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The day joy vanquished my terror

She ventured warily into the supermarket where her uncle was murdered and left with an unexpected smile

I’ve driven by this spot countless times throughout my life. Many times my aunt would stick her hand out the window to point to it as my family followed behind her on our tiyulim (trips) through Jerusalem. But I never ever went inside. Until this last trip.

We were walking back to our hotel after a long, exhausting day of touring ancient tunnels, battling lines and chaos at security checks and falafel stands, and coordinating the wants and needs of family and friends touring together in the Holy Land.

It was just the four of us now and it was raining and we were wiped out, but we were leaving Israel the following day and we needed Ziploc® bags to trap the (incredible, but overpowering) smells of the many spices we bought at the market and none of the tiny grocery stands had Ziplocs. I felt a pang in my stomach as we approached the Supersol market on Agron and Hamelech George Street. This same Supersol where my dad’s brother and his best friend were killed in an explosion many years ago. The very same Supersol where Rasmieh Odeh and her comrade, Ayesha Oudeh, by their own admission, had planted a bomb by the meat counter.

Supersol, Agron Street, Jerusalem

My husband gave me that “are we doing this?” look. My daughter felt scared and didn’t want to go in, but, strangely, I wanted to more than ever before. We’d spent the last two weeks in Israel afraid of being rammed by cars near big intersections or being stabbed in crowded markets or just on the streets. We played the probability game, as most Israelis do, and enjoyed all the sites we wanted to, always slightly on edge.

kinder joy

The grocery store was hustling and bustling with that frenetic Israeli energy. They did not have Ziploc bags (someone really needs to bring Ziploc bags to Israel and give me a cut!), but we found a few things for our journey home. My kids were getting on my nerves wanting this and that when they suddenly saw a Kinder chocolate that they “hadn’t seen in years!” and was their “favorite,” other than the Kinder eggs which we can’t legally bring back to the USA (don’t get me started on that). I was feeling fragile and irritable and then I looked into their soft, little hands and saw these egg-shaped Kinder chocolates called Joy. Joy! My kids wanted two pieces of joy! I decided right then that I had to buy them joy in this very place that stripped my family of joy and that changed our lives forever.

Do you hear that, Rasmieh Odeh and Ayesha Oudeh? I bought them joy in the Supersol! My family remains in Israel! And we are there to stay. We want peace desperately and we are willing to compromise and make concessions for it. But we will not be driven out. We will continue to find joy wherever we can and we will spread it to Israelis and Palestinians alike.

About the Author
Terry Joffe Benaryeh is a reading specialist and a mother living with her family in Austin, TX. She is the niece of Edward Joffe, who was killed by the bomb at the Supersol in Jerursalem.
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