The Sirens

It is a scream

A silent scream, monotone, exasperated.

It is a scream that speaks of unspoken tragedies that we all hear loud and clear

because you would be surprised what a scream can convey

It is the sound of the ringing in the ears of our soldiers on the battlefield, shell-shocked

It is the despair of a mother that comes spilling out
when she realizes she couldn’t protect her most prized treasure

It is the harsh reality that there are 6 million pieces of us, lost

It is the reminder that we are hated and hunted, still

It is the reality that we are a miracle a miracle that burns

It is the sound of the strike of my match as once upon a time I lit 3 extra candles on a Friday night,

for 3 boys, our boys, back when I still had hope.

It is the sound I made in my car, that sound that bubbled up and out and broke everything on its way,

when I discovered that all hope was shattered

It is the sound of children singing songs on the way to the bomb shelter

It is the sound of hearts beating out of their chests

for fear, for anger,

for love that isn’t enough to save the loved

It is the sound of ‘Shema’ being cut short, as darkness enters a place of worship, and hacks at the light

It is the sound of frozenness, of not knowing how to continue when so much is lost

It is a scream

Of utter bitter raw paralyzing pain that twists and swells inside

and somehow finds its way out, for 2 minutes.


And it is the sound of singing

The sound of a promise

The sound of remembrance and of never forgetting

It is the sound of honor and of respect and of sacrifice

It is the sound of oneness

One long drawn out monotone sound containing so much pain and so much unity

and in it we are drawn together, standing still, joined in our longing and our blood

It is our story and it resonates in our ears.


As do the great big booms that I now hear from outside my window

The booms and the screams and the laughs

Booms of a different genre

Laughs replacing the scream

Cries of joy and of gratitude and celebration

And I remember why I came here

And I know why I stay here

And I am forever home.


Happy Birthday Israel,
I hear you.

About the Author
Born and raised in sunny California, Reena Bracha traded in her beach attire for the slightly more modest approach of orthodox Judaism. Her first love is Israel and her second, her ukulele. She recently made Aliyah and currently lives in Jerusalem.
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