Today is Not November 8th …
A Twenty-Four-Hour Month
Your calendar and newspaper are lying to you.
Today is not Wednesday, November 8th.
Today is Sunday.
And the date is October 8th.
And the nightmare we’ve been living for a month is barely twenty-four-hours old.
Just yesterday, the slaughter began.
Just yesterday, truckloads of blood thirsty Hamas jihadists roared into the Nova Peace festival and began emptying their assault weapons on hundreds and hundreds of fleeing, terrified, trapped young people, including our friend David Newman, and his future wife, Noam Ben David. Noam has a long recovery ahead of her. David is dead.
Just yesterday, babies were beheaded.
Yes, just yesterday, other well trained, blood thirsty Hamas jihadi troops pounced on Israeli communities, burst into homes, grabbed children, and beheaded them in front of their parents. And filmed it! Reveled in it! And sent photos to their proud, celebrating families and friends, and to families of the victims, to torture them from afar.
Just yesterday, whole families were doused and set aflame. And now archaeologists with expertise in sifting through ancient ruins and human remains, are sifting through the ashes of Israeli towns, trying to identify the victims of the “Palestinian Freedom Fighters.”
Just yesterday, the chants were already beginning on the streets of Paris, London, and New York. The choruses were singing on elite campuses across the land of the free and the home of the brave. “Free, free Palestine, from the river to the sea!” Yes, those Jewish babies, children of occupiers, and Apartheid oppressors, deserved what they got. Anything! Anything! Is justified to annihilate Israel, and exterminate all the Jews, “from the river to the sea;” which happens to be where the ancient Jewish homeland, the Jewish state, and the only indigenous people that has ever lived in Palestine—the Jews—reside.
Just yesterday, well-trained and highly motivated, blood thirsty Hamas jihadists, brutalized and kidnapped 240 grandmothers, grandfathers, children, and parents—OUR family and friends!—and dragged them into the bowels of the underground city that well-paid construction crews have been building for Hamas over the years. And there they remain, as their loved ones—ALL OF US—continue to live that same long day, over and over and over and over again. That month long day that has a tangled choke hold on us all, here in Israel.
Hey Shimon, How You Doing?
Yesterday, an old friend called.
“Shimon, how you guys doing?”
I love and respect that old friend, I really do. I’m touched by her concern, and I have no doubt that she supports Israel. But she really doesn’t get it.
Yesterday wasn’t Tuesday, November 7th, and today isn’t Wednesday, November 8th.
For us, yesterday was Shabbat-Simchat Torah, and today is Sunday, October 8th.
So how am I doing?
To that absurd question, I have four answers.
Three are answers that I, like so many Israelis, have been giving over this last seven-hundred-and-twenty-hour-long day.
- How are you? “k’mo kulam.” Which translates as, “like everybody else.”
- How are you? “ayn milim.” Which translates as, “there are no words.”
- Alternatively, many of us have taken to responding to the banal “mah shlomcha-how are you?” or more literally, “how is your peace?” by quoting a classic poem by the late Chaim Guri: “shlomi k’shlom ami.” Which translates as, “My peace is just like that of my nation.”
And my final answer, for those that think today is November 8th, is:
“Until every last hostage is home, and until all border cities and towns—whether on the Gazan border in the south, or the northern border with Lebanon—are absolutely safe, secure, and peaceful, the date on our calendar will read: October 8, 2023. That’s how I am.”
And if you want to know how my nation is—my country, my people, my Am Yisrael—then my answer is this:
“As a nation, we are beyond shaken to our core, beyond deeply traumatized, beyond having no words for our pain; and yet in the very same moment and breathless breath, we are profoundly united in a transcendent embrace of collective love and support, knowing that it will take much time, and ultimate sacrifice, to do what must be done: Bring our children, nieces, nephews, cousins, neighbors, and grandparents home, and insure that the Jewish state is not only a beautiful, thriving, dynamic, and safe place for ALL Jews to live, but that it continues to develop and blossom as a peace-pursuing, life-embracing, beacon of light for all people, everywhere.
Oh, and how are you today?
In loving memory of D
avid Newman, David Yair Shalom Ne’eman
ben Moshe Yair and Chaya z”l.