As an older woman, out of the workforce, and without daily family care, I felt the need to do something and contribute to the war effort. It sounds straightforward, but as at this moment everyone in Israel is looking for something to do, it’s not that easy. Just the other day a friend posted on WhatsApp that he needed help delivering some goods to an army base. A minute later when I responded I was already late, someone else bit me. Yesterday a friend responded to a request to transport a dog from Jerusalem to a safer village, she too was too late. Despite the disappointment of not being able to help in these instances, it’s really encouraging to see that people here are so responsive to the urgent needs of the moment.
That’s why when another friend informed me yesterday that I could volunteer at a vegan restaurant in Tel Aviv preparing meals for soldiers, evacuees, and others in need, I was really happy. It was the best news I received since the war began.
This morning, at a small restaurant, I joined a group of people in peeling vegetables, and cooking rice, barley, couscous, beans, lentils, chickpeas, and more. Together, we prepared over 450 meals, and this was just the morning shift. Amidst our work, we didn’t speak about politics, we just worked. There was a feeling that the only thing that mattered was to finish the orders for meals and to do our best to provide nourishing and uplifting food to those who would receive it. Among the recipients were children of evacuees for whom the chef prepared delicious couscous and soup.I felt fortunate to be part of this group and was thankful to the restaurant owners for doing this project.
Although volunteering at the restaurant was a hopeful experience deserving an optimistic post, there’s something else I feel the need to address. I was shocked and upset to hear about an incident during a pro-Palestine demonstration in Sydney, Australia, where the crowd of Hamas supporters chanted “Gas the Jews.” I had to verify multiple sources to believe that such a horrific expression of anti-Semitism had actually taken place. While Australia’s leaders condemned this vile act, especially following the October 7th pogrom, it serves as a stark reminder of why the state of Israel is crucial and why the Jewish people must have a homeland.