ZEH TZEVAH SHELI
For a nation known by its colors, blue and white brings unity
The tension is still in the air, the tragedy on our minds, the pain still fresh. Every one of us is looking to make a difference — through hasbara, campaigns, fundraising efforts — for our people, our soldiers, our country in need. We are all searching for ways to break through the agony of war forced upon us and our fears of the unknown future.
In a unique effort to build unity and pride in this difficult time, The Israel Forever Foundation has launched the Blue and White Unity campaign as a way to honor the shloshim, the 30th day of mourning, since the Simchat Torah massacre carried out by Hamas on Oct. 7. Beginning on Sunday, Nov. 5, communities, families, groups and organizations will show their solidarity by wearing Israel’s national colors however and whenever possible, creating a wave of national unity that defies the divisions and distance between us.
Shlomo Abrams, a young soldier from Yad Binyamin, came up with this simple concept when he attended Shabbat services in his community after a long 10 days in miluim (reserve duty). Surrounded by white and blue shirts as the community joined together in prayers for peace and strength, he was inspired by the idea that others in Israel and around the world could feel this same comfort that our ancestral national colors can give us. Abrams believes that “the Jewish Nation is rediscovering the most fundamental reality of our peoplehood: that we are one big family. We need to express this unity in a way that everyone can be involved in.”
Just wearing blue and white may seem meaningless, but this small act is a silent testament to the vibrant spirit of the Jewish people and the colors that have always been a part of our cultural and historical identity: from our tallitot and tzitzit, to our synagogues and community brands, to the flags hanging in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and throughout the land of Zion. Wearing blue and white is also something people can do if they are wary of going to rallies or raising an Israeli flag in public that will still help them feel the pride of our blue and white strength that has carried us through the generations.
Adopted by communities and groups across the globe as a way of demonstrating the collective commitment to memorializing the murdered and building unity throughout the Jewish world, this campaign encourages people to use a simple act as a way to reduce the divisions, fears and feelings of helplessness during this tenuous time. Whether gathering in public or private, singing songs, prayers or doing mitzvot together, the Blue and White Unity campaign will translate into a movement of collective pride.
What kind of impact can this have in a world where we are battling to protect Israel’s truth and the rights of Israel’s citizens? Those who wear their blue and white to work or out and about in their daily lives will feel that pride alive within them. They will feel they are part of the global community of virtual citizens of Israel who see themselves as an extension of the historical legacy and destiny of the Jewish people. And when they see someone else in blue and white, they will feel their hearts lifted by the shared connection. They might even start a conversation and make a new friend — building Jewish unity one interaction at a time. And if people go out and do a mitzvah — serving our community, helping the elderly or youth, or any small act of kindness — those national colors will flow with the goodness that we, the Jewish people, bring to the world through our love for one another.
Individuals, communities and organizations of all faiths, backgrounds and locations are encouraged to participate in the campaign by submitting their blue and white photos to be shared across social media with their personal statements of pride or solidarity. By sharing these messages, we can arouse the interest of those who are inspired by the simplicity of an idea that has none of the politics but all of the pride. The project will continue until the release of the civilian hostages illegally held by the terrorist regime and the end of the siege against Jewish rights.
If Hamas thought they could destroy our resolve, they have totally failed, for we stand proudly in blue and white, as one, forever. Let us grow Blue and White Unity to strengthen our connection beyond the issues and distance that divides us.
To submit your photos or for more information, visit bluewhiteunity.com.
Elana Heideman is the executive director of Israel Forever, an apolitical American nonprofit that is committed to strengthening Jewish identity, peoplehood empowerment and the unity of the Jewish nation.