Sarona is a Symbol

Sarona Market, the site of the bloody jihad-inspired massacre last night in Tel Aviv, is a symbol.

It’s a symbol of the normal life that Israelis want for themselves and have been yearning for since the beginning days of our country.

It’s is a place where normal people go to do normal things, like meet with friends and enjoy good food and a glass of wine. A place to unwind after a long day. After a long life. A place to wonder and maybe even dare to believe that not everything is crazy in this crazy Middle East. That the ongoing “situation” will change. One day. In our days? We hope. But at least for our children, for sure. Without. A. Doubt.

Sarona is a pause from the hustle and bustle of daily living and from the daily headlines that remind us that our world is still in turmoil, that Israel is still facing existential threats and that even in our homeland, in our holy land, safety and security are not guaranteed.

But now Sarona itself is in the headlines. As the chosen target by two terrorists dressed in suits who sat down and ordered dessert before taking out weapons and gunning down customers. Customers whose only mistake was to choose that restaurant on that night at that time.

But really, in the eyes of the terrorists, their only “mistake” was living as free Jews in the Jewish homeland. They and the worldview they represent can’t tolerate that. Can’t tolerate us.

But, unfortunately, this isn’t the first time this has happened and it might not be the last. We’ve been through it before and most likely we’ll go through it again.

So, this morning, after checking the latest updates and the final death count, we wipe away our falling tears, think about the families of those murdered and vow never to forget and never to give in, just as we open up the door to our kids’ rooms, to wake them from their peaceful sleep and welcome them back into a world which we try so hard to show them is still so beautiful, still worth living in, still worth living for.

About the Author
Akiva Gersh is the editor of the book "Becoming Israeli" (, a compilation of blogs and essays that speak of the inspiring and the sometimes wacky and crazy experience of making aliyah. Akiva himself made aliyah in 2004 with his wife Tamar and they live in Pardes Hanna with their four kids. He teaches Jewish history at the Alexander Muss High School in Israel in Hod HaSharon. He is also a musician and in 2010 formed Holy Land Spirit, an uplifting and spiritual musical experience for Christian groups visiting Israel.