Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers considers how we can respond to the riots and looting which have taken place in London and in cities across the country in the last few days.
There is something surreal about waking up yet again to reports of rioting in London. Rioting which essentially consists of damaging property and looting. As my brother joked on Facebook yesterday, in the middle east they are protesting and rioting for their freedom, here there are riots for flat screen TVs and trainers.
And there are plenty of reasons protests (perhaps not riots!) might be sparked; unemployment, social inequality, social deprivation, services being slashed – none of which have quick fixes, but all of which are a serious reality we have to face up to. But as this brave woman points out (note that the video contains strong language), these actions make no sense as they are destroying communities and have no cause.
Ultimately my Jewish response is to wonder what help and support victims of these riots might need. Can we help with the clean up? (perhaps follow @riotcleanup on Twitter for ideas of where ed-trio.com help is needed) Is there support we can offer to people, especially the elderly, too scared to go out? On Tisha B’Av, when we remember so much human destruction, perhaps the best thing we can do is to help clean up and repair a little corner of London, if we are able to.
Indeed watching communities come together to face the clean up and support each other brings a little hope in the light of morning after the dark nights we have seen. In the longer term bigger things need healing and repairing, and we must pay attention to these too. Healing takes time and we mustn’t give up on it just because it is slow, and we must all, whatever community we are from, pay attention to making sure it happens and is not forgotten. Healing for all, not some, must be the hope for London and the world, as we continue to strive for tikkun olam – repair of our broken world.