You would be impressed, I think. Justice Abella is being recognized for establishing justice, social equality and international human rights, as well as emphasizing education throughout her career as a lawyer, commissioner and judge. She was appointed in 2004 to the Supreme Court of Canada — the youngest Canadian and the first Jewish woman so named. I love that she is a classically trained pianist who is involved in the arts community, too.
You were all about community too, Deborah, trying to encourage people to hope, to have faith and to be more justice-minded. I admit that the war part of your story is disconcerting, especially the slaughter of fleeing troops. Jael driving her tent peg through the enemy general's skull is gruesome. On the other hand, as you alluded to in your song, the alternative for Jael was to be raped and murdered. Sadly, we know that rape was — and still is — far too common during war. Today, it is called a war crime.
You were called a "mother in Israel," which is a high honour. I would call you a woman who possessed creativity and courage. We need to inspire these qualities in young people in all spheres of life, whether they be judicial, artistic, political, economic, scientific and environmental. So may your story live on and encourage others who are wondering how they, too, can make a difference. I wish you could come to the Calgary Peace Prize ceremony this spring. Maybe you'll find a way, though. I'll watch for you.
This is the ninth in Carolyn Pogue’s “Letter to a Spiritual Ancestor” series. Deborah's story is in the Bible, in Judges, Chapters 4 and 5.