Stolen Innocence

The flood gates have finally opened. My eyes are burning and I can taste the bitter tears, rolling down my cheeks as I am now able to sit with my aching broken heart and try to process the horrific and unspeakable murders that happened in the Holy City of Jerusalem on Tuesday. Early in the morning, four innocent men in the middle of their morning prayers were brutally murdered by Arabs along with a heroic Druze policeman who tried fighting off the terrorists.

I was waiting at the doctor’s office with my almost 5 year old when I heard the news over the phone. I kept my reaction very calm and stoic and was relieved to see him playing in a far off corner where he couldn’t hear me talking. After seeing the doctor, it was clear that my boy needed to be home for a couple of days so he could rest and go back to his preschool feeling much better.

Almost five, three and a half and almost two and a half. Those are the ages of my three small, innocent and pure children, living in a terrifying world where there are people who would love nothing more than to destroy them, just because they are Jews. Those murderers have stolen away so many childhoods, so much innocence. Why do young children need to be afraid to ride a bus to school? Why must young teens lose total focus and concentration in school and be texting their mothers about how terrified they are, all day long? Why must our kids wake up from nightmares in the middle of the night and tell their Mommies that they hope they never die? How is a crying mother supposed to explain to her children why she and the news reporter are both crying?

I want my children to have a regular childhood. I want them to keep their innocence as long as possible. I want to them to feel safe, happy and secure. I am grateful that my almost five year old was home with me when this last tragedy happened. I always want to be the first one to share both good news and bad news with my children. I never want them to find out from their peers or their teachers first. I want my kids to know that they can ask me anything any time and that they can share any and all of their feelings with me any time. I want to be honest with them. I want to tell them exactly what they want to know….

And yet, I think about all my fellow Israeli mothers with older children and my heart aches for both you and your children, especially now…How crushing it must have been to tell them that innocent men had been murdered in the middle of their morning prayers…How incredibly devastating it must have been to hear them ask you why those evil monsters hate us so much…How painful it must be for you to try to comfort your children when you are inconsolable…

And yet, as believing Jews, we must believe that this is all a part of G-d’s plan for us, as He prepares us for welcoming Moshiach (The Messiah). I have to believe that for reasons only He knows, this tragedy will somehow improve us as a Nation. For now, all we can do is pray, be kind to one another and do the most important mission that Hashem has entrusted us with: raising the next generation of G-d loving/ G-d fearing Jews in OUR land. The land that He gave us as a beautiful gift on a silver platter. The land that we will NEVER EVER leave.

About the Author
Cigal Gabay is a trained school counselor and a family therapist who's starting to see divorcees and their children in therapy. Her world's greatest passion is helping people heal and become their best selves.