[Upon hearing brilliant advice this Shabbat morning, I write this open letter to all my friends and family in Israel. You are all olim and you are my heroes.]
To all my best friends I’ve know since birth, kindergarten, grade school and high school; To all the dear friends that I’ve made as an adult-with whom I raised kids, shared carpool, organized playgroups and play dates; To all my new dear friends who have became my “Israel friends”; And to my precious family-my in laws, my nieces, my nephews…
Dear Loved Ones,
I am checking in tonight to simply say I’m thinking of you. In fact I am thinking of you all the time these days. So much so that I can’t stop checking the news, refreshing news pages and Facebook for updates, alerts, and more bad news. Instead of obsessively trying to stay current tonight, I am reaching out to you all just to remind you that you’re not alone. I can’t speak for all of us over here, but I personally feel the need to make sure you know how much you matter. It has never been lost on me, and in times like this it’s even more apparent, the sacrifice and commitment you’ve made as an oleh to Israel. Whether you made Aliyah last month, last year, or 10 years ago, I remain in awe of and deeply grateful for what you’ve accomplished. Every oleh to Israel paves the path a little smoother for those of us whose Aliyah feels imminent and yet remains elusive. When I visit you I marvel at the inspired life you’ve made and thank G-d for your success and satisfaction. I pray it will one day be mine. And when it is, along with the Almighty, it will be you I will thank.
Although I can’t know the boots-on-the-ground feeling of raising my kids amid terror and violence, and I will never attempt to pretend I do — please know that, like you, I grieve, I pray and I yearn for peace and quiet. I do so for your sake. And I do so for our nation’s sake. If you are incredulous at the deafening silence resonating from the White House and the international community at large, please know that I am, too. I can only compensate by beseeching our G-d for His attention.
Please don’t feel alone if you are afraid or in pain and please know you are in no way pitied by me. I remind myself of the splendor of our Homeland and I reflect on the magnificence of the lives you have built way too often for that to ever happen. You have raised children, some of them sabras, who are now becoming chayalim and benot sherut. Some are marrying and building new Jewish homes in our Homeland.
I can cut the international silence by singing the songs of my Homeland- loudly and with ridiculous passion. I remind myself often of the events surrounding the State’s establishment. And although I cry when I remember the thousands of souls lost in its wars, I celebrate the wins and the not so small miracles, including among others, the desalination of Israel’s water that the British claimed would be enough for only 2,000,000 people that today quenches the thirst of 12,000,000.
In your grief, in your fear, anger and pain, please feel less alone, please don’t feel isolated and don’t let the deafening silence get you down. I am sure I am not alone in wanting you to know that it matters to all of us over here what you have done. We do grapple with how to help you, how to comfort you and how to comfort ourselves. And although I know that I need to join you for our Homeland to remain strong and that my prayers and my letters (and my singing) are not nearly enough, they’re all I’ve got and for now they’ll have to do.
Shavua tov my dear loved ones.
Praying for peace and your safety always,