We were seated at our usual table in the corner that fits the lot of us in our favorite restaurant when I felt my phone buzz. It was on silent, as I was determined to break the bad habit of neurotically checking it, especially while dining with loved ones. But….I did feel it buzz….and considering the heated climate here, I caved and took a look. It was just a close friend checking in from the States to ensure we’re OK.

“You all must be terrified there”, she texted me, as the others at the table laughed while poking fun at one another. “Nope, we aren’t”, I replied, feeling a small victory in that we didn’t change our dinner plans and traveled to Jerusalem despite the recent wave of attacks. I was proud that we were able to enjoy these precious moments together, not cowering in the face of looming threats. Dinner was delicious and fun and we all went home full and happy.

But something about those words kept nagging at me in a typical OCD fashion. The words “You all must be TERRified” — full of TERROR because of those TERRORists ….circled around my head.  While I know it is perfectly understandable to be paralyzed with fear, somehow I’m not. I’m upset. I’m angry. I’m weary and wary. While it is true that my heart has skipped many a beat until hearing from my kids after an attack, and indeed I have cried many bitter tears as our people have been brutally taken by a savage enemy, I am not overcome with terror.  The terrorists try desperately to instill fear in our hearts. They stare us down, yell “Allah Hu Akbar” — threatening us with death, throw boulders and firebombs at us, and conspire with knives, vehicles, guns and bombs. But I will not let it consume me.

Truth be told, people here make it easy to go on with our lives. They are fighters. They always had to be, always were, always will be. They return to the places life was taken and fill that space with the power of living by praying, learning and dancing as they sing “Am Yisrael Chai,” the Nation of Israel lives!! And we do. We go on and live, and laugh and love. So please, do continue to pray for us here in Israel. Just know we will stay strong, we will be vigilant, we will fight evil, but we will never, ever, despair and become powerless by being terrified.

Singing and Dancing at Site Of Recent Murders in the Old City

Video Credit: Joshua Wander