Photo by Chris & Karen Highland on Flickr at

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I can’t remember when Jews were as polarized as they are today. The May 17 issue of the Jewish News shows this schism, displaying some of the intense disagreements regarding Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal (the JCPOA) as well as the controversial installation of the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem.

Thankfully, the stories celebrating Israel in the Jewish News highlighted unity rather than division, especially the powerful, stunning essay by IDF Lone Soldier from Southfield, Zach Herschfus (“Our Secret Weapon,” page 22.) It is virtually impossible to feel animosity toward any Jew when reading about Zach standing at Raphael Mordechai’s grave at the National Memorial Ceremony on Israel’s Memorial Day, next to Raphael’s father and family.

Mordechai’s father, 45 years after his son died in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, grabbed and squeezed Zach’s hand during the 11 a.m. siren, accompanied by “pure silence,” tears streaming down both of their faces. “In that powerful moment in time, I understood the meaning of my mission,” Zach wrote.

One begins to feel faith again in our fractured Jewish community when 20-year-old Zach explains that he and Raphael’s dad “were sharing the pain of loss and at the same time the pride in what Raphael Mordechai had given for the country … as everyone across the country set aside their differences and came together (on Yom Hazikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut) in sorrow and transitioned into pure joy.”

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How can we not feel a strong sense of hopefulness with Herschfus’ inspirational conclusion that “unity is the strongest weapon the Jewish people have, our super power?”

Zach believed that this significant moment was his “most meaningful and important mission yet,” taking his part in “activating the super power of our nation as we stood together in unity.”


Arnie Goldman

Farmington Hills

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