Sarah Tuttle-Singer
A Mermaid in Jerusalem

The Bibas family – Holocaust footage in color

Holocaust footage in color –

The images we’ve all seen by now of the terror stricken Shiri Bibas – a mother clutching her two babies to her is too terrible to bear

The bright hair of Ariel and Kfir, like two licks of flame in their mother’s arms.

The red headed babies  — everyone asks me if I know what happened to them … from old friends I met while I lived in the Muslim quarter who I haven’t spoken to in months to Palestinian taxi drivers from Silwan and Shuafat — even one who’s cousin was released in exchange for our stolen children back in November  … “I had hoped you’d get your red headed babies for him” the driver told me then.

The Bibas family has become a symbol of this whole horrific nightmare — two bright flames… a scene that triggers our generational traumas of expulsion and pogroms and near annihilation…. A mother and her babies … her mouth a rictus of despair as she tries to shield them and the terrorists push her toward Gaza, toward darkness….

I think of my own children…. How they fit in my arms…. I think about my family , too — those who came long before, who fled murderers and rapists in Europe and Iraq … and every night I see this little family…. Somehow now part of my own family, intricately and inexplicably cleaved to my own memories, my own genes, and my hopes for the future.

We don’t know their fate — and dread climbs up in my throat like a ghoul from a poisoned well of fear that’s leaked inside me, a well that opened up from the depths of hell on October 7,  a well that floods me off and on throughout the day.

But I choose to be stronger than dread, than this ghoul, than this fear, and I choose to believe instead that the Shiri and Ariel and Kfir are still alive out there, and we will see them again, and soon, these little candles growing brighter and brighter as they crest the horizon, banishing the darkness, homeward bound.

May it be soon.

About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer is the author of Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered and the New Media Editor at Times of Israel. She was raised in Venice Beach, California on Yiddish lullabies and Civil Rights anthems, and she now lives in Jerusalem with her 3 kids where she climbs roofs, explores cisterns, opens secret doors, talks to strangers, and writes stories about people — especially taxi drivers. Sarah also speaks before audiences left, right, and center through the Jewish Speakers Bureau, asking them to wrestle with important questions while celebrating their willingness to do so. She loves whisky and tacos and chocolate chip cookies and old maps and foreign coins and discovering new ideas from different perspectives. Sarah is a work in progress.
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