. We are adept at criticizing others and, often, we are correct from our point of view. However, usually we make the mistake of being oblivious to any other point of view. And there is always another point of view. Sometimes if we are truly engaged in conversation, we can begin to understand the concerns, even the fears, that are behind another’s actions and words. And unless we understand those motivations, we cannot have an honest conversation. Compromise, today’s dirty word, is not possible without accepting that another point of view exists and hearing what is being said.

The older I get, the more complicated and, paradoxically, the more simple things become. We, the Jewish people, will not exist if we do not hear one another.

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