Shelley Kleiman Trachtenberg

Heroes, Too

(Courtesy Shelley Kleiman Trachtenberg)
(Courtesy Shelley Kleiman Trachtenberg)

They don’t wear IDF-issued uniforms.  They wear sweats, spattered with cottage cheese, pasta sauce and magic marker stains.

They don’t carry rifles.  They carry knapsacks with sandwiches, bags of groceries, and toddlers, who refuse to walk to nursery school, hanging from their arms. And they carry the hope that they might, they just make it to work that day.

They don’t don helmets and ceramic vests.  They don expressions that hide the paralyzing fear, the utter exhaustion, the sense that they are breaking, but know they cannot.

They don’t hear the blasts from RPGs. They hear piercing sirens and rush to carry their sleeping children to a shelter or a stairwell, hoping they fall immediately back to sleep. And also hoping they are safe.

They are not part of units or platoons.  Some have family, friends and neighbors, yes. But as nighttime drops its blanket of darkness, they are alone with their thoughts, until their children climb into their beds, seeking warmth and comfort.

They don’t come home on leave.  They are home; they share in the joy of the too short visit–for that is all it is–and try to put on a brave face for the pit-in-the-stomach farewell, bracing themselves for the days of crying, “Abba, Abba, I want Abba.”

These are the spouses of our fighters. They are the soldiers struggling every day on the home front.

They need our recognition.  They need our backs and our appreciation.  Drop off a pizza, some chocolates, a bouquet of flowers or a plant, some aromatic candles or lavender-scented soap.  A hug and then another hug.

They too our heroes.

(Courtesy Daniella Trachtenberg)
About the Author
Born and bred in New York , I made Israel my home over 40 years ago. Graduate of CCNY (BA) and Harvard University (MA) in English and American Literature, I am a (lapsed) freelance writer and former English teacher and am currently a licensed Israel tour guide and educator at Yad Vashem and Jewish Heritage sites in Poland.