Since last Saturday, it has been very hard to be a Jewish parent.
In the quiet moments when I am left with only my own thoughts, I am overwhelmed by feelings of helplessness, despair, and grief. I feel broken.
Putting my thoughts into words has helped me to process these intense feelings and connect with others. Writing is also one of the few practical things I can do to help Israel right now.
I am grateful to friends and coworkers who have reached out, and asked if my family and friends in Israel are safe. What people don’t understand is that all Jews are family. When we hear that 40 Jewish children and babies were slaughtered by Hamas in Kfar Aza, it is our family that has been murdered. They are all our children.
I tossed and turned on Monday night, worried for the over 150 Israeli hostages in Gaza – many of them children and babies. Where were they sleeping? What were they eating? Who was taking care of them? Waking up on Tuesday morning to the news that 40 Jewish children had been brutally murdered in Kfar Aza, one of the last kibbutzim to be rescued by the IDF last weekend, was absolutely heartbreaking. It is unfathomable, impossible to process no matter what you manage to write about it.
Hamas beheaded children and babies, and burned them alive. Forty of them. In front of their parents. This is the face of evil.
I spent the day with my daughter yesterday trying to appreciate every moment, the simple facts that she is alive and well. Being with her, I am constantly reminded of Kfar Aza.
My daughter cries briefly over something. She’s unable to reach a toy. I think of Kfar Aza’s children and how their final hours were spent terrified, lonely, and in pain, screaming for help. I think of their helpless parents, unable to save or comfort them, watching their babies be murdered by terrorists. I cry and covered my face. My daughter laughs, thinking we are playing peekaboo. She is so innocent.
We have a children’s book called Where’s Mommy. My daughter lifts the flap on each page to discover a mommy hippo doing silly things. Reading it out loud, I am devastated for the Israeli children who will ask “where’s mommy” and for whom there is no answer.
Our pain and suffering here in Canada, thousands of miles away, is but a shadow of what families are experiencing in Israel. It is unimaginable. I feel guilty even writing this when I have a living, breathing child.
Today is my first day back at work after maternity leave. I have spent every day with my daughter for the last 12 months.
Many parents of the Kfar Aza kibbutz didn’t even get that much time with their children.
We are praying for all the Israeli victims of terrorism, may their memories be a blessing. We pray for the survivors, may they know peace.
Am Yisrael Chai.