Friday, February 16, 2018

Keeping Our Students Safe - We CAN Take Action

Depending on how an organization and/or news source defines a school shooting, there have been anywhere from 11 to 18 school shootings in 2018 as of February 16th. Maybe the number is lower, but without a doubt, there have been multiple people killed by guns in schools at least twice this year - once in Kentucky and this week in Florida.

According to one ABC News report citing FBI sources, there have been approximately 50 school shootings since the Columbine High School incident in 1999, my second year of teaching - and I'm now in my 20th year as a teacher.

This has to stop. It just has to. In no sane world should kids have to worry about their own safety when going to school; in no sane world should a parent have to wonder if it is the last time they will see their child when they send them off to school; and in no sane world should teachers and school employees have to constantly wonder how or if they would act to protect their own students like American hero teachers Aaron Feis and Scott Beigel did a few days ago at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Unfortunately, at this point, only one thing is clear: for whatever reason, the US Government is unable to figure out how best to keep our students safe in schools.

Before I go any further, I want to make one thing clear: I am tired of pointing fingers. I don't care that Trump may be an ass and/or an incompetent president in anyone's eyes. I don't care to point fingers at GOP members, like Marco Rubio, who receive a ton of money from the NRA. And I am equally tired of blaming Obama, who also failed to protect our children with any meaningful gun regulation or other means. In short, spare me the partisan crap. Nothing has changed in 19 years since Columbine.

So today, I got to thinking. How can Americans circumvent a constitutional law about guns that will almost never change? How can Americans circumvent or engage a government that has been impotent to stop the school violence to this point? What changes can we make, in our towns and schools, to at least TRY to better keep our students safe in school?

What I know is that the only control we have, somewhat, is over our local schools as taxpayers. So what we - you and I - can do immediately is to take stock of the security in place at our local schools and demand the school board and administration do what they have to to make that security EXCELLENT.

I am lucky enough to work at a place that can afford some darn good security. It's not fool proof by any means, but the following list contains some things we have:

1) Vegas style security cameras inside halls and outside the school with constant monitoring. Yes, we really employ a person that sits in a room and watches all of the camera feeds - just like you see on TV and movies in Vegas and other places.
2) At least 1 police liaison on campus full-time. Today I saw at least 3, with 2 cruisers parked in front of 2 of the main entrances.
3) We have a school of approximately 5000 people - but we only have 4 access points, all manned with security full-time. These folks are not armed, but they have walkie talkies and immediate communication with our security apparatus.
4) We have a constant security force that is stationed throughout the school. In addition to the 4 at the entrances, there are 2 stationed in the main commons along with Deans as well as security wandering the halls. I am not even sure how many we employ.
5) Between periods, we have students that walk outside because the building is huge. We have a pickup truck that parks during those times to block any car that would want to 'ram' through this pathway and to monitor students walking about.
6) All adults in the building must wear a visible badge. Guests get a temp badge at entrance points using a driver's license scan.
7) All classroom doors are opened and locked by staff ID cards. They are also set to auto lock in case of a "code red" situation. This might've helped avoid the death of 1 teacher in Florida that was shot ushering kids into his room and possibly working to lock the door from the outside with a key.

Some things we do not have that should be considered:
1) When classes begin, all doors should lock for the day restricting unauthorized personnel unless buzzed in.
2) Increased security staff with training and access to arms in an emergency - teachers or otherwise. While I don't necessarily want armed teachers, I'd be okay with an extra police liaison or 2 assigned to our school full-time. Also, I have seen suggestions that schools put biometric safes throughout the school with access to a weapon by any staff that wants to go through full security and training yearly. I don't know how I feel about that, but I also know that I'm willing to listen to any potential move to increase security for our kids.
3) Yearly mental health screening for teens in junior high and high school - like vision and hearing screening is done in elementary.

4) Metal detectors.

What am I missing? What have you seen at your schools?

Of course, this plan would need to be funded. But maybe, if we're not challenging the 2nd amendment and maybe if we put aside partisan politics, through local business donations, NRA donations, and government funding, we can

make our schools as safe as possible for our kids.

I realize this doesn't solve the gun debate; however, while that debate continues to go around in circles as it has for 19+ years since Columbine - through both democratic and republican administrations - we can take matters into our own hands immediately and make a difference.

I know I'm going to be writing my local school administrators for an inventory of security measures in place.

If you think it's a good idea, maybe you will too - for our children and to honor the memory of the victims and heroes that have lost their lives in school shootings over the last 19 years.


