Shabbat Under Fire: Help bring the spirit of Peace

I live in Nes Harim. Established in 1950, our moshav is situated within the gorgeous Judean Mountains, surrounded by JNF forests on all sides, a demonstration of the international commitment to the continued growth of the Land of Israel.

Yesterday, a missile fell. I heard the explosion. There was no siren. It made the boom that was much more shocking. It fell about 10km away. We were outside the range of danger, but I wouldn’t have known it, as it sounded like it was right outside my window. Luckily my husband was home, but only because he teaches in Asheklon and Gedera where schools are closed. But even being together, we could not set our hearts at ease. My children were in daycare – one within the moshav, the other in Mevo Beiter 6 minutes away where the siren did go off. My anxiety level was nothing short of uncontrollable chaos. Who can think straight during and after such an incident?

This current operation has now been going on for 8 days. These missiles have been falling daily for 12 years in Sderot and in surrounding neighborhoods. My fears seem so insignificant in comparison to theirs.  Everything has changed – the thoughts running through my mind, the tears continuously welling up in my eyes at random instances, the racing heartbeat, the way I drive my car – always with the windows open to hear a siren and watching the distant sky to see what has become the familiar white streak of a missile crossing into our land and onto our people…

Today is Wednesday. Usually on Wednesday, I begin planning my Shabbat Meal. With what delectable dishes can I celebrate our day of rest? This week, I cannot think only of myself and my family and our Shabbat preparations. There are so many unable to experience the Shabbat peace, make for their families a Shabbat meal because they live within the line of fire. Stores are shut down and shelves are empty. However, today I realized yet another way that we can make a difference.

The social media and PR efforts are important, essential. In keeping with our organizational mission, The Israel Forever Foundation is determined to maintain the focus on the personal. We want to be able to give the taste of Shabbat to these families who have no peace. We are calling on caterers, wineries, fruit and vegetable stands, bakeries, mothers, fathers and friends to help us in this effort of GIVING THE GIFT OF SHABBAT.

We do not endeavor to do this alone. There are incredible organizations doing amazing work to help these families under fire. We have connected with various caterers and grassroots efforts within the communities under fire to help with the cooking and distribution of Shabbat meals to those in need. You, the people around the world and the people in Israel, can fulfill the mutual goal of helping Israel and Israelis and letting them know that WE CARE.  We feel your pain even if we cannot feel your fear. We from a distance and those of us living within the borders of our ancient homeland but not living within the range of missiles, WE WILL BE WITH YOU IN SPIRIT as we try, with all our might and with all our heart, to honor Shabbat with a message of peace, unity, and dignity.

Give the gift of a Shabbat meal. Even the possibility of a ceasefire doesn’t ease the pain of the trauma these families have endured.


About the Author
Dr. Elana Heideman is a Jewish rights activist, a historian, educator, writer and public speaker, author of thousands of articles, programs and experiential learning resources used globally. Elana is CEO/executive director of The Israel Forever Foundation, an empowerment and engagement organization that strengthens literacy and connection, and mobilizes the personal activism of Jewish people for the nation of Israel.