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Day 125 Of The War: The End Of One Project

"Bring Them Home Now" is the most important mission
"Bring Them Home Now" is the most important mission

Ten years ago, after teaching English for 20 years at a college in Israel, I quit my job. Originally, I had planned to take a semester off to help take care of my granddaughter, whose mother—my daughter—was a resident in a hospital in the US. However, in one moment, I realized that it would be better for everyone involved if I didn’t have to return to my job at a specific time. For almost six months, I stayed in the US, helping my family.

Although over the years I often wondered whether I should leave my job I was  initially reluctant to do it, fearing the absence of a steady center like a regular job, I decided to quit in a flash. It suddenly dawned on me that this was the right time. Still, I believe it wasn’t an impulsive decision. Since that time, I have never worked for pay again; everything I did was either a form of volunteering or activism. It felt liberating because I was suddenly free to choose what seemed interesting or important to me.

Then came October 7th, and I knew that I could not stand aside; I had to do something real that made a difference. It never occurred to me that I was going to find my place in the food industry. I had imagined myself sitting in front of a computer, translating materials, and writing texts. 

However, on Tuesday, October 10th, when I engaged in that kind of work in the newly formed headquarters for tracing missing persons of October 7th, in the EXPO compound, I suddenly understood that I needed to do something hopeful.  Sending food to soldiers and people in need was exactly that kind of project.  That’s how I came to work during the war in J17. For almost four months, I worked there with a group of devoted volunteers, working five days a week, much like in a regular job. I know that our work, sending meals to vegan soldiers, made their lives easier.

Then, similarly to what happened to me ten years ago, in one moment, I understood that my job had come to an end. I was sad to leave; I really liked my fellow volunteers and the comfort of going to work in such troubling times . However, I could no longer identify with the project, knowing inside me that it was over. I left a week prior to the formal announcement of the owners about the end of the project.

The most satisfying aspect of the J17 project was seeing tangible results: we sent food to the soldiers, the volunteer drivers delivered the boxes, and the soldiers enjoyed the meals. This experience is vastly different from the relentless work to bring the hostages back, which is a thankless and frustrating mission. Nonetheless, lobbying and working for their return is arguably the most crucial work we could undertake at this time, especially considering that many other projects have reached their natural conclusion.

 

About the Author
I hold a PhD in English Literature from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, specializing in writing about issues related to women, literature, culture, and society. Having lived in the US for 15 years (between 1979-1994), I bring a diverse perspective to my work. As a widow, in March 2016, I initiated a support and growth-oriented Facebook group for widows named "Widows Move On." The group has now grown to over 2000 members, providing a valuable space for mutual support and understanding.