Talya Woolf


January 18, 2024

Headline on Times of Israel: PM: Those discussing post-Netanyahu era are referring to one with Palestinian state

Today is baby Kfir’s first birthday.

Everyone who is human on this planet is aching, hurting for him to come home. Most of us are having the same thoughts, I am sure. Thoughts that none of us (including myself) want to verbalize, and we’re all superstitious enough not to verbalize.

Israelis mark the first birthday of Kfir Bibas held hostage by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip, at Hostages Square in Tel Aviv, January 18, 2024. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

So instead I’ll give permission to everyone who is hurting. Those inside of Israel, who have been in hell for 104 days. Those outside of Israel who feel like they are betraying their country and their people by not being here, by not returning.

This is directed specifically at people who have not, literally and directly, been ‘affected.’ Meaning, we haven’t lost anyone in our immediate family in the last 104 days. We haven’t been injured or lost our homes. We haven’t had family members kidnapped, held hostage, or murdered. We don’t have sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, or parents killed in Gaza while fighting for our right to exist in peace.

You are allowed to grieve. Full stop.

Just because we haven’t been ‘directly affected’ doesn’t mean we are untouched. Every person living in Israel is connected to another within two or three degrees of separation. Marriage, friendship, business. We are all together, one big family.

October 7 was a horrendous and traumatic event. Don’t mince words and don’t minimize it. A belief in humanity was destroyed at such a base level that one-third of Israelis now have PTSD from the day.

People lived near Gaza with a strength of purpose – to live peacefully with Gazan neighbors and help them achieve a better life – and they were butchered just for being Jewish. The Gazans knew this; they worked in their homes, spoke to their children. And then drew maps and relayed trusted information so that the attack, invasion, and massacre could be more effective.

To how much more evil must one bear witness? We do not throw this word around lightly. For a group of people to attack civilians, but not just civilians – women, children, elderly, and babies; this is not normal behavior. None of this is normal.

This is revolting and jarring inhuman behavior.

  • Taking the head off an IDF soldier to try and sell it in Gaza as a souvenir.
  • Destroying and abusing women’s bodies (before and after death).
  • Burning and stealing babies and then refusing to return them.

Our souls have been damaged by this. We have been affected to our very core. We are shaken and will never be the same again. Who we were on October 6 no longer exists. That person was assaulted and died along with all the victims in the south.

You have been reborn into a new and devastating reality, where everything is upside down. You keep thinking your feelings are absurd and exaggerated. After all, you didn’t lose family members on October 7 or any soldiers in the war. You didn’t lose your home or have it set on fire.

You sleep in a warm bed in your own home and eat home-cooked meals. Your kids go to the same school as usual and you can wear all your regular clothing.

But our lives will never be the same again.

Grieve for that loss. Grieve for the loss of innocence – for us, for our friends, for our children. Grieve for the families who have lost everything. Grieve for the young couples who were murdered together, or one who has to forever live without the love of their life. Despair for the thousands murdered and the newly orphaned children.

For the loss of an entire portion of our next two generations.

We are ‘lucky’ to have not lost anyone directly. Before this is all over, this will change. I know that we will all know someone hurt, maimed, killed.

But today, before that happens, don’t deny yourself and your humanity the upheaval of reality and lack of respect for life.

Reject the denial, let go of the excuses and the reasons why you’re not allowed to cry and scream and yell or have an inordinate amount of rage at the world.

Do all of the above. Grieve.

About the Author
Talya Woolf is an eight-year Olah with four spirited children and a fantastic husband. She is a writer, American-licensed attorney, handgun instructor, amateur photographer, and artist. She is politically confusing, Modern Orthodox (though she doesn't dress the part), and ardent Zionist (ZFB). She enjoys spending time with family, friends, running, photography, and reading about highly contagious diseases and WWII.
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