We are in the height of summer. So many of us are going on wonderful vacations, or spending the summer upstate. In many ways, we are so far removed and disconnected from the terrible news that is emanating from our Holy land. We all say we care about Israel. We all pray for its survival, but in reality, we are so far from the pain, the anguish, and the sheer terror that our brothers and sisters are experiencing at this very moment.
This past weekend brought this home. Just yesterday, I spent a wonderful day with my little boy, shopping and having fun. But throughout the day, I was getting messages and phone calls from my friends in Israel.
Almost 20 years ago, when I was studying in Israel, I met a young Israeli Border Policeman. Little did I know that that chance meeting would develop into an amazing friendship. Though almost two decades have gone by, he is my closest friend, and we have shared each other’s joys and sorrows.
My friend rose through the ranks of the Israeli Border Police, and became a Senior Officer. When I think of the ultimate combination of being Frum and serving your country, I know that he is Exhibit A. You can imagine my distress, when in the wee hours of Sunday morning, I received a message from him. He told me that his unit had been ordered to Gaza, and that many of the soldiers and officers under his command are just “children”. He shared how he has never seen fear like what he witnessed in the eyes of some of these boys. And yet, he has never experienced heroism and bravery on the scale and level that these young troops are showing.
Throughout the day, I was receiving updates. The details of the horrific deaths of so many of our soldiers, are too difficult and gruesome to commit to paper. Our nation is suffering, and we need to do something about it. I was torn yesterday: on the one hand, spending glorious moments of bliss and joy with my little boy, having fun, playing games, and yet conflicted by the gnawing feeling of guilt of not being able to do more for our brothers and sisters.
I don’t know what the answer is. I wish I had the remedy for what we can do here in the United States. But if there’s one thing I know, it is that we need to do a whole lot more. Sitting and posting on Facebook, writing articles, just as this one, simply doesn’t cut it. We need to leave our comfort zones. We need to go out there, pray, protest, and do something that makes a difference and impact to our people.
There was a beautiful gesture, circulated last week in our community. Just a small thought that’s so impactful: someone had suggested calling the local pizza stores in Sderot, and paying for pies to be sent to the local residents who have suffered so much throughout this conflict. It’s a small gesture, but it’s so significant.
Let it never be said that our people stood by and did not help, as our nation suffers. These are trying times for the Jewish people, made all the more acute by the knowledge that we are in the “three weeks” of the most ominous times for our nation. We can never allow for there to be a delta between the Jews of the United States and those of Israel. Let us resolve today to make a difference, to take action, as small as making a phone call and ordering pizza, or as big as picking ourselves up and traveling to Israel and showing our support.
G-d has promised us that he will never forsake our nation. We, in turn, have promised G-d to stand united as a people. We know G-d is good for his word. Let us make sure we are too.