“You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” (2:21 Pirkei Avot)
No individual has the time or energy to save the world. But neither can we walk away from doing our small part. It’s often hard to know exactly what that “part” is. Where do we begin?
For me, the answer to that question is typically local. I try to find people within my own community who need assistance, and places nearby that could use an extra hand, a small donation or a social media push. For instance, during the last six months of lock downs, we have tried to order in food once a week from one of the local restaurants. Will it keep them open and help their vast economic crises? I don’t know, but it’s what we can do to try to help.
Last year when I heard that a company called Rocket Necklace was making jewelry out of the Kassam rockets bombarding southern cities in Israel – I knew I needed to learn more. I started to follow their Instagram page and I reached out to them to hear more of their history.
And what a story it is. Since Operation Protective Edge in 2014, Yedidya and Shiran Harush have turned lemons into lemonade – or rockets into jewelry. They live in the southern town of Shlomit and have experienced the terror of rockets for years now. Yedidya grew up in Gush Katif. He got the idea of turning Kassam rockets into jewelry when he was working for the Jewish National Fund and was tasked with bringing a piece of shrapnel to Jerry Brown, the governor of California at the time. How was he going to get shrapnel through security and to the JNF conference? The rest is (jewelry) history.
All shrapnel for the necklaces is first evaluated by the police to make sure that it’s safe to use. Together, Yedidya and Shiran then take this metal, intended to inflict physical injuries and psychological terror, and turn it into beautiful necklaces and bracelets. Some of the money they make is donated to the Jewish National Fund to construct bomb shelters in border communities.
I was so inspired by their idea that I just had to buy a piece from them. I recently purchased this necklace and am excited to wear it. Their business is such a beautiful symbol of the perseverance and creativity shown by the Israeli people in the face of crisis.
As Yedidya explains on their website,
Thousands of Kassam Rockets have been fired into our communities bordering the Gaza Strip and the main purpose of these rockets are to cause nothing but chaos, destruction & death. My wife Shiran & I have collected pieces of rockets, removed the rust, filed & cut the sharp edges down & created beautiful necklaces gold or silver plated. It’s amazing to be able to turn something very hateful into a lovely piece of jewelry that symbolizes strength and beauty which is what The State of Israel is to us! Thank you for your love & support! #AmIsraelChai
Yedidya and Shiran are doing their part to create beauty and light where some might see only darkness and despair. And I’m trying to do my part by proudly wearing the jewelry they create and by telling their story. I’m also hoping this encourages others to see the light in the darkness of their own situations and to spread that light to others.
I hope you will do your part, in your own way, as well.