News of anti-Semitism is bleak.  But, amid the despair, there are rays of hope.  Four recent stories are miraculous and should be celebrated.

Although we usually associate Shi'ite clerics in Lebanon with the terror group Hezbollah, a Beirut-based cleric is spreading messages of peace and nonviolence in Hebrew on social media.  Scholar Muhammad Ali Al-Husseini writes “We call on rabbis, priests and Muslim clerics — both Sunni and Shia — to underplay religious traditions and texts that call for violence, since they are more dangerous than nuclear weapons…. These texts religiously sanction acts of violence and murder. Obviously, these are texts that were implemented in specific, limited situations; they cannot necessarily be applied to our time, since every situation has its own unique circumstance.”

Bassem Eid is the founder and former director of the Jerusalem-based Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group (PHRMG). He is an advocate for peace with Israel, and a critic of terrorism. He writes “I am a proud Palestinian who grew up in a refugee camp and raised a large family. I want peace and prosperity for my people. I want an end to the misery and the destruction….After 66 years of mistakes and missed opportunities, it is time for us Palestinians to create the conditions for peace and to work for a better future. It is time that we stopped pretending that we can destroy Israel or drive the Jews into the sea. It is time that we stopped listening to Muslim radicals or Arab regimes that use us to continue a pointless, destructive, and immoral war with Israel."

Norwegian Muslims forming a human shield around an Oslo synagogue write “
Islam is about protecting our brothers and sisters, regardless of which religion they belong to. Islam is about rising above hate and never sinking to the same level as the haters. Islam is about defending each other. Muslims want to show that we deeply deplore all types of hatred of Jews, and that we are there to support them. We will therefore create a human ring around the synagogue…”

European Muslims are taking photos at synagogues and posting photos on social media, declaring themselves guardians of believers and their houses of worship.  I
n  a #IGoToSynagogue Twitter campaign they write "…because Judaism is lived in family and community, at synagogues and community centers…The events of recent months worldwide shake us, and the last few years rocked us. It must stop that ideologies and extremisms on the back of peaceful believers and their houses are held… We are all affected, there are no groups.”
I know of a little boy that was abandoned by his mother and lost as a shepherd and who eventually freed thousands of slaves out of Egypt to become a great people. The history of the Jews is about the survival of a small candle that overcomes huge darkness.  I remain eternally optimistic that the road to change starts with one brave person. 

Trash your pessimism, strap down your cynicism, put up the sails of optimism, for God’s The Captain!

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