Ariella Cohen

The Sun Continues to Rise

I finally got out of the house today. I haven’t left since Shabbos afternoon, and today is Wednesday. Even as the world seems to stand still, the sun continues to rise and fall. Thankfully we do have a massive porch, so I didn’t actually feel holed up. I just felt like I needed to move my body a bit. Feeling grateful to be able to walk short distances outside without major fear. Just caution. 

I went on a walk with a friend, and then we went to someone’s house where they were making sandwiches to be sent to soldiers. It was nice to see people of all ages getting together for a good cause. The youngest kid there was maybe 9, and the oldest could have been close to 80. In a surprisingly organized assembly line, we cut the rolls, squirted ketchup, put in chicken or hot dogs and pickles along with other veggies (which had been cut by another part of the line,) wrapped the sandwiches, and stuck in a handwritten note sending love to the soldier who would get the sandwich. While we were waiting around a bit for someone to go buy more ketchup, they passed out Tehillim booklets, and the whole book was completed. 

I chatted a bit with the organizers to see what else I could be doing on my own time to be helpful to the situation. After all, I’ve been sitting at home for three days feeling helpless. After hearing a bit more from them about what was being sent to the soldiers, I decided to make some cookies to send to the soldiers which I did right when I got home. Shortly thereafter, I went with a friend who I had bumped into at the sandwich packing to pick up 15 pies of pizza that she had ordered for the people spending their days volunteering to organize the efforts sending constant food and gear to the soldiers. I dropped off the cookies while I was there to be sent to the soldiers wherever they may be. 

By the time I got home I was utterly exhausted. Running around all day after sitting at home for three days is a lot. Keeping busy makes for a very different type of day. I didn’t check the news a million times. I overall felt more calm. I haven’t been feeling desperate for distractions as I know so many people have been, but it is nice that I have the luxury to stay away from the news for a bit. Definitely a healthy thing. 

This is where the guilt comes back. Not just guilt that I can turn away from the news temporarily while hundreds of Israelis cannot think about anything else other than their loved ones who have been murdered, are missing, or are known to have been taken captive by Hamas. Guilt for temporarily not feeling. Not feeling scared. Not feeling worried. Not feeling as sad as I feel like I should. But these feelings or lack thereof are certainly very temporary. Sometimes only for an hour at a time. 

I still felt a punch in the gut today when seeing photos of more people whose bodies were found.  I still cried. For some sad situations, but also for some happy ones. Miraculous stories have been coming out about how both civilians and soldiers were saved from death over the past few days. So many of the videos of the soldiers getting passed around exude joy and Jewish pride. That brings strength and hope into this otherwise devastating time. 

I am doing my best to give myself grace during this extremely confusing period, as I think everyone must. This is a situation that nobody has ever experienced, and therefore there is no script for what we must do. What’s right for today may not work for tomorrow. Today, I feel joy in that with every single tragic moment we must endure, we are making our way one tiny step closer to the radiant light that is most certainly waiting for us at the end of this very very dark tunnel. 

(Written on Wednesday, 11/10/2023)

About the Author
Ariella Cohen grew up in Far Rockaway, NY and made Aliyah from Bala Cynwyd, PA in August 2023. She is an engineer and amateur musician with lots of other hobbies on the side.