But It Could’ve Been Me…

That could’ve been me. These headlines describe me perfectly, but I’m alive. I feel like I am mourning the death of a family member, though I never had the honor to meet Ezra Schwartz. Ezra and I share a lot in common. We’re both eighteen. We’re both Jewish. We both were campers and then counselors at a Jewish summer camp, although not the same one. We’re both chose to spend a year in Israel to volunteer and learn and grow as people before going to college. The main difference between us is that it’s not “We are” anymore, it’s now “I am” and “He was.”

Sometimes we take life for granted. We get up in the morning, go about our days like clockwork and repeat. We eat, we sleep, we laugh, we cry, we work, we play, we talk and we connect to the world surrounding us. We do this over and over and over again day after day. We all have our routines. Part of Ezra’s routine was to volunteer, today he was on his way to deliver snacks to Israeli Defense Forces soldiers. During his commute, a Palestinian terrorist started shooting and Ezra was killed. Ezra was murdered on the way to do some volunteer work. It’s hard for me to fathom this because I volunteer in an elementary school teaching English four days a week. What if something happened to me on my twenty-minute commute in the morning?

I am in shock right now thinking about the attacks that happened today. In one attack, a Jewish teen like myself was killed. The other attack occurred no more than twenty minutes from where I live. I don’t want to freak people out, I still feel safe where I am and I’m just trying to put things into some perspective because my brain cannot seem to understand everything right now. I truly hate it when the world is silent. Attacks have been occurring in Israel almost on a daily basis for the past few weeks, and the media covers barely anything. When will the world wake up?

My heart cries for Ezra’s family and friends. My program splits us up into apartments, and one of my apartment mates went to camp with Ezra. Another one of my friends at Brandeis University was friends with him from USY. So many people I know were blessed to know Ezra and are in mourning now, and I am mourning too.

In Hebrew, Ezra means help. It is my to my understanding that help was something Ezra loved. He volunteered and made people happy. Ezra was loved by many and will be missed by many. I am so deeply saddened by the news about Ezra’s death. Although, as a gap-year student, I can’t help but think that this could’ve been someone I knew personally on a different program, it could’ve been someone on my program, or it could’ve been me. May Ezra’s memory be for blessing.

About the Author
Max A. Kasler is currently a student on Young Judaea Year Course, a gap year program. He is a Jewish musician from Springfield, New Jersey. In the Fall of 2016, Max will become a student at Muhlenberg College.
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