Of Dead Cricketers and Dead Shul-goers

By 30 November, 2014Personal Blog

The national outpouring of grief following the tragic death of cricketer Phil Hughes after being struck by a cricket ball on the field has been quite overwhelming. Every day there have been several pages in the daily newspapers as cricketers around the country and the world deal with the tragedy. A huge campaign of people putting their cricket bats out as a public expression of grief – it was even featured on the Google search page, and has spread as a viral social media campaign dubbed #putOutYourBats.

We left a cricket bat outside our house, and noticed several others on the way to shul. In shul, it was the topic of discussion (far more important than the state election), and a friend mentioned that his young son would be wearing a black arm-band when he played junior cricket today (Sunday).

He posed a very good question: why didn’t the global Jewish community unite in public expressions of grief following the brutal attack against shul-goers in Har Nof? Why didn’t we all tweet and instagram #putOutYourTalit to remember those innocents who were murdered while praying in talit and tefillin?

He’s absolutely right. Our grief response is more often than not to condemn the world media response to a terrorist attack. That is anger, and a very natural response. And even those responses lead to vigorous internal debate on the peace process and what Israel should or should not do. But we can do better. We can use social media to bring the Jewish world together in positive and very visible expressions of our feelings. Where was the campaign to encourage people to attend morning prayers in shul? Or to say an extra chapter of tehillim?

We have little control over the actions of governments, terrorists, and global media organisations. We do have control over how we respond. Channelling our responses to positive things is a far more productive and fulfilling thing to do.

For more of David’s writing about this topic, see here.

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