Sitting in the Darkness

October 8, 2023

The headline on Times of Israel right now: Family members of those missing beg for info as death toll in Israel continues to climb.

Almost fifty years to the day after the start of the Yom Kippur war, I sit in the darkness listening to the calming instrumental songs of Rock-A-Bye baby on the Google home in my children’s room: Can you feel the love tonight… All you need is love…Rocket man…

Photo credit of Mitzpe Ramon: Ri_Ya (

My mind is not soothed by the lilting music because I’m sitting on cold balatot, reading tweets about the war just a few miles/kilometers south of me, the loss of life, the thick smell of hatred, the nasty responsive tweets spewed by anti-Zionist, anti-Jewish, antisemitic Jew haters, looking at pictures of our fallen brothers and sisters (but never videos – don’t look at the videos).

One of the last things my daughter asked me before falling asleep was a request. She wanted to know when we could go camping, hiking, and fishing, maybe in the forest. I told her we’d love to and we’ll go when it’s safe.

5yo: What about tomorrow? Can we go to the forest?
Me: Tomorrow is no good, babes. The chayalim (soldiers) are still fighting the bad guys.
5yo: The bad guys are in our forest?!

I have to explain to my kids how we are safe without adding the caveat “for now.” I have to explain to my kids how the soldiers are fighting the bad guys who hate Jews, and shrug when the younger ones ask “why?” – my 9yo doesn’t ask why anymore. I have to explain to my kids why we are saying prayers over Zoom in the middle of the day, staying home from school and gan, and why this doesn’t classify as an extended “vacation.”

Photo credit: GidonPico (

After they fall asleep, I tuck them in. Make sure they are each sleeping soundly under their blankets and the room is just the right temperature. I gave them extra long hugs and kisses tonight, thinking of all the other parents who have had their lives shattered – or whose children are fighting for our existence. Then I found out about the thwarted terrorist attack in my city.

Yesterday, Hamas invaded my country via rubber dinghies, paragliders, tunnels, and construction vehicles.

Yesterday, terrorists intentionally chose to attack (among almost two dozen locations) a music peace festival in the Negev; they surrounded them, chased them down and murdered them – Europeans, Bedouin, Israeli alike.

Yesterday, women, children, and the elderly were ripped from their homes and dragged, driven, and walked for hours to Gaza, where they are (still hopefully) alive.

Yesterday, the number of dead Jews in one day was the highest it’s ever been since the Holocaust.

Yesterday, almost a dozen people from our community were called up.

Today, five brothers who are cousins were called up today to serve.

Today, my best friend found out that her cousin’s nephew is missing.

Today, rockets were fired on the north from Hezbollah.

Today, we didn’t feel comfortable sending our 9yo down to throw out garbage.

Today, I was told by a close friend who is a good source that, “Unfortunately, Talya, this is just the beginning.”

Tomorrow morning, we pick up a friend flying in to serve.

Tomorrow. Tomorrow. Tomorrow.

What does tomorrow hold.

If you want to know how to help, please consider donating to either:
Friends of the IDF (FIDF)
MADA – Magen David Adom
Thank you for your support.

*Pictures were taken in the beautiful Negev

About the Author
Talya Woolf is an eight-year Olah with four spirited children and a fantastic husband. She is a writer, American-licensed attorney, handgun instructor, amateur photographer, and artist. She is politically confusing, Modern Orthodox (though she doesn't dress the part), and ardent Zionist (ZFB). She enjoys spending time with family, friends, running, photography, and reading about highly contagious diseases and WWII.
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