Leap of faith: why we need our heart of many rooms

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Leap of faith: why we need our heart of many rooms

We need Jewish spaces to mourn our dead

After a month of trauma, loss and being forced to confront our own vulnerability in the most bracing of ways, the Jewish people are tired. When there is so much pain and anguish and hurt beyond anything anyone should have to comprehend, what we need more than anything is the reassuring safety of allyship, to know that someone is with us and holding us. There’s a deep human need to know someone is sympathetic to your pain, and isn’t going to take up the cause of the person who hurt you.

And yet in the outside world it feels like there’s a chorus of suffering fighting for oxygen, as if there is not enough space for everyone’s pain. In some parts of our social discourse the case seems to be that recognizing one person’s humanity requires the denial of another’s. Having to host video screenings to prove how much people suffered, or parade the faces of the kidnapped, is part of a race to the bottom. It’s a sick game that some would have us play, and only the angel of death wins in such a morbid competition.

In these weeks I’ve been drawn to the wisdom of our sages in the Tosefta, who instruct that a person should make for themselves ‘a heart of many rooms’. It’s a text that allows me to articulate the importance of different spaces to hold different and complex feelings. Our hearts and our humanity are capacious enough to resist this downward spiral.

Rather than holding lives in competition, resisting the binary set by those who perpetrate violence, we must model a kind of compassion that feels sorely lacking in the world. That compassion is one that is expansive, that refuses to declare someone’s humanity as less important. The terms of our reaction cannot be set by those who can callously and violently destroy human life.

When we are grieved because someone cannot mourn those we have loved and lost, we retain our sense of self by finding the ability to grieve in a way that they are not able to, rather than reinforcing a cycle of uncaring.

In our heart of many rooms we need Jewish spaces to mourn our dead, and we need others to mourn with us. At the same time our mourning is not threatened or compromised by joining others in grieving those who they have lost too – innocent civilians caught in deadly crossfire. It’s how we find and build the bridges that will carry us out of this spiritually and morally whole.


Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: