Story

Global Jewish Perspectives on the War in Israel

Part 1: Ceen Gabbai

Ceen Gabbai

In the heart of New York, far from the deserts of Iraq where I was born, I find myself haunted by a fear I thought I had left behind.

I am a Jewish parent and an Iraqi immigrant. Nowadays, my heart is heavy with a sorrow that spans continents and generations. As I watch the news, the images from Israel look like scenes from a nightmare that I can’t wake up from.

I see friends and colleagues, people who I thought knew me, suddenly cast me and my people as the villains in a story we never wanted to be a part of. But what cuts deepest is how this affects my daughter. She’s just six. Her world should be filled with the joys of childhood, not the fears of persecution. She whispers to me about being Jewish, as if it’s a secret that might summon danger. She should be learning about the beauty of her heritage, not the hatred it can provoke.

But amidst this sea of misunderstanding and hate, I cling to hope. Hope that one day, my daughter can speak her truth without fear, that she can embrace her heritage with pride, not whispers. We are a resilient people, shaped by centuries of survival against the odds. We have faced darkness before and emerged into the light. So, as I share my story, I do so with a plea for understanding, for compassion, for a moment of reflection. Let’s look beyond the headlines and see the human stories, the shared fears, and the collective hopes for a world where being different isn’t a reason for conflict, but a cause for celebration.

 

Click here for Part 2: David Serrero

Click here for Part 3: Amy Albertson

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