Gedalyah Reback

Psyched out, but psyching myself up

“How are you doing?” “Are you guys okay?” I’ve answered these questions a few times already, but this is my most meaningful response. And I’ve copied it here for everyone to see.

Physically, we’re good right now. Mentally and emotionally, it’s the worst single-day assault on Jews since the Holocaust, so we’re not good.

The news of what Hamas did makes us feel humiliated, even though we shouldn’t be. We are understandably anxious and depressed, which isn’t fair. And yet, more than any of those emotions we are just mad. Our blood is boiling. I usually would say I can only speak for myself, but it’s clearly universally applicable today.

It’s hard to describe the collective sync the country is feeling, but listen up to how I try.

There is a shared boat here, and everyone is snapping back to reality and taking positions to keep the boat afloat and repair the engines. There is a collective knowledge of what needs to happen. There is a collective memory of when the Nazis did these things to us. When the Cossacks did these things to us. When the Crusaders did these things to us. We know EXACTLY what we have to do.

There is a collective rage seething beneath the anxiety everyone is pouring out to each other in the grocery line.

You can feel the simmer just under our skin in every Zoom meeting that we TRY to have.

Something is stoking a fire in our eyes—it’s waiting for the tears to clear, but the sparks are starting.

There is something bubbling to the surface right now, getting ready to boil over.

You can sense both a fear and rage. Anxiety and depression wrapped up in focus and mental recalibration.

Not all of us, but many of us are forcing ourselves to watch the videos that Hamas uploaded. The murders. The kidnappings. The body desecrations. The marching of captured women with clear red stains on their pants. And now the beheadings.

We’re not good. But we’re alright. How?

Collectively, Jews — Israeli or not — have mentally rehearsed these scenarios since the end of the Holocaust. We’re psyched out right now, but settling in. We’re psyching ourselves up, back up, for a true counterattack. We’ve been mentally knocked off our feet, but we have learned to pick ourselves back up.

Fear is always a concern with anyone about to go to war, but this time it’s coupled with an unprecedented amount of anger that is making it easier for people to get up and go.

I wasn’t planning to write this much when I answered the question the first time. And I didn’t mean this as some sort of “You have no idea!” kind of rant. It just flowed through when I started answering your question. Maybe I’ve found my voice again, a personal silver lining.

We’re not okay, but we will be, even knowing that our war is just getting started.

About the Author
Gedalyah Reback is an experienced writer on technology, startups, the Middle East and Islam. He also focuses on issues of personal status in Judaism, namely conversion.
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