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Sarah Bronson
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The cracks in my plates

Since October 7, so much of who I am - my beliefs, my character, my values, my inner world - has become subject to change
Shifting tectonic plates. (Facebook, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Shifting tectonic plates. (Facebook, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

(WARNING: This post contains graphic descriptions of sexual atrocities)

I never knew that there are tectonic plates giving shape to my beliefs, my character, my inner world, my values.

Since October 7, every day they shift, revealing cracks, chasms, new mountains too high for me to climb. Underwater volcanoes. I no longer know who I am.

They revolve and churn, a new vortex each day, around changing points of singularity.

One day, new perspectives on Jewish history. Jews dying at the bottom of a well. Why can’t we be left alone?

Also — it’s not good for me, living alone.

The next day, admiration for Jewish college students, who are so brave. I wish they didn’t have to be brave.

The plates shift and I can’t sleep because I keep thinking of the Israeli woman whose breasts were cut off. They used her breasts to play catch in the street. I saw an interview yesterday with an eye witness. He saw them cut off his friend’s penis, stuff it in his mouth, and then murder him. Jewish children, burned alive. Carpet bomb them.

The plates shift and I think of Arab children, blown to bits. Palestinian babies covered in blood, and the wine we spill at the Passover seder because death is horrible, even in a war.

The plates shift and I am reciting Havdalah in my mind: “God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid, for God is my strength and song, and He has delivered me. Salvation is the Lord’s; may Your blessing be upon your people forever.” Surely, God has a plan.

Then — I feel guilty for not volunteering. Also, proud just to be functioning well enough to keep my house clean. My entire house is guest-ready! At the same time! When was the last time? Before the pandemic…

The plates shift and I am tired of being a Jew. What is it for? Thousands of years of culture. Beautiful complexity. Orthodoxy. Community. But I’m tired.

What if God is turning His back to us?

Is God real?

Am I real?

A woman on TikTok calls my country “Is-not-real.” Is she for real?

Then — a trauma specialist says that when we panic, we should ask ourselves, “Am I actually in danger at this moment?”

One day — no, I’m fine. I’m safe here. The next day — I remember a meme I saw: “Monsters are real. Monsters are choices people make.” The next person they come for might be me. I wrap my arms around my chest.

Then — our soldiers. Bringing new meaning to brave. I wish I could go. Fight. In RPGs, my avatar is always a warrior. She sits on a dragon and slays monsters with an enchanted sword. In real life, I bake a pan of brownies and eat them all in one sitting.

Two plates shift apart and some of me tumbles out. I’m falling.

I am open-minded so my brains have fallen out.

In the space that remains, sometimes grief. Sometimes rage. Often nothing.

I’m falling, or maybe flying away from myself.

About the Author
Sarah Bronson grew up in Boston and lived in Manhattan before making aliyah in 2003. She holds degrees in English and Journalism from Barnard College and New York University, respectively. From 2001-2011 she did freelance reporting for publications that include The New York Times, Glamour, the Jerusalem Report, the London Jewish Chronicle, Haaretz English Edition and the Washington Times. Sarah has previously worked with teens as a teacher in a Bronx public high school, as an administrator of New England NCSY, and a teacher at TRY High in Jerusalem. She currently works as the Senior Strategic Content Writer at The Jewish Agency for Israel; her blog posts reflect her own views and do not represent those of the organization. She lives in Jerusalem.
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