I never would have imagined that I would have to tear kriah again during the course of my year, having not been at the Kotel for over 30 days after a long lockdown and security precautions, many of which are still in place. It is a new and unnatural feeling for me to walk around in actual fear because my imagination is going into overdrive, whether rational or otherwise, because of the circumstances. Though, thank God, what has been dubbed the “wave of terror” has calmed down in many areas and the people in Israel are returning to lead their regular lives as they should, we are not the same as a people as we were a few weeks ago, and never will be. The Jewish people have been forever changed by our losses; the number of precious lives taken and many more injured has not been lost on us. We move on with a renewed perspective on the value of life and the potential in every moment.
In the midst of all this, I witnessed a beautiful response to an act of terror. On the yartzeit of the four kedoshim from the Har Nof terror attack one year ago, I attended the Hachnasat Sefer Torah organized by the Kupinsky family outside the shul itself, and what a whirlwind of emotions it was. Even just the outside of the shul was large and beautiful, and the bullet holes were still visible through the glass windows next to the outer door. Crowds of people were packed in the streets, from children on bicycles to yeshiva bachurim, residents of the community and complete strangers, all there to support the families. The Kupinsky family chose to commemorate the yartzeit and completion of their aveilut by donating a new Sefer Torah to the shul, an act of complete emunah in Hashem and love for His Torah as well as a cause for celebration, despite what they personally, and Am Yisrael collectively, had gone through. Standing at the site of the loss of such gedolei Torah, I could not hold back the tears, yet at the same time partaking in the joy of the crowds of people singing and dancing to music up and down the streets of Har Nof, simcha and sorrow intertwined yet simcha overpowering in the moment.
I have never before experienced such an incredible response and powerful elevation of a tragedy.
Mi K’amcha Yisrael!
Rachel Goldberg is a New