Today is thirty-five days, which is five weeks of the Omer in the year 5780. שכינה שבהוד, Shechinah ShebeHod, Indwelling of Splendor.
My meditation last year brings me comfort as I try to wrap my head around the tragic loss of my beloved history professor, Dr. Bob Levy.
Bob Levy: Passionate Lover of the Jewish People
No one has ever lived who loved the Jewish people as fiercely as Dr Bob Levy. I have never experienced anyone as passionate in his lectures. His whole body became enflamed with outrage every week, with every catastrophe and slight he had to explain to us. Every expulsion and mass murder of Jews for being Jews. Every new iteration of Jew hatred and Judeophobia. And how we kept rising. When they murdered our babies, stole our sons for their army, forced us to choose death or conversion, somehow, we survived.
Bob Levy: Progressive Defender of Zionism
Nowadays people mock Zionism and claim we can’t possibly be connected to our land because at one point Zionists wanted to move Jews to Africa. Bob mourned that it never came to fruition. Accepting space in Africa meant moving Jews en masse out of Europe. For people feared more killing would occur. Imagine if we left before the Shoah. That is why Bob mourned it so much. And he had such pathos for Herzl. In his lecture about the Uganda Affair, he described it thus:
Herzl was focused on Rescuing European Jewry – not gradually over decades, as his practical and cultural Zionist opponents wanted, but immediately. This desire for immediate refuge, took him to accept the British offer of part of Uganda (now Kenya). “The Uganda Affair” was so scathing that the stress has been surmised to have killed him. The controversy’s resolution was laden with dire and tragic consequences for the Zionist movement itself.My lecture notes, December 8, 2019. Dr. Bob Levy speaking on “Autoemancipation, Jewish Socialism, and Early Zionism”
I fear that the weight of physical distancing, compounded with underlying health problems, was too much for Bob. Our great lover of the Jewish people was crushed by the inability to be with us. Yet he leaves behind countless students and colleagues who learned so much from him.
Divine Mother spread Your Wings of Splendor over us
Remind us that though we cannot hug one another, nor wail together over this incalculable loss, we are all together spiritually. May Bob’s students and his student’s students and their students live for a thousand generations. Let us all feel in our bones the deep connections of the Jewish people. For we must proudly support one another. And may some of us carry on his progressive political perspective.
Baruch Dayan HaEmet
5 Weeks Before this Dark Cloud
Some books Bob loved
The photo on this post was taken at the beach in Tel Aviv by Richard van Liessum via Pixabay. May we all be as passionate as Bob was about Am Yisrael and Medinat Yisrael. (The people of Israel and the state of Israel.)