*This is a guest spot written by a dear friend’s mother, Sue Loubser*

I have had a lot of time for introspection lately, and I have been thinking of how blessed I am and how thankful I should be. My youngest daughter made aliyah to Israel two years ago. Although my browser stays open to 3 different news sites, and I have notifications coming to my phone from different Facebook groups, I have a strong sense that Hashem is with Israel and that all will work out.

My daughter was in 11th grade when she shared that I knew she had always wanted to live in Israel (she knew something I did not), and that it made no sense to go to college in the USA and then  to make aliyah. She wanted to start her adult life in Israel. She was passionate and she had a plan. We were proud of her and were determined to be strong and supportive parents, so we helped with the paperwork and sent her off to Israel before she was old enough to drink legally in the US.

Now, that once again rockets are firing, and my daughter is taking cover in bomb shelters, or under plastic tables in tents at weddings, I am constantly reminded of how many things I need to be thankful for.

I am thankful to Hashem for miracle after miracle as bombs land in fields, or are decimated by the Iron Dome. I am thankful to the Israeli government that is committed to protecting my daughter.  My heart aches for the families that have lost their sons in this war. I can offer no words of comfort for the sacrifice their children have made to ensure the safety and the future of Israel – but I want them to know, I am thankful for the love and dedication their children showed as they fought to ensure Israel’s freedom. I cry with them. I acknowledge their loss and I pray that Hashem will comfort them during this most difficult time.  I am thankful to each and every soldier who commits years of their life to army service, so that they can protect their country – our country – and I pray that each soldier who goes out on a mission in pursuit of peace, returns safely to his family and his home.

My daughter is surrounded by friends who love and take care of her. Many of them have made aliyah too, and I am thankful that they can be there to sit with her when the sirens go off, because I cannot.

So many pieces make up the whole. Am Echad.So many people play a part. I am thankful to Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. To each person who works there, from the people who had the brilliant foresight and the vision to develop a defence system like the Iron Dome; to the project funders; the engineers who designed it; the mathematicians who wrote the algorithms; and the workers who assembled each component. I am thankful that there is a weapons company that focuses on weapons for defense and not only weapons of attack. Every rocket that is shot down is to your credit. Thank you!

My daughter is young and fearless. She caught a bus to Jerusalem on Thursday evening, when sirens had been heard and rockets were flying. She has absolute faith.  She made me smile because when I asked her what she did there, she shared that she and her friends had dinner and walked around – and ‘not to worry mom, some of them had guns with them and I felt perfectly safe.’ And here I am thinking guns/rocket, guns/rocket – young lady you need a lesson in what is the more dangerous of the two, while if the thought even crossed her mind it probably went something like ‘David/Goliath, David/Goliath, we have this under control, stop worrying mom’.

I am concerned because she is alone in a dangerous situation.  I know Israel is God’s country and I know that He watches over it ‘from the beginning of the year until the end of the year.’ Even so, I yearn for peace. One day, please G-d, I will have grandchildren in Israel. I yearn for peace so that they will not need to know what a red alert app or a bomb shelter is. In the meanwhile, I am thankful my daughter has access to both.

Perhaps most importantly of all, I am thankful that each morning when I call my daughter and she answers the phone…