Ellen Shemesh

Use Your Words

I was holding off writing this post for a few days in the hopes that the situation would change.  Seeing that it hasn’t, I’m posting this blog.

We are still reeling from the murders of five innocent people at the hands of Palestinian terrorists in Israel on Thursday. Three Israelis, one Palestinian and one American lost their lives in senseless terror attacks for doing nothing more dangerous than attending afternoon prayer services at a synagogue where my husband has prayed, going to learn with a son in yeshiva,  walking home from work or coming to Israel to learn and do good deeds. The tears have slowed, but the pain is still here.  Each of these men have left behind families whose lives will never be the same, and our hearts go out to all of them.  As we try once again to make sense of the senseless, and watch as Palestinians dance in the street and throw sweets celebrating the deaths in the Tel Aviv synagogue, many of us say, “There are no words to describe what I feel.”

We must find the words. The Jews — the People of the Book — always have words. Two Jews — three opinions. “Use your words”, I said to my young sons when they needed to solve their differences. Not your hands, fists, rocks, knives, guns or cars. Use your words.

All who love Israel and hate terrorism must use our words to let the world know what continues to happen here. The press isn’t doing it. They are too busy publicizing BDS activities on American college campuses and the new labels going on Israeli products being sold in Europe. The loss of five more lives in Israel — four of them Jewish — don’t merit the space it would take to name them.

Ezra Schwartz zt”l is the name of the American yeshiva student murdered on his way to deliver food and drinks to a group of Israeli soldiers.  Ezra was an 18 year old, deferring his admission to Rutgers University for a year so that he could continue his religious studies in an Israeli yeshiva and do good in the world. He was a sweet, loving young man who befriended all and will be missed by his family and loved ones.  A life taken away much too soon.

An AMERICAN citizen. Not Israeli, American. Where are the words of comfort or condemnation from President Obama, or anyone else in his administration? Has he lost his words? An American was murdered by terrorists and the silence from Washington is deafening. Is the President so enamored with, or afraid of, the Muslim terrorists that he cannot put together the words needed in a situation like this?  How can it be that it’s necessary to circulate a petition on Facebook for the Obama administration to publicly acknowledge Ezra Schwartz, an 18-year-old American citizen from Sharon, MA, was murdered by a terrorist?  It is embarrassing to admit that I’m from the US, where my president cannot summon the words “I’m sorry for your loss” to a grieving family, or  condemn terrorism. Will he finally find the words when, G-d forbid, Americans will be murdered on American soil? There is still time, Mr. President, to step up to the plate and say the right thing. Please, use your words.

About the Author
Ellen Shemesh made Aliyah from North Miami Beach, FL with her family in 2014. She currently resides in Modiin.