Perri Chaikof

The day the earth tilted

Everyone remembers where they were when they first heard about a plane crashing into the Twin Towers on September 11th, 2001.

I was in elementary school, grade 6. Our drama class had been canceled for reasons that were not made known to us at the time. We were told “you’ll understand later.” The next day we learned that a TV had been set up in the drama room for the older students at our school to watch the news.

Recently we had a conversation with family about what historical events we felt had been most significant in our lifetimes. I answered instantly – 9/11. I was young, and had certainly never heard of the word “terrorism” in all my 11 years of life. I recall being home after school that Tuesday, or possibly the day after, washing the dishes and watching the news. I suddenly – perhaps for the first time – felt very grown up, no longer a child. All at once I became aware of a much larger world around me, the fact that it could be dangerous, and that very, very bad things could happen. I had never before had this fear.

I remember feeling that day that the world had shifted, that the earth had tilted further on its axis, and nothing would be the same ever again.

And now, we will all now remember where we were when we first heard of Hamas’ barrage of terror against Israel on Saturday, October 7th, 2023 (Shemini Atzeret, 22 Tishrei 5784). I had just come out of my daughter’s room after dressing her for the day when my husband said “there has been a terrible attack in Israel.” Naively I thought it was yet another pigua like what we saw in Tel Aviv this past spring. Who could have imagined a coordinated, all-out attack on innocent civilians all over the country? Kidnapping, captives, and point-blank murders in the streets? Parading and celebrations in Gaza? It is abhorrent. It is sickening. It is unimaginable. 

The news coverage is horrific and difficult to watch, especially now as a parent. Some content creators in my social media feeds are encouraging us to watch and share Hamas’ videos, to stay informed of their war crimes and educate our networks about what is happening in Israel. Other social media personalities are encouraging us not to watch the news, for the sake of our mental health. We are privileged to have such a choice, whether to stay informed of even the worst evils or to remain blissfully unaware. For our brothers and sisters in Israel, there is no such choice. This is their reality.

For so many young Israelis and Jews around the world, this will be a defining moment of their early life – the day they felt grown up for the first time, the moment they felt the earth tilt, and that their world would never be the same again.

And while so much has changed for the worse, I have noticed one hopeful change. Usually the international community is silent about – or worse, justifies – unprovoked attacks by Hamas against Israel. But there have been incredible demonstrations of international solidarity with Israel over the past few days. To see Berlin’s capital illuminated with the Israeli flag 80 years after the Holocaust is enough to render any Jewish person speechless.

I hope we never lose the memory of these heinous and savage acts of Palestinian terrorism. Let the world know and never forget what Israel is up against. Hamas is a terrorist regime on a mission to murder Jews and eliminate us from our ancestral homeland. This is the organization with whom the international community has expected Israel to negotiate peaceful coexistence.

I hope and pray that this is the beginning of the end of Israel’s conflict with Hamas. But if that should not be the case, at least the world has now seen what Hamas is capable of and what their true intentions are. It is my sincere hope Israel continues to receive international support for her rights to exist and defend herself. Let this massacre be remembered by Israel’s youth as the day the earth tilted, and when the world never again stayed silent in the face of Palestinian terrorism.

About the Author
Perri Chaikof is a marketing professional in tech. She lives in Toronto with her husband Michael and their daughter Hallie.
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