Sarah Tuttle-Singer
A Mermaid in Jerusalem

It’s time to tell terrorism to go f%ck itself

I had plans this afternoon to go to Tel Aviv.

Just for a few meetings, and then dinner.

The sun was shining at full-tilt, the sky a perfect blue.

I put on skinny jeans, and a tank top.  My favorite scarf — the one with the swirling patterns in winter colors, ruby, teal, and charcoal. Lipgloss and mascara. A dab of Aquolina Pink Sugar behind my ears.

I zipped up my boots.

I had plans this afternoon to go to Tel Aviv.

I walked through the kibbutz to wait for my friend who would drive me to the city.

I waited in the cafe near the parking lot, the cafe where they play Bob Marley and Idan Raichel and Beck. The cafe where they make the best cappuccinos in the whole entire world.

I had plans this afternoon to go to Tel Aviv.

And then this:

There was a terror attack in Tel Aviv.

A stabbing in the middle of this too-beautiful November day.

Blood spilled all over the sidewalk, just a few blocks away from where I planned to sit in the heart of Tel Aviv.  .

The sun went behind a cloud. The sky darkened — that blue was too pure to last. God, it got so cold all of a sudden and I pulled the scarf around me.

I had plans this afternoon to go to Tel Aviv, but now I’m scared.

And that’s the f&cked up thing about terrorism.

It isn’t like during a war when you have your sirens and your iron dome and your scramble to your shelter.

There’s no warning.

There isn’t a clearly defined border of time from that first shot until the cease fire.

There’s no time frame.

Terror turns your world upside down, even when all is quiet, because then it is too quiet and you’re waiting.

And that’s the point. Terrorists want us to feel afraid, to question each step, each choice to live our lives in this land. Because when this happens, when we’re afraid, when we measure each day in “what if,” we aren’t really living

“Japanika looks too crowded – it’s too easy a target. Let’s just go home.”

“Wouldn’t it be better if we spent the weekend inside?”

“I’d love to get together today, but I’m afraid to take the bus.”

I had plans this afternoon to go to Tel Aviv.

I checked my phone.  No updates. A young man’s life is still in danger.

I had plans this afternoon to go to Tel Aviv.

My life is on hold while I hold my breath, waiting, wondering. Do I cancel? I should cancel.

This one event has shaken me because it could be anyone, anywhere at any time.




Tel Aviv.

It could have been me. It could have been you.

And that’s where it hits me in that breath.

It wasn’t me.

I’m still here, and I refuse to be paralyzed by this. I refuse to stay inside, because guess what? The sun’s still out. It’s still a beautiful day.

And I’m alive — No, actually I’m living.

So I’ll take that breath and keep on breathing, keep on walking, keep on BEING.  Because f*ck you, terrorism.

So I got in my friend’s car.

Because I HAVE meetings today, followed by dinner.

I HAVE plans this afternoon to go to Tel Aviv.

And terrorism can go f%ck itself.



About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer is the author of Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered and the New Media Editor at Times of Israel. She was raised in Venice Beach, California on Yiddish lullabies and Civil Rights anthems, and she now lives in Jerusalem with her 3 kids where she climbs roofs, explores cisterns, opens secret doors, talks to strangers, and writes stories about people — especially taxi drivers. Sarah also speaks before audiences left, right, and center through the Jewish Speakers Bureau, asking them to wrestle with important questions while celebrating their willingness to do so. She loves whisky and tacos and chocolate chip cookies and old maps and foreign coins and discovering new ideas from different perspectives. Sarah is a work in progress.