From A Distance

If you haven’t heard, today there was another terror attack in Israel. Two men entered a synagogue this morning with meat cleavers, an ax, and guns. They killed five people and injured countless others. This is just another one of many attacks that have occurred in the past few weeks that have shaken us to the core. It is so hard to watch this happen from here.

NERWe landed in America on July 6th. On July 7th, Operation Protective Edge began in Gaza. Rockets had been raining down on southern Israel prior to this operation, but things intensified as Israel began to protect its citizens. Everyday was a challenge as we read about what was happening to our friends and family from here. Everyday we would check the news numerous times and Facebook became a constant source of information about the safety of our friends. We felt so awful being here and not there even though our presence wouldn’t make it better. So naturally when people asked us “aren’t you so glad you are back here where it is safe,” our answer was “no,” which of course shocked many people. Why would we want to be in a dangerous place?

As the number of terrorist attacks have started to increase, we once again function with heavy hearts. While we are thankful to not have to run for shelter with Adina and to not have to fear getting run over by a car while waiting for the bus, we feel like we should be with our friends who are dealing with this fear. Us being there won’t make things better, but we wouldn’t feel so helpless as we do here.

This morning’s attack struck harder than most. Every morning Adam wakes up and davens before getting his day started. As often as he can, he will go to synagogue to daven. Whenever he goes, he kisses us goodbye with the intention of returning when he finishes or after work. The men killed this morning had the same intention. They kissed their families goodbye, not realizing that they would never get a chance to be together again. And why? Because they were Jewish. It was a massacre that could rob any of us of our husbands, our children, our friends.

While the people in Gaza and the families of these men celebrated the murders they committed and government officials made politically correct statements that encouraged both sides to reduce the tensions, Israelis tried to determine if they should send their kids to school, if they should travel by bus to work, or if they could possibly focus enough to get their work done. If they don’t continue with their lives, then the terrorists win, but it isn’t easy to go about your daily business when any car can be a weapon, stones can be thrown, or a siren could send you running to the closest shelter. It makes the everyday concerns we have here seem petty and stupid.

One of the greatest changes that occurred within us by living in Israel for two years was a new perspective on life. We are much more aware of those “first world problems” and more concerned about the safety and health of our loved ones. We try very hard not to fall back into old habits. Keeping this perspective is important to us since it makes us appreciate the things that are really important.

I titled this post, From a Distance, because of our struggles of watching what is happening from here. As I write, the song From a Distance by Bette Midler runs through my head. Ironically this song is about peace and harmony. If you don’t remember it, it goes something like this:

From a distance the world looks blue and green
And the snow capped mountains white
From a distance the ocean meets the stream
And the eagle takes to flight

From a distance, there is harmony
And it echoes through the land
It’s the voice of hope, it’s the voice of peace
It’s the voice of every man

From a distance we all have enough
And no one is in need
And there are no guns, no bombs, and no disease
No hungry mouths to feed

From a distance we are instruments
Marching in a common band
Playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace
They’re the songs of every man

God is watching us, God is watching us
God is watching us from a distance

From a distance you look like my friend
Even though we are at war
From a distance I just cannot comprehend
What all this fighting for

From a distance there is harmony
And it echoes through the land
it’s the hope of hopes, it’s the love of loves
It’s the heart of every man
(Every man)

It’s the hope of hopes, it’s the love of loves
This is the song of every man

And God is watching us, God is watching us
God is watching us from a distance
Oh, God is watching us, God is watching
God is watching us from a distance

It is sad that these words don’t ring true at the moment. So today I prayed that Hashem watched over the souls of those who were killed and their families. I prayed that Hashem will grant them comfort, and as I do everyday, I pray that Hashem will grant Israel peace.

Until next time…


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