Thursday, November 16, 2017

It's been one week since you looked at me... Oskee #3

It's been one week since you looked at me,
Cocked your head to the side probably thinking I'm crazy.

When you have an intelligent dog, they tend to develop human characteristics. For Oskee, that meant cocking her head to the side when we spoke to her - as if she was listening and comprehending what we were saying. In fact, she probably thought we were crazy the way we doted on her. I mean, I've seen pets pampered, but Oskee - she was queen of the house. She ruled the roost. What Oskee needed, Oskee got. Those of you who knew her well knew this to be true.

But cocking her head wasn't her only seemingly human characteristic. Oskee had this crazy habit of seemingly
being able to sympathize with what was happening in our lives. If I was sad, she tried to nudge my arm as if to say, "play with me, let me cheer you up." If I was stressed, she paced and panted. If I sneezed, she cowered as if she was nervous about my health. But possibly the most impressive thing was the way Oskee got extremely protective of Brandi the first time, in particular, that she got pregnant. Oskee went from my sidekick, to sticking close to Brandi - as if Oskee understood that whatever was happening to Brandi, Brandi needed protection. And of course, Oskee's need to protect us and her understanding of feelings led her to lay obediently near Ami's bassinet whenever company was over and we lived in the city, and to often lay at the foot of Nadav's crib when we moved to Northbrook. Whichever baby was around, Oskee had the need to snuggle and comfort and protect. In the early days, I often napped with a baby in one hand and an Oskee head on the opposite side of my lap. Yes, we doted over her like crazy, but she also loved us to pieces.

It's been one week since you looked at me,
Cocked your head to the side and said, "I'm sorry"

Well, Oskee never really said she was sorry, but if I am honest, I think that she knew it was near the end. The few weeks before we lost her, she would frequently saunter up to me and simply stare into my face, coming close. I sensed a sadness. I guess I never believed she would actually leave us, but the truth is, I think we both knew it was coming and she often came to me, sadly, and seemed to say she was sorry she was leaving me, leaving us.

It's been one week since I looked at her...

I've been holding it together pretty well at work. I made it through the hellishly busy past few days. I was observed by my boss, and I can say that for the first time ever, I wasn't nervous. Usually, I am a basket of nerves before being observed, but this time, I just wasn't. I've been numb. I won't say I didn't care...but I have been pretty much just going through the paces of life without much care. I'm faking it well...for work and for the kids, but Brandi knows I'm still devastated. We cried ourselves to sleep last night after Brandi remarked that we might have to move because the house isn't the same anymore and because the memories are too hard. We assume it'll get easier, but I still don't know if I'll ever be the same.

It's been one week since I held her tight and watched the life drain from her eyes...

I have a lot of memories I still want to record, but those memories are for another post because right now, it's been one week since we lost our Oskee and I'm still crushed, I'm still crying, and I can't write much more.

Oskee, I miss you so much and love you so much. I hope you are somewhere running and chasing your Oskee-ball, pain free and happy. At least that's what I'm trying to picture....

Friday, November 10, 2017

Only the Beginning... Oskee #2

There's a music lyric for everything.  Of course, in this case, when Robert Lamm wrote these lyrics for the band Chicago, he was writing about the beginning of a beautiful relationship. This morning, all I could think about was the end of one. Isn't it ironic? Ok, I'll stop, but not really.

So I'm exposed - I pretty much live my life by quotes from two sources: Music Lyrics and Quotes from Richard Bach. My family will tell you, that when we flip around the radio from station to station playing REAL music, not most of the crap from the last few decades, it takes a nanosecond for me to start singing. In the realm of useless knowledge, I'm a lyric savant.

But that's not why we're here. I'm here to ponder the last 12 or so hours - these were the quietest hours I have spent in quite some time. There's nothing like the absence of the pitter-patter of dog nails on a wood floor to make the world feel hollow. And there's nothing quite like the feeling of coming home from euthanizing your dog to find the Amazon box with the auto-reorder of your dogs treats - her favorite treats that'll never be eaten by her.

Dead inside. That's the feeling I had when I woke this morning. There were snowflakes. Oskee loved the snow. If the sky was cryin' for Oskee, I suppose snow stack of pills, no Alon telling Oskee "no" when she tried to sneak a bit of his waffle or pancake. Silence. Dead.

And it's only the beginning...

