Ari (Ballaban) Jun — In Conversation
We’ve Got to Swim, Swim, Swim
Let me ask you a question, though: What would the Israelites have done had they reached the shores of the Red Sea, and the Sea hadn’t parted? Certainly, the feeling then—with torturers close behind, and without another good exit strategy—would have been similar.
To my answer: On Thursday night, we commemorated the 60th anniversary of the 1963 March on Cincinnati. We co-created a program at Zion Baptist Church, which memorialized past Black-Jewish relationships and imagined what our future could look like. And as part of that program, we hosted a musical duo—Rabbi Micah Lapidus, headmaster of Atlanta’s Davis Academy and Melvin Kindall Myles, of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church—who provided (musical) wisdom.
“If the waters don’t part, we’ve got to swim, swim, swim.”
With everything going on right now, I think we could metaphorically say that the waters aren’t parting; but that doesn’t change the fact that we need to cross them. None of you need me to tell you that going backward is impossible. We can’t return to a time when we are ignorant of the existential threats Hamas poses to Israel. We can’t go back to when, for just a few hours of October 7 and 8, much of the world ephemerally rallied to condemn terrorism and support Israel. This situation is only going to get harder over the coming weeks and months, so we have just one option: swim, swim, swim.
Baruch ha-shem, thank God: Whether it’s a blessing or a curse, Jewish history has made us excellent swimmers. I think we’re up to the task.