April 13, 2024
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April 13, 2024
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And the Rockets’ Red Glare

I am sitting at my computer, about to begin writing, and all that I can hear and think of are the rockets raining down on so many cities in southern Israel today. I have the app on my phone which goes off each time there is an attack and tells me where the rocket has hit. It literally has been ringing constantly.

It is extremely disconcerting, but at the same time I use it as a reminder for myself of what the people who live in Eretz Yisrael have to go through on a constant basis and how much we owe them as well as the amazing young soldiers who never know when they will be on the front line defending a country that belongs to all of us. The front line in Israel could be anywhere, as many of us know.

In between listening to all of the rocket attacks, I received a beautiful YouTube video with the headline Yom Yerushalayim Sameach. It showed faces of many young people (obviously American and Canadian) wishing everyone a chag sameach in honor of Yom Yerushalayim and excitedly telling people where they are originally from.

This is the dichotomy of Israel—the sirens piercing the cities of the south, rocks and pellets being thrown in Yerushalayim and the entire country celebrating the magic of the miracle of the reunification of Yerushalayim in 1967.

Here we sit complacent in our homes worrying about how many milchig meals we should make and which times of day should they be served in the coming days of Shavuot. Do we invite guests or not? Should we bake a cheesecake or buy it at Costco? Is it really necessary for our kids to stay up so late to learn and then be cranky the entire next day? Should I buy a floral display being sold locally or go to Trader Joe’s or Lidl and buy flowers there? Will I have time to get my kids haircuts before the chag?

I would think that many in their shelters at this moment, as once again the siren is going off, would be thrilled to worry about the things previously mentioned. Instead they are not sure of whether or not they will be spending the chag in their miklat or in their homes. Imagine waking our little ones and grabbing them to run to safety.

I would be willing to bet that if many of the people who are living under these circumstances right now would be given the opportunity to move to a more “safe” community in Israel, they would choose not to. They have chosen to live where they do because they each have a deep commitment to Eretz Yisrael. As our friends the Tuckers told us many years ago when they moved from Beersheva to Netzer Chazani, it was because it had become too easy to live in Beersheva. They needed to feel like real chalutzim and for that reason chose to make the move, which unfortunately many years later saw them dispersed from their home by the Israeli government. They felt that they were accomplishing more for the state of Israel by living in a part of the country that belonged to us for thousands of years and which had been barren for so long.

How do we as a community support Eretz Yisrael, especially at a time when the people there are being challenged each day? As difficult as it seems, we visit as often as we can; we send our children on one of the many summer programs that are offered; we encourage our children to study there either as students in one of the many universities or at a seminary or yeshiva program; and we keep in the back of our minds that our real place should be there. They need us and we need them.

Walking into the bank and seeing the teller with payot, getting off the bus and having the driver wishing a Shabbat Shalom, seeing menorahs in every window, sukkot in the homes of chiloni and datiyim, hearing zemirot coming from many open windows, I cannot even imagine the zchut of living in such a place.

As the rockets blast and Yom Yerushalayim is being celebrated, I pray for a peaceful Shavuot for everyone, and hope that one day there will be a kiryat Teaneck, Bergenfield, New Milford, Englewood somewhere in Israel. We need to go.


 Nina Glick lives in Bergenfield with her husband, Rabbi Mordechai Glick.

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