Somehow, Brandi and I dragged ourselves to work. As you can see, I'm about as useful here as a stone. The assessments are piling up, and I can't bring myself to look at them. I am being evaluated next week by my boss, and I am starting a new unit - and I have no idea what dog and pony show I'm going to put on for him to justify my competence. We have 2 large literacy committee meetings next week, my passion of the last 5 years, and I cannot imagine standing in front of a group of colleagues right now. I mean, I nearly lost it within 5 minutes of the start of 1st period today.

And it's only the beginning...

In a few hours, I'm leaving with Ami for a soccer tournament in Memphis. We are driving 8+ hours for 3 or 4 soccer games. Last week, I was so excited to share precious moments with my son. Now I dread the silence of the car. At 11, he is quite aware for his age. He watched Nadav (8) for 2 hours or so while we were at the vet. We called to ask if they wanted to be at the vet to say a final goodbye, but they said they already did their goodbyes in the morning.  And when we got home after picking Alon up from daycare, we found that our two eldest boys had made us dinner. It was pasta......and they ended up eating it, but it was the gesture. It was the idea that they knew what pain we were in.  It was the worry they had because I hadn't eaten in 24 hours at that point. And with a weekend ahead of us, I have no confidence that I can be strong for my son - or at least as strong as he was for me last night.

And it's only the beginning...

I can't get the images out of my head. I can't help feeling guilty for what we did - even though the vet said it was time and that she was in pain. But it's the image - holding her for the last time, seeing her lying there for the last's only the beginning and I don't know if the pain will ever go away and if I'll ever be whole again.

For now, I'm dead inside. The house is absent of the pitter-patter. No walks, no playing, no snuggles, no wagging tail.

And it's only the beginning...

And old habits die hard - I can't count the times that Brandi and I looked towards Oskee's couch last night to see what she was up to only to end up feeling dead inside. I awoke at 1am, per usual, but there was no one to let out to pee.

And today, I woke up and it was snowing. Maybe the sky was crying snowflakes which would have been appropriate because for most of her life, Oskee hated the rain. But there was to be no walk, no Oskee chasing me to pull the glove (monster) off my hand, no Alon asking to give Oskee treats after her pills, no Alon telling Oskee "no" as she tried to sneak a bite of his waffle. The sky is crying, and so is Oskee's family, and it hurts like hell.

And it's only the beginning...

I know you're out there. I know you've reached out. Like I said, I can't respond. My eyes hurt too much. I have no words. But yes, Pink, there is somebody out there. I appreciate it and love you all. So many of you loved Oskee and have your own stories and memories, and I know she loved so many of you.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

You Make A Grown Man Cry - Oskee #1

No joke. I got in the car this morning to drive one of the boys to a friend's house, taking a few minutes out of the few precious moments I may have had left together with Oskee, and the song playing when I turned on the car: The Rolling Stones' "You Make a Grown Man Cry." And yeah, that's pretty much true...because Oskee has made me cry...multiple many of you know.

And so here I sit, once again, watching you and crying. And this time, I'm thinking it's real.

Look, I'll be honest: I am writing this for many, pretty selfish, reasons:
1) I don't think I can sit and talk about this over and over with people - even my friends. No offense. I'm a good listener (I think), but I'm not really good at sharing - especially something like this. I'm much better off alone, in the fetal position, in the dark.
2) I feel like I'm better at expressing my feelings in writing. This may or may not be true, but see #1.
3) I am getting old, and though I don't think I'll forget, I want to remember all of the details - and access them easily.

I am not writing this for sympathy. I know that if you're reading this, you care.

But if you're reading this, Oskee is gone. I would be a fool to publish this, only to have to issue a retraction. After all, if you've known Oskee, you know that she's had about 17 lives. When we've thought we were losing her before, she refused to give up. Even as I write this, I am not sure I believe the vet will tell us that she's in pain, that she's beyond saving, that it's time. I mean, SEVENTEEN lives. But she is gone, we are at a loss, and she is hopefully in a better place - running and chasing rabbits like she did in her youth.

And here I sit crying, and thinking about all of the other times I've cried. And I feel like an idiot because I'm crying over a dog - and in this world today, people have real problems. And so many of you are rightly agreeing with me and think I'm ridiculous for crying over a dog. I get it. I'm an idiot, it's embarrassing, and I'm acting like a baby.

But it's also painful. So very painful, and you also understand this if you really know me and you really know Oskee. Because you know that she is my best friend (besides my wife and my siblings). That day we went to the shelter down on Western, and we took her outside to the playpen, and she came right to me when I called "Oskee," she had our heart. She was smart, and she could sit, and she could give paw, and she knew she liked the Illini...and not some stupid name like Xena that the shelter people gave her. So we took her home - after a 2nd special interview because she had been abused and an extra day for the usual procedures and shots.

