By Daniel Roth
Twenty years ago, like many others, my life changed for ever. I recall listening to the news of Rabin z”l being shot, stopping the car and running into a friends house to watch the horrific news together. I was in the army at the time as part of my 5 year Hesder program of Army service and Yeshiva studies. What passed through my mind was ‘Please G-d I hope it wasn’t a Jew…. not a religious Jew… not a Hesdernic!’ All nightmares came true.. The next morning I arrived at my base and was nearly “lynched’ by my fellow soldiers who were extremely antagonistic to religious soldiers who “killed Rabin.” This event played a critical role in shaping my identity and desire to be a bridge between different conflicting identity groups and work to encourage constructive conflict. It’s not about putting out conflicts rather engaging in them in a way where we argue passionately even at times raising our voices, but also stopping to listen and shake hands at the end and maybe even hug. At the time I had hoped Rabin day would become the national day of constructive conflict but for a variety of reasons that did not happen, and I am not sure it ever can. With this in mind, it was important to me to find a different day, perhaps less “raw” to promote these critical values and practices, and that has become the 9th of Adar, the day on which 2000 years ago conflicting ideological Jewish camps engaged violently in conflict over how to relate to non- Jews. It was declared a fast day but never commemorated. As we commemorate Rabin’s assassination there is no better time to begin planning how we want to cultivate a culture of healthy disagreement and constructive conflict in our homes, communities and countries. Join us in commemorating 9Adar 2016, over the Jewish Week of Constructive Conflict February 12 – 18.