Perri Chaikof

It doesn’t feel like a new year

The world clock says it’s nearly 2024. But my clock is still stuck on October 7th, 2023.

The Jewish world is a small one. From my experience playing Jewish geography, I’m usually only one or two degrees of separation from another Canadian Jew. When it comes to the Israeli hostages in Gaza, I have multiple third-degree connections. This isn’t surprising, considering there are only 16 million Jews in the world (0.2% of the global population).

I used to be able to escape reality by scrolling on social media. But now my social media feeds are filled with influencers (Jewish and non-Jewish) who are visiting Israel – to show solidarity, use their platforms for good, and bear witness to Hamas’ heinous crimes against humanity.

Before October 7th, the phrase “to bear witness” was associated with visiting concentration camps across Europe and paying respects to victims of the Holocaust. But today’s influencers aren’t bearing witness at Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, or Dachau. They’re at Kfar Aza, Kibbutz Be’eri, and Kibbutz Nir Oz. These are villages of innocent people, many of whom moved to the area because they were actively involved in humanitarian and peace-building initiatives with Palestinians nearby in Gaza. On October 7th, these kibbutzniks were brutally murdered and tortured in horrific ways that are simply beyond the comprehension of a rational human being.

Here’s the bottom line: the Jewish community is deeply connected. We are all family. The October 7th massacre was a vicious attack against Jews in Israel. It was also an attack against Jews around the world – and we felt it. The method was the message, and we heard it loud and clear.

To me, being Jewish is all encompassing. There is no escaping the knowledge of what happened on October 7th, and the knowledge that Hamas is still holding 129 hostages – including two children. I look at Kfir and Ariel Bibas, and I see my own child in them.

That’s why it still feels like October 7th, 2023.

What will it take for my clock to catch up with the rest of the world?

I’m not sure it ever will.

About the Author
Perri Chaikof is a marketing professional in tech. She lives in Toronto with her husband Michael and their daughter Hallie.
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