Like so many anglo olim, I travel for business. away for Shabbat, miss events, concerts, shiurim etc. This time I am away for my wedding anniversary. Not great.

It is one of the sacrifices that I make so that my family can continue to live in Israel. Even after all these years, it is not so simple to make a living in Israel. Not complaining, but a reality of Life.

I generally am very busy working. But, being away for a wedding anniversary is hard.

This week, I had 2 experiences. In fact, we all have these experiences. I feel that like an observer looking at Life.

The first experience, was when I saw a beautiful photo that my nephew who spend his gap year in Israel and spent a lot a of time with us as our ‘3rd son’ in our home in Jerusalem posted on Facebook. The photo was of him with my two beautiful young adult daughters. So, my pride swelled up and I started to ponder all the kindness that Hashem has done for me and think of ways to show gratitude and look for ways to make my connections to my family stronger.  How great it is to live in Israel – a free, caring and meaningful life where our generation has the privilege of living there.

And every time, I think life is good. It happens. We are jolted. Again, on Facebook, I saw a posting to say Tehillim for a victim of a shooting. So, you adjust. In this case I said Tehillim (as it was convenient (sic!) as the Tehillim words was posted on Facebook which it made it easy). Then I saw the comments and the letters BDE and quickly jumped to the Arutz Sheva website. And there it was.

The Tragic News — Palestinian terrorists kill Israeli Rabbi – Raziel Shevach, father of six children and a paramedic from Havat Gilad.

And my thoughts, the week was not the same.

While the victims’ lives are ruined for ever, and we are sad, we try show (and have) sympathy from a distance. Some of us will go visit the Family and help financially. But for most of us our lives will eventually go back to some sort of normalcy. Even today there are still victims from the recent stabbing attack in Jerusalem and a car terror victim in the Gush still fighting for their lives in Hospital, other victims and soldiers still suffering from injuries. I try to pray for their recovery and should do more.  We forget the names, stop saying Tehillim and continue with the struggles and joys of our daily routine.

This time — something jolted in me — The settlement of Havat Gilad, and I remembered I had been there and went to my Gmail and did a search a found the following from 2008. I am copying this in its entirety.

“The next Shomron Discovery Tour will take place Friday, May 30th (and not on May 2nd as previously advertised). A protected bus will leave Yad L’banim 9 AM and return 3 PM. This is a unique opportunity and appropriate for the whole family. R/T fare is only NIS 50 shekels per person, advance reservation required (no obligation).  An English speaking guide will take you to the Chavat Gilad outpost near Kedumim and to Ramat Gilad and Alonei Shilo, both located within the boundaries of Karnei Shomron, a ten minute drive up the road from Alfei Menashe. Meet the legendary Moshe Zar and see the sweeping views of Israel’s center from his mountain fortress rooftop. Meet the pioneers who live in these outposts and see the communities they built with their own hands. Overlooking Nachal Kana, the historic border of Biblical Ephraim and Menashe, these Jewish communities offer magnificent views of the Samarian hills and fresh mountain air. Bring a bag lunch, water and a lot of spirit.

Don’t miss this unforgettable Eretz Yisrael experience! 

Over 130 people have already experienced this tour on the four previous trips — here are some of their unsolicited reactions:

“…a superior tour of the Shomron that most of us have never seen.”

“I…learned a tremendous amount about the area, its strategic importance, and met many of the settlers that are brave enough to settle in some of these areas.”

“I …came away with the realization of the precariousness of our situation here.”

“Thank you so much for organizing the trip.  It was a wonderful experience.”

“The tour was truly an experience!”

“I enjoyed the trip very much and found the Zar family to be quite impressive. I will be glad to recommend this trip to others.”

“Thank you for organizing the event. It was very interesting.”

“I thought the trip was amazing. It made a profound impact on me.”

“…Shomron trip …was wonderful. I learned so much. It was incredibly well run and so well organized. We met some very special people along the way and really learned first-hand what their lives are like. I can’t recommend this trip highly enough. At a cost of only 50 NIS per person, the views alone were worth it!”

“…most inspiring…The fresh air was incredible…”

Click on these links for more information on Karnei Shomron:

Learn about the Security Significance of the Shomron mountain ridges:

I have very strong memories of that trip. Firstly, it was about a 30-minute drive to my former home in Ra’anana (we recently we made Aliyah to the settlement of Jerusalem !!)

Havat Gilad was founded during the second Intifada, Palestinian terrorists killed Gilad Zar, who was in charge of security. We met Gilad’s father Moshe Zar who made the point that if they were not in the mountain, then the terrorists would easily be able to fire missiles into Ra’anana, Tel Aviv. This is now personal!! Close to Home!!

“This was a very insecure place before we arrived here”, . “Our hills are at the center of the road between Jordan and the Israeli coast. From here, you see the Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv. Every terrorist passes by here. Before we arrived, the terrorists would fire at cars from that hill,” he pointed out. “There were massacres here”.

As I am writing this blog, My memory of is jolted of a former work colleague whose teenage daughter was stabbed and killed in the shopping center in Karnei Shomron during the Intafada.

So here I am. Erev Shabbat, sitting in London, away for Shabbat , away from Jerusalem, my family and grand kids. Missing my anniversary and some how trying to justify how can miss my anniversary, how I can be having a Happy Shabbat, knowing that there are six new orphans and a widow who will try to sit down tonight for their Shabbat meal.

The thought of this scene is just too sad to think about.

Shabbat Shalom !!