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There are no sirens before a stabbing

On attacks that target anyone anywhere: 'A constant prickle of fear just below the neck or deep in our stomachs'

Dear friends and family around the world —

I really hope you read this because it’s important to me. And to my kids.

Last summer we had a war — but relatively speaking, my kids and I were lucky: Israel has a missile defense system. We have bomb shelters. And we have sirens.

And as soon as those sirens went off, we would run for our lives.

My kids learned a song – it’ll break your heart:

I can’t listen to this without crying. Even though the melody chipper, listen to the words.  My kids STILL sing this song.

Red Alert, Red Alert. Hurry hurry hurry to a safe place, hurry hurry, because now it’s dangerous.

For those living by the Gazan border, it’s a lot harder — there isn’t the luxury of time. And too many people died in rocket attacks down south , including sweet little Daniel Tragerman, the same age as my son.

My kids and I had 90 seconds to get from our door to the public shelter — and we still didn’t make it on time every time, before the ground shook and the air shimmered.

But still — I DID know when to run and when to drop to the ground and cover my children with my own body.

And the war ended. (But we still have nightmares)

But this is different now — there is no missile defense system against stabbings.

We can’t lock ourselves in a shelter all day.

Stabbings have no siren so we don’t know when to run.

There are no cute little songs for my kids to learn in preschool and sing before they go to sleep each night, before they say the Sh’ma.

Stabbings can happen anywhere at any time. Stabbings can happen in a park on a quiet bench. They can happen in the market, with soldiers standing just a few steps away. They can happen in front of a school or in a synagogue or on the street.

Everyone is on edge right now — most of us feel that prickle of fear just below the neck or deep in our stomachs — because when these attacks are random, everyone is a potential target.


The young rabbi at the Western Wall. The barista with the dirty laugh. The soldier who still wears braces. The guy who sells the best pomegranates in the Ramle Shuk. The mother with two children.

This mother.

My children.

The headlines you’ll read outside of Israel or the Jewish world won’t tell you this — but I will.

Because even though the situation here is complicated, and even though there are policies in Israel I do not like, killing innocent people isn’t complicated:

It is wrong, pure and simple.

And while we are a resilient people — after all, we’ve survived THIS long despite devastating odds — It’s hard right now.

Please hold the thought — and if you have questions, talk to me.  I’m still here.

About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer, author of Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered and the New Media Editor at Times of Israel, She was raised in Venice Beach, California on Yiddish lullabies and Civil Rights anthems. She now lives in Jerusalem with her 3 kids where she climbs roofs, explores cisterns, opens secret doors and talks to strangers, and writes stories about people. Sarah also speaks before audiences left, right, and center through the Jewish Speakers Bureau, asking them to wrestle with important questions while celebrating their willingness to do so. She also loves whisky and tacos and chocolate chip cookies and old maps and foreign coins and discovering new ideas from different perspectives. Sarah is a work in progress.
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