A few days ago we finished saying, “Who Shall Live and Who Shall Die” and last night was the unfortunate, tragic time for Eitam Henkin z”l and Naama Henkin z”l, parents of now 6 orphaned children. It is beyond our ability to make sense of this, our minds cannot comprehend such evil. Life goes on, despite our grief.
Shabbat and Simchat Torah is approaching, we reluctantly went to the mall this morning, purchasing only what’s really needed for these special days, that somehow we will observe and celebrate with family and friends. It’s still school vacation, the mall is filled with parents, children and grandparents. I was captivated watching each of these family units, knowing that this was also the exact time of the funerals for Eitam z”l and Naama z”l. My phone’s news feed is showing that their 9 year old son is reciting Kaddish for them.
I’m only 2 years into being an Israeli and my skin hasn’t become much thicker since before Aliyah. I completely loose it sitting by Aroma Café, watching these babies, children, parents and grandparents. A few adults sitting nearby see me wiping my tears, one sort of nods in recognition, others look away.
And then a glimpse of modern Jewish history plays out right in front of me. I see an elderly woman coming to sit at the next table. She’s accompanied by a beautiful young IDF soldier who I assume must be her granddaughter. The older woman reaches for sugar and there it is – the number on her arm from Auschwitz.
As we quickly finish our coffee, our table is being cleaned by Hussein, one of many Arab men who work at Aroma. As I wonder how he feels this morning, knowing that the grief is palpable, he comes back to our table and hands me the 2 chocolate Aroma bars I left on the tray, and winks at me, happy to give me the chocolate that no one ever intentionally leaves behind at Aroma.
Maybe one day there will be peace with our Arab neighbors, we’re just not there yet and Shabbat is coming, thank God. Last night our Prime Minister Netanyahu glared in silence at the UN Delegates, berating the UN for their total silence this past week when Israel’s enemies continued to declare their desire to destroy us.
The quiet of Shabbat is what’s needed right now. Hopefully it will give us the strength to continue to be a united Jewish people. Am Yisrael Chai. Shabbat Shalom.