You will not kick us down

In the space of a single day today I went from relief to sadness to celebration.

Geographically removed from Israel, the flurry of Whatsapp messages gave the first hint. Twitter feeds, news alerts with information, misinformation, corrected information and finally validation gave confirmation that terror had struck again. The attack in Tel Aviv came just hours after a conversation with our community’s rabbis on the return to ‘normalcy’ in Israel’s streets. Professionally, personally, I felt guilty, almost to blame, that I had said something.

The day continued, because it does, and we continued because must. When the work day concluded I made my way down to Riverdale to see my rabbinic friends graduate from Yeshivat Chovevei Torah and join the leadership of America’s modern orthodox rabbinate.

At precisely the same time as the Sarona Market was being visited by Israeli ministers vowing responses to the attack, the capacity congregation gathered at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale stood to recite Tehillim, sing America’s and Israel’s anthems, hear words of wisdom and Torah from learned scholars both young and experienced, dance, eat and raise l’chayims to the newest generation of young motivated rabbis.

That, in itself, was an ‘a-ha’ moment for me. In the same space of time, in different geographic locations, Israel, as a nation, sent the world two messages. Come at us with weapons, and we will defend ourselves militarily. In addition, we will continually defend ourselves by creating new educators, spiritual leaders, and community builders. They will carry and spread the lessons taught to them by the giants who preceded them, and breathe life and spirit into their posts on college campuses, schools, and synagogues.

Today two terrorists tried to kick Israel down, but no matter how many knives and guns come at us, we will always know how to get back up.

May the memories of the victims killed in the Tel Aviv attack be a blessing.

About the Author
Yoav Cohen is a proud Israeli high-tech junkie, specializing in e-Learning and educational technologies. He is a former Senior Shaliach for the Jewish Agency for Israel to Westchester, NY, and a graduate and former manager of the Argov Fellows Program in Leadership and Diplomacy at IDC Herzliya.