"I was as enmeshed in Jewish institutional ignorance as a Jewish kid could possibly be. At every opportunity, I was taught that the occupation (never referred to as such) was a necessary, just, righteous truth-by-default that would protect our people because, who else would? We believed, sincerely, with our whole hearts, that if the occupation was truly unjustifiable, Jews would not do it. Not because we were morally superior, but because our own suffering guided our leaders to protect us at any cost - and there WAS no cost when it came to preserving Jewish life. There were no voices of dissent, or even beginning questioning, because to us, (and to me at the time), the face of the oppressor could not possibly be someone who spoke our ancient, sacred language, the face of the oppressor could not possibly be someone who might wrap tefillin, or keep shabbat. IT JUST COULDN'T BE. We thought, "these two truths are incongruous, so they must be a lie that antisemites tell us." We could not disentangle Jews (and Judaism) from the violence in front of us." -Ramah Darom, Solomon Schechter, USY, Nativ alumn