They’re Alive in Me

Co Authored with David Abramowitz, President of the Jewish Leadership Institute

They’re dead.

Let’s get our revenge:

Go to synagogue this Shabbat. You can go Friday night or Saturday morning – just go. I’m not asking or suggesting. I’m telling you to go. Here’s why:

First, when a family member dies, you sit shiva. No one has to ask you. You know it’s your obligation. And these boys are members of your family. Close relatives. How close? If it was you who was hitchhiking, you would be the one kidnapped and killed. You are them and they are you. Can’t get closer than that.

So you go to synagogue to sit shiva, to mourn, with the rest of your family – your fellow Jews.

The second reason to go to synagogue is to do the opposite: to celebrate. I know that sounds odd, so let me explain.

Those of you who recently visited the new Yad Vashem, remember how the museum is constructed? There’s one main hallway, but you can’t walk straight through to the end. You’re blocked and have to go side to side, forcing you to see every detail of Holocaust history. The very first exhibit blocking the hallway is not of cattle cars or camps. It’s a bin of books. Jewish books, with accompanying pictures of Nazis burning them.

The lesson of that first exhibit is clear. Those books represent who we are, our Jewish ideas and values. So the first step in the Holocaust was the lust to destroy Jewish life. The desire to exterminate the Jews was preceded by desire to exterminate Judaism.

The Nazis were not the first to try this and, as the Palestinians who killed Eyal, Gilad and Naftali have shown, not the last. Those Palestinians didn’t simply want to kill a few Jewish boys, they wanted to destroy what the three represented – living Judaism, having Jewish values, and being citizens of a Jewish state.

So you go to synagogue to celebrate the Jewish life that the terrorists want to snuff out.

You go synagogue to say to the killers: Eyal, Gilad and Naftali are not dead. They’re alive in me.

About the Author
Leah Stern is the CST: Chief-Story-Teller for OurCrowd, the world's leading hybrid VC crowdfunding platform, which enables accredited investors around the world to invest alongside it in great start ups on the same terms. Stern is also serving as producer and anchor for the Israeli Government Press Office News in Jerusalem, as well as acting as a multi media journalist and content producer for Storyhunter, Yahoo South America, Huffington Post, Miami Herald, Miami New Times, Fisher Island Times, Detroit Jewish News,, The Jerusalem Post and The Times of Israel. Stern was formerly the SE Regional Director of NPH USA, a non profit organization that responds to the plight of orphaned and abandoned children in Latin America. Stern has spent the past ten years as an international correspondent in the Middle East as a TV reporter, anchor and editor for IBA News in Jerusalem, Israel's only local English language news program. Stern frequently directed, produced, and filmed news features in Israel for CNN's World Report Program. Stern was embedded with the Israel Defense Forces during Israel's disengagement from Gaza; broadcasted live war reporting during the second Lebanon War from Israel's north; Conducted Inside coverage of Pope John Paul II's Funeral in Rome; Documented a two-day journey in Ethiopia with the Falash Mura. From 2010-2012, Stern was based in Rome, serving as a liaison between the Israeli government and the Vatican, producing content for the world media and social networking avenues, including Vatican TV co productions. Stern is fluent in Hebrew, conversational in Italian, proficient in HD video shooting, SLR photography and editing. Stern graduated with honors, from the University of Miami with a degree in film production and Political Science and studied abroad at the renowned Film, Arts, Music University in Prague.