And while Brandi was off in the business world 4-5 nights a week before she became a teacher (when I thought we'd be rich), it was me and Oskee alone all of those nights in the condo down on Ashland. Me and Oskee playing "Oskee Ball" between the buildings for an hour each night after work. Me and Oskee on the couch while I graded papers at night (and yes, I allowed her on the couch the first time when we had agreed that she wouldn't be a couch dog - I mean, how could I resist my daddy's girl.

Yes, that's how she came into our lives. Before Ami, before Nadav, before Alon - there was Oskee. She was our first baby. The one that taught us responsibility: we can't go to happy hour, we have to get back to walk the dog; we can't just stay overnight, we have to take care of the dog; we'd love to spend the day in the suburbs, but can we bring our dog? The one that watched over all 3 of our boys when they were infants, so gentle and curious and protective.

And this is how she is leaving us - suddenly unable to stay totally balanced last night, a few falls - unable to get back up, unwilling to relax or lay down - seeming fighting to stay with us one more moment. And here I sit, just watching her, blubbering my eyes out, unable to imagine what life is going to be like tonight, tomorrow, the next day. Not sure how I'm going to ease the pain. Not sure what to do with myself. Not sure how to stay strong for my awesome wife and amazing kids.

So many memories I'm probably going to write about when I can't sleep over the next days, weeks, months - but I probably won't publish on FB as I realize most won't really want to read through my depression - I get it. They're mostly for me and Brandi - and maybe for the kids one day. For Alon who loves Oskee but won't remember. For Nadav and Ami who have only known life with her and went to bed last night crying. And for Brandi and me, whose lives have been so enriched by the presence of one sweet, simple, loving being, that we cannot even imagine what tomorrow will bring.

If you're still here, I know you care. I may not be able to talk about it, and I may not respond to messages/emails for awhile, but I know you're there and you care. And I know you'll understand that my heart is absolutely shattered - and I'm not sure it'll ever, ever be fully repaired.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A New Dawn - Post U.S. Election 2016

 "I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying."
                                                                            -Andy Dufresne Shawshank Redemption

It's been awhile since I last blogged, and I suppose there's no time like the present in light of yesterday's election. I went to bed last night and woke this morning to despair. Despair in most of my Facebook feed, despair in many of the faces of my students, despair in the faces of many of my colleagues. And I guess, in light of the results of the U.S. election and the anointing of Donald Trump as president -elect, I fully understand.

But I woke up this morning with a different mindset, one I've seen slowly evolving on social media, one that I knew some of my friends who are our brightest spiritual & intellectual guides (you know who you are) would take: The real work begins now. This is the message that I discussed with my 9th and 10th grade classes this morning, and this is the message that I'd like to remember this year, next year, and into the next election cycle. The REAL work begins now.

As many know, this election cycle has been ugly, and maybe that's an understatement. I've tried to cope with it by joking about it in my own sarcastic way because in full disclosure, I found faults in both major party candidates - faults that made it hard for me to support or vote for either. But that election is over; it's water under the bridge at this point. And now we look in the mirror and ask ourselves: how did we get here?  And the answer is that this is bigger than Trump or Clinton. No matter who came out on top yesterday, the issues would remain. This is about our country's morals and values, it's about uncovering serious issues that have been festering in our country for centuries, for decades, for years. It is about thinking critically about the last year, and yesterday, and getting to work to make this place a better tomorrow for ourselves, for our children, and for their children.

To me, this is not scary; this is exciting and empowering. To me, this election brought serious issues to the forefront and we can no longer ignore them. To me, this gave me an opportunity to stress the morals and values we explore in my classroom - and encourage the kids to examine the past year and think about how they are going to effect positive change in the world. We looked at the electoral map for a bit and thought critically about what it told us (civic/digital literacy anyone??). We made a list, and we talked about action. We are bigger than one man or woman in the White House.

What are the issues we identified together in our brief time? Economic disparity, racism, sexism, educational equity, compassion, immigration, education on diversity for folks outside major city populations, etc. And coincidentally, we are going to follow up today's conversation with reading The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore, and using the book as a Call to Action - what does our world need and what are we going to do about it?

I get it. People are upset. I hear you. Please know, it is okay to lament and to grieve in your own way; however,
when you are done, please join me in spreading the empowering message that this election is a Call to Action. Let's work together to make this country and world even better than the place it already is by examining our issues and developing compassion and understanding. This is the message I will teach to my children. This is the message I discussed with my students. And this is the message I share with you.
all the events of your life are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you. Richard Bach
Read more at:
all the events of your life are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you.
Read more at:

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the master calls a butterfly.” 

"All the events in your life are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you"
                                                                                   -from Illusions by Richard Bach

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A Letter to Our Son, Alon Emet

Hi's been awhile!

On January 17th, our 3rd son was born. As we have done for each of our boys, my wife and I wrote a letter to him welcoming him to the world and explaining his name for his bris on the 8th day of his life. Even though Alon was unable to get a traditional bris due to a minor medical issue, we still held a baby naming for him. Since some have asked us about the meaning of his name and why we chose it, I am posting excerpts of the letter we wrote for him explaining our choice & because we hope that his name will be an honor and inspiration for us all.

Dear Alon Emet:

Just a little over one week ago on January 17th, 2016 at 3:30am, you came into this world and changed our lives forever. As soon as we recovered our sleep a bit from your desire to arrive in the middle of the night, we spent all of our waking hours getting to know you and watching closely as you grow, change, and develop your itty bitty personality. Even though this isn’t a traditional bris, we still felt it important to share this special occasion, giving you your name and telling its story, with our family and friends. After all, the people here today, physically and in spirit around the country and world, are among the most important people in our family’s lives, and we cannot wait for you to join this community...
The love for the Illini and Israel first brought your mother and me together. And these 2 things remain central in our lives, so much so, that they have influenced your name as they influenced your brothers’ names before you. Many people in this room know how much we struggled with finding your name. In our Ashkenazi Jewish tradition, babies are named after relatives or someone important that has died. And while your brothers are named after great grandparents who we know watch down on us to this day, we are blessed that our family has not experienced any recent losses to provide guidance for your name. So with freedom to literally name you anything, we struggled...for over 9 months. There’s a lot of pressure to pick a child’s name - it actually says in the spiritual Kabbalah that a person’s soul has a deep connection to their name, and like your brothers' names mean so much, we wanted to find a deep meaning and connection for you.  

Not only did our name search involve a ton of time scouring the Internet, but we asked so many people for ideas and advice. Pretty soon we had a list of well over 30 ideas. One idea, that didn’t make the final cut was Katom or Tapuz (Meaning Orange). If trendy folks can name their kids Rain or River or Apple, why couldn’t we name you Katomi or Tapuzi? After all, Orange is Hot! Even though we decided not to go with these names, don’t be surprised if they end up being one of your nicknames!

A couple of months ago we asked Ami and Nadav, your brothers, for naming help.  Some of their ideas were: Porkchop, Steak, Ben Ami, and Big Belly.  We are sure you’ll be happy that we didn’t choose any of those.  However, your oldest brother, Ami, told us one day that he liked the name Emet.  We loved the idea of having your brother as part of the naming process, and it felt right to have Emet as your middle name. Emet means truth. The concept of truth has been explored and debated since the days of the earliest philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle - and we hope that you embody the ideals of logic, wisdom, justice, and truth as you journey through life. So by choosing your meaningful middle name, Ami has ensured that you are deeply connected to our family tree.

And finally, we want to share with you the deep truth behind our choice for your first name - Alon.
The literal meaning of Alon in Hebrew is an oak tree.  Oaks are big and strong, and so some associate those characteristics with the name Alon. Also, a tree represents life, and we hope you grow up to have deep roots in your community and family; we hope you grow to have strong branches to lend a helping hand and give of yourself; and we hope that you grow fruitful and provide for your own family one day.

All of those characteristics of Oak and Tree are important, and Alon was already on our possible name list, but the idea of the name, Alon, became even more meaningful to us in early January. As you will learn, Israel and Judaism are important to us and your family. Unfortunately, since this past summer, Israel has been facing an unprecedented string of months with near daily terror attacks. On January 1st, a terrorist opened fire in the streets of Tel-Aviv, where we were just this past summer as a family, taking the lives of two people. One of those young men, a former Golani Soldier, was 26 year-old Alon Bakal. But we didn’t choose the name Alon to dwell on the negative. Instead, we were inspired to choose the name after reading a piece in The Times of Israel by David Eastman who encouraged us to learn from this event that life is precious and life should be cherished every day. Borrowing Eastman’s idea in honor of Alon Bakal, we chose the name Alon for you to remind us, and hopefully inspire all those here that are celebrating with us and all those that get to know you, that every day we should:
  • Appreciate all of the events in our lives
  • Tell every member of our family how much we love and cherish them
  • Relish every moment and opportunity we share with our friends
  • Be kind to everyone, even the strangers we meet on the street
  • Remember to never go to bed angry
  • Love nature and its beauty
  • Be willing to try new things
  • Work towards a better world for all races, religions, and colors
And finally, we hope that you, Alon Emet, will live a beautiful life and remind us all to embrace and live the mantra inspired by Alon Bakal’s final text to his father: “I am having a good time. I love life.”

In all of these ways, through your name you are connected to your family, to our love of the Illini, to our love for Israel, and to our love for life. We hope that your name is inspirational to you and a light among our community.

Welcome to our world and family!

With love,
Ema v’ Abba

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Israel - July 2015 Post #4: Time to Get Political

Today, Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of the now (should be) disbanded Palestinian Authority, declared to a standing ovation at the United Nations General Assembly that the PA will no longer abide by the 1993 Oslo Accords - the same accords that essentially led to the legitimacy of the PA. Those that read Abbas' speech and/or articles about it will likely have strong opinions on the finger-pointing and content. My guess is that we will see more finger-pointing from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tomorrow when he speaks to the UNGA. However, surprising to some (all?), I will leave the analysis and opinions about the content to others right now.

The hard truth is that it takes two to make peace, and it takes two to engage in violence. The harder truth is that both sides in this conflict are accountable and need to step up and accept that accountability. Maybe the hardest truth at this point is that after decades of conflict, it is pretty clear that the Israelis and Palestinians do not like each, cannot get along, and will likely not close that gap anytime soon. And so the political process as we know it, including the now officially canceled Oslo Accords and understandings created since 1993, should be considered a dead end.

In 1987, as a junior in high school, I wrote my big high school research paper arguing the fact that the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict would never end. But Oslo, at the time, even gave me hope. But now, the thought that the process Rabin started over two decades ago, the process that so many held with such hope and promise, is dead is a sad reality Israelis, Palestinians, and the world must face. We probably should have faced it long ago (and some did), but Abbas' speech today and I am assuming, Netanyahu's speech tomorrow, will put the proverbial nails in the coffin.

That's not to say that there is no hope. There HAS to be hope. Despite how both sides may feel about the extreme elements within the other, the fact is that the majority of the common, decent people are suffering. Make no mistake, human-beings are caught in the cross-fire, and the humanitarianism in us all must reawaken and recommit to finding a way out of the mess.

This past summer, sitting on a rooftop in Jaffa, listening to the rush of the waters and the sleeping city, I discussed an idea that should be looked at as a potential seedling, a potential starting point. As was explained to me, to this point over all of these years, the world has expected two sworn enemies to eventually become peaceful neighbors.
The peace process has been predicated on Reconciliation followed by Resolution. Since 1993, the world assumed that Oslo would spark such reconciliation. The handshake on the lawn between Prime Minister Rabin and Yassir Arafat gave us hope that such reconciliation would one day occur. But again, today that dream has died.

It is time to try again. And maybe this time, we have to look at the process in reverse. Maybe this time, instead of Reconciliation leading to Resolution, the equation should be flipped. What would happen if the world mediated a reasonable compromise and imposed Resolution, hoping that one day, maybe after decades of disengagement, Reconciliation would come.

Yes. I realize that that is easier said than done. In order to come to an equitable Resolution, both sides would have to compromise on elements never compromised before - land, resources, Right of Return, border security (especially along the Jordanian border), and others. I also realize that to achieve such a Resolution, there will be many angered on both sides of the conflict. Then again, when we look closer - who will really be angry at a reasonable, equitable resolution? A. The Settlers; B. The Terrorists. Yes, that is simplifying things, but those are the majorities that would be seriously angered. Others may pissed, but they would likely adapt.

Truth be told, I am not a huge fan of others imposing their will on Israel. In fact, I have never been a huge proponent of giving up parts of Judea/Samaria and Jerusalem. Those that know me, know that I am staunchly pro-Israel, but even I can evolve. Even folks like me must take a step back and consider that the old way just is not working. That being said, maybe it is time to concede and think outside the box. Maybe it is time to appoint a Peace Commission tasked with arbitrating an equitable solution that is binding. And maybe, that resolution will lead to reconciliation decades down the road.

Gotta have hope...

Thanks, Didi.