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The Shmini Atzeret War
One of the darkest days in our history
Having been bedridden for a week with a persistent virus, I was not in shul when the siren went on the morning of Shabbat/ Shemini Atzeret. My wife and I closed ourselves and our children in the Mamad (reinforced room) with absolutely no idea what was going on. But there were endless booms overhead and aircraft flying past. My eldest daughter, who was home from the army on leave, had to answer her phone and do various tasks, and she quickly found out the gist of what was going on, if not the scale of it.
The scenes outside my window will be etched on my memory forever. Our friends’ sons were all being mobilized; there were endless cars coming to pick them up. I saw one family hugging and kissing their son goodbye, and my heart bled for them.
After Shabbat/ chag ended, we found out the horrific scale of what is happening. It’s one of the worst days in the history of Israel; probably the largest number of Jews murdered in a single day since the Holocaust. And it’s not going to be over anytime soon. The country is in absolute chaos and anguish.
There are also countless acts of selflessness taking place. Aside from the heroism and incomparable mesirut nefesh of those fighting, there are many people engaged in efforts to help the IDF, such as by providing supplies to army bases.
(At this point I had written a very long piece about a sensitive topic, triggered by something extremely offensive that I heard today. I’ve been advised that it might not be a good idea to share it right now, so I’ve removed it. Maybe I’ll share it another time.)
I’d like to close with an idea of how certain people in the US can help. There are many Anglo immigrants here, adults and children, who just don’t have the emotional upbringing and strength of native-born Israelis for whom the IDF has always been part of their lives, and who are undergoing severe psychological trauma. Perhaps there could be a network of US mental health professionals who can volunteer their services via Zoom. This would also need people to coordinate it. It would be of tremendous help to many people here who are suffering.
(One final note - there are people who are currently visiting Israel and are contacting me to ask if they can come visit the museum. No, unfortunately we are closed until further notice.)
Davenning for our soldiers to be safe and successful, and for the hostages to be safely released soon.
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