The Next War

Rabbi Misha Shulman
4 min readFeb 25, 2022
2003 Protest against the Iraq War

Other than the very real concerns of people with loved ones in Ukraine, and the dread we are experiencing for what is happening and what this may bring, this war has made me question whether our children are growing up with the proper disdain for, and hatred of war. This question points to how blessed they have been, but it also makes me wonder how this generation would react if faced with the prospect of war. So today I write a note to children on the topic of war.

Dear young friends,

I was a soldier in the Israeli army, so I can’t say I’m a pacifist (That’s someone who believes going to war is always wrong no matter what). I don’t think war is never, ever justified. But in my lifetime I have witnessed far too many unnecessary wars. In each of them, hundreds of people died, or more; Fathers, sons, mothers, daughters, siblings and friends. Homes were destroyed, whole cities and towns.

Often wars look like they may be important. There is often some villain involved, which leaders and politicians say it is vital to destroy. This might be a person or a group of people. And there are always a lot of stories going around about what will happen if we don’t go to war. If you’ve followed the news this week you will have heard a very good example of all of this. The Russian leader, Putin told his people that he had no choice but to go to war because of the terrorists in Ukraine. This is a lie, and a very typical one for leaders who want to go to war. Ask your parents why these leaders want to go to war. The reasons are usually bad and selfish. Often they do it to distract people from how bad the situation in their country is, which is probably part of what is happening with this current war.

Very rarely there may be a war with some justification. But most are not. There will always be brave people who speak out against the war, no matter how scary that may be. In Russia, where protesting against what the leader does is basically illegal, thousands of people filled the streets this week to try to stop the president from going to war. They can see through their leader’s lies, and know that there is almost nothing worse than war. They know that once a war begins it can last a long time, and that one often leads to another. That is why they are willing to risk getting arrested in order to speak out against the war. They remember their…

Rabbi Misha Shulman

Jerusalem born, Misha has been working at the cusp of religion, art and activism since 1999. Rabbi @ The New Shul and Director of School for Creative Judaism.