Rena Magun

Sound Asleep

For some of us, the support we get from our family and friends in the old country during difficult times here is significant and meaningful. Others have become hardened to the indifference/ignorance of their old friends and could care less if they hear from them. I am very much in the first category and the timing of this morning’s horrific terror attack drove the point home for me. The murder in Har Nof took place quite early, around 7:00 am. I only found out about it at around 8:00 am. That’s 1:00 am on the East Coast, where many of my close friends and family live. And 12:00 midnite in Chicago where my husband David is. He has been speaking in synagogues across the country for most of the last 3 months trying to recoup our lost livelihood from this summer’s war that resulted in so many cancellations for us. ASLEEP. They were all asleep when the shots rang out. And the silence was deafening. I kept looking at my watch all morning long, doing that quick subtraction that we are all accustomed to here. Those golden morning hours that normally race by as I try to be efficient, crawled along at a snail’s pace. Every time I checked my watch only a few minutes had gone by. And still they were sleeping. Dreaming. Blissfully ignorant of the gruesome photos and shocking headlines (axes? kitchen cleavers?) that were multiplying on my feed and on all the media outlets. And I kept thinking how I wanted to be them, frozen in time, before the tragedy. Those magic moments before you wake up and BAM-you find out terrible news. For them it hadn’t happened yet. For me, for us, it was too real to take in. I kept imagining: how would they hear about it? Would they check their e-mail? Click on the TV? Hear from a friend? And then, I couldn’t wait anymore. I called my friend Paula on the East Coast earlier than usual, at 7:20 their time. She has kids here, she gets it, and when I talk to her, I feel a little less despondent. As we spoke, I realized that I would be going through this again in about an hour with my husband in Chicago. Confronting the shock and the horror, again and again, in waves, hour after hour. The thought of that was overwhelming. And then, finally, it was time for David to wake up. The irony was, he hadn’t set his alarm. Just this once, after months of getting up daily to go to a local 7:30 minyan. I think he chose a good morning to sleep in.




About the Author
Originally from South Jersey, Rena and her young family made aliyah almost 30 years ago. With a BA and MA from Penn, Rena spent most of her professional career as a devoted Jewish communal servant/ Zionist educator, working for places like Hillel, JTS, the JDC, Ramah and Melitz. Today she loves the independence of working with her Rabbi/tour guide husband doing B’nei Mitzvah for families celebrating in Israel. The proud mother of 2 sons, 2 daughters, a daughter in law, a son in law and grandmother to 2 delicious grandsons, her best days are when her children thank her for making aliyah.
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