Our Tears Are the Same Color

During the evening of December 8, 2022, the Synagogues of White Plains, in conjunction with the American Friends of The Parents Circle presented the opportunity to hear two women, each of whom had lost a child to the ongoing conflict in Israel and Palestine. Laila Alshekh is a Palestinian woman who lives in Bethlehem, whose journey to a hospital was blocked by Israeli soldiers when her toddler son was in desperate need of care. The delay was such that he died shortly after finally arriving at the hospital. Robi Damelin is an Israeli woman whose son, David, was killed by a Palestinian sniper. She learned of his death when she answered the door to find three soldiers waiting to speak to her, a certain sign of disaster. The women are part of a group of over 650 members, The Parents Circle, all of whom have buried children. They hope no one else will join their group. In impeccable English, they each told their story and how they had come to a path of forgiveness. Laila said, “It’s about understanding each other.” Robi said, “It’s about knowing that the people you are meeting are also human beings.” Shortly after her son’s death, Robi proclaimed, “You cannot kill anyone in the name of my son.”
They have studied the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, and met a young man who said, “by forgiving me, she released me from the prison of my inhumanity”. Robi asked us never to give up; hope is an essential component of peace. They feel that creating a framework of reconciliation is essential for any political peace solution.
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