April 23, 2024
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April 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Embracing the Day Despite Our Pain

Orly Hoffer at her bat mitzvah with the Magen David Adom scooter she is raising funds for. Donations can be made at afmda.securesweet.com/OrlyHofferBatMitzvah. (Credit: hedvANDan Photography)

How many have already told me that they can no longer look at the news or listen to the radio? The images are too painful and the constant reports are gut-wrenching.

I keep wondering what Hashem expects of us now. I think the unbelievable amount of chesed is a part of who we are as Torah-observant Jews. Opportunities abound in terms of how one can donate, buy merchandise, send medical supplies etc.

Yet still the question gnaws at me. Do I get up, go to the office, perhaps stop and get a coffee and continue with my regular day, including perhaps meeting a friend for lunch? Do I allow myself to go shopping and buy toys and games that I can easily send to my grandchildren and maybe even buy myself a new blouse? Should we be feeling guilty about the way we are carrying on our lives despite what is going on in Israel? Our tefilot are loud, our Tehillim full of emotion; we are crying out to Hashem, each in our own fashion.

Yet, basically, life goes on, beH. I do believe that this is what Hashem wants of us. Is it understandable? Probably not, but I think we are not capable of understanding much of life.

Several days after the war began the Israeli Maccabi basketball team from Ra’anana who were already in the United States played their scheduled game at the Barclay Center. The call went out for as many Jews as possible to go to the game to show them support. The Barclay Center became a sea of blue and white. Does anyone think that it was easy for these young men and their trainers to be in New York at a time when surely some of their friends and family were already heading to the front lines? That is why it was so important for throngs of people to cheer them on.

Yet, there is always at least one person who needs to comment negatively. I couldn’t believe it as I read on one of the local chats a criticism by a lady asking what right they had to be playing when they should be “back home fighting for our country.”

“Our country,” as we complacently sit in our homes watching the news on our TVs and phones.

As broken as we are I think that it is expected of us to maintain our life as close to normal as possible. Israel does not need many Americans walking the streets there right now. There will shortly be a time when we will be needed to show support to all of the businesses and families that are hurting. Anything that can be purchased online from Israeli businesses should be done. Constant telephone calls need to be made. Emails, donations, all of the things that many of us have been doing need to be continued.

As a good former Canadian friend of mine who now lives in Yerushalayim said to me today, what Israel will need desperately when this horror is over is people. Much will have to be rebuilt and there is power in numbers. Those thinking of making aliyah need to up the proposed date. Israel will need all of us.

Returning to the theme of maintaining our daily lives during this tragedy, I applaud those who are making sure that the smachot that have been planned for months continue on schedule. I do not think that we are expected to curtail them. I was so proud of Aaron and Jen Hoffer (of Jewish Link fame), who found a way to allow their daughter Orly to celebrate her bat mitzvah and at the same time asked that donations be given to Magen David Adom in her honor. Tehillim were said at the bat mitzvah, but Orly was able to have her party, recognizing quite publicly that what is going on in Israel is affecting every one of us. Kol Hakavod.

We are all in this together, we are one people. First and foremost is to honor and respect each other for whatever decisions we personally make as to how we should handle the challenges we face in these difficult times. I do not think Hashem would want it any other way.

Keep those reservations for Thanksgiving and January break. Don’t give up on all of the brave young and old who are fighting for us. They will need us in droves as soon as it is the right time for us to return to our real home.


Nina Glick can be reached at [email protected].

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