I sit in my room, attempting to put together a list of music I’d like to be played at my wedding. There are plenty of songs to choose from, but I cannot focus. All I can think about are the three boys, held in captivity, in an unknown location. All I can think about are their parents, the strength of their mothers, the terror they must feel. I refresh my news feed over and over again, I join all the groups, I hashtag where I can. I want to do more. I sign a petition, forward it to everyone I’ve ever met. I know it won’t help, but I need to feel as though there is something I can do.
These boys are everyone I know. It hits closer to home when one is an English speaker, a gingy with braces. I’ve spoken to his mother on the phone – set up my students at their home for Shabbat.How can I plan my wedding, worry about a seating chart? How can I be setting up my future when theirs is so uncertain? It is an impossible task to divert my attention for more than a few minutes.
I went to a seamstress in Bnei Brak today. On the kitchen table was a picture of her grandson in uniform. I picked it up. “He got called up on Shabbat”, she tells me. “He is in Hevron, searching for those poor boys.” We spoke about him for a while, and then she told me she was going to Talmon after I left. Her grandson had a Chumash party there this afternoon. She told me they considered cancelling it, but the chief Rabbi made an announcement. He said, “We will celebrate the children learning Chumash today. It is the Chumash of Am Yisrael, and it is important.”
It’s a short, but simple sentence that I keep repeating to myself as I try to plan my wedding. We cannot stop our lives in the face of terror. I am planning a Jewish wedding, I am building a Jewish home, I am continuing the chain of Am Yisrael. I’m still finding it difficult to concentrate. Every other minute, even as I write this, I’m checking the news to see if any updates have been posted. But I must keep reminding myself – we must go on. Life must go on.
We will continue to pray, to gather together, to unify and to hope. If we stop, they win. If we carry on, they’ll learn that they can never defeat us.
Tehillim Names: Yaakov Naftali ben Rachel, Gilad Michael ben Bat Galim, and Ayal ben Iris Tsura