Last Saturday night, a few of Melbourne’s Jewish synagogues got together with the Rabbi’s and their cantors for an evening of solidarity and to uplift the morale of the Jewish people with a Havdallah service.
The energy was palpable, beautiful and heartwarming.
The Chazzanim belted out tunes of longing for Moshiach, songs of Israel, tunes of Jewish strength and unity and melodies reminding us that in each generation, they rise up to destroy us and the holy one bless be He saves us from their hand (May it happen immediately).
Last week, every 10 minutes, there was breaking news on the current war in Israel. Their entire job is to fill our every waking hour with new information. Sometimes, they get their facts wrong, but they don’t care. They want to get your attention, gain followers and listeners and stop us from trying to live a normal life. The more sensational the news, the better for them.
The Jewish people have galvanised together in the last few weeks into action.
Motivated by sheer love and pain for their fellow Jews and the people of Israel, they have been packing boxes of food, underwear, hats, iPads, iPhone chargers, games, toys, socks, flashlights, and whatever they need, they try to get to them. Here in Australia, they have sent over eight boxes full of equipment for the Israeli army.
Children at different Jewish Day Schools have done their bit by writing letters of support to the Israeli army. Some have been packing boxes that are being sent to Israel. Other schools have divided the book of Psalms, and in the Yeshivas and seminaries, they have been learning extra Torah for the soldier’s safety. Some boys have been knotting Tzitzits to hand out to soldiers as we know that wearing these Tzitzits can protect the soldier in battle.
Meanwhile, in the United States, we have seen some wealthy families retract their donations from Ivy League universities that spew antisemitism and rather funding tickets to send to get an IDF soldier back to Israel.
Meanwhile, in Tel Aviv, some not kosher restaurants have been Kashering their kitchens to provide meals to all IDF soldiers who need food.
I personally know of a wealthy donor who has been matching any donation that someone is giving him for our brethren in Israel. His money goes to restaurant owners who are feeding the soldiers, thereby helping the restaurant owners make a living and the soldiers being fed.
Each person is doing their bit to fight this war.
And then we have us, the mothers. Whilst I was in Israel, it was easy to be of help. I helped my family while their father was in the army, and the mother was a nurse at Shaarei Tzedek Hospital. Then I had to come back to Australia. I told myself I would not be pulled into the abyss of news coming from my phone. It does not help one’s morale. In fact, it makes one feel downright down and depressed. Everything macro in this world has its micro side, too. There is a war unfolding in Israel, mirroring a personal battle within each of us, including myself.
As a Jewish mother, I have to fight the war right inside myself. I can’t run to Israel to visit army bases. I have a family to look after here. Sometimes, I don’t have time to say all the Psalms I would like to say for the soldier’s safety. I would like to go to every rally and demonstration available here, but I cannot.
We all try to do the best we can.Sometimes, reading your child a bedtime story and giving him stability and your physical presence is more important than running out.
Our job is one of the most important ones. With whim whit and vigour, I carry ‘My troops’ by keeping them happy and fed.
I think of myself as ‘Mum Major’.
I am a major in my family.
Actually, call me the General.
A general is the leader.
Generals are 100% optimistic.
Singing songs of how we are going to win this war.
A general carries his soldiers.
A general can’t afford to listen to any naysayers or negative words.
A general is fully focused on her mission.
As a general, I carry my name with pride-my division is called Jewish Mums.
I’m keeping my family fed, a bucket full of optimism, which means I only watch videos that elevate me.
Words of Psalms come out of my mouth as I’m cooking dinner.
I am making sure to call my family in Israel and only speak words of encouragement, optimism and kindness.
When speaking to my friends, I am mindful not to say anything negative about another person.
I know God loves peace more than anything else, and as a general in the ‘Peace-corps-division’, my job is to keep peace between myself, my husband, my kids, my family and my friends.
This job is not easy.
Nor is fighting in the trenches, but I’m up for it, and I know so are you!