Shabbat Shalom: Love your neighbor

May 9, 2024 | Article

By: Bethany Friedlander
PJ Library Manager

This past Sunday we came together as a community in support of Israel and its’ people. Am Yisrael Chai: A JEWISHcolorado Celebrate Event was a special and meaningful time to be a community, supporting one another, welcoming back past shlichim, dancing to Israeli music, playing with friends, and gathering with our partnering organizations in solidarity.

It felt good to be without protesters, without danger, without having to monitor our speech and actions. It was a relief to find a moment to not be in contention and ready for battle. This was a day about singing, hugging, sharing, and celebrating our unity.

I went to bed tired and satisfied only to be woken up throughout the night to loud wind gusts and the feeling that things were crashing all around me. I woke up to a toppled-over fence and a very confused dog standing there wondering what he should do.

I mentioned this broken fence to some colleagues and friends and they were concerned about the confrontation of dealing with neighbors, annoyance of dealing with the rebuilding and cost, and of course concern for the little dog. Yes, it’s a bit annoying and yes, the dog was a little bummed to not get the full run of the yard, but the process of conversation and clean-up was powerful as well.

We read this week in Kedoshim: “Veahavta lere-echa kamocah – Love your neighbor as yourself.” We let our neighbors who share that fence with us know what had happened. The ease of our conversation got us to act quickly, going outside to survey the damage, finding a fencing company, and offering to split the costs.

This same neighbor came over not long after October 7 with fresh baked goodies letting us know she is “rooting for us” and standing by our side and thinking about us all the time. She wanted us to know that there is no place for the hatred she is seeing – that we are their friends, neighbors, and community members who are loved and respected.

We stood proudly on Sunday singing the National Anthem and Hatikva with a group of people that had like-minded support for Israel. But there were many who were not there.

Let us continue to engage our neighbors, treat them as we would want to be treated, and have the dialogue we need with those not physically standing with us on Sunday.

This is not an easy task when so often we are faced with lies and hatred far beyond anything we have experienced previously. Not all neighbors share a fence repair job as we are lucky enough to be able to, but if we put up fences and think that the wind will never blow things down, we are very mistaken. We must look to create relationships with those willing to have dialogue so that when it is time to repair, we are in it together.

“Love your neighbor as yourself” – The winds are blowing strong. Check your fences, peak over them, wave, and see what happens next.

Please email Bethany Friedlander at with questions or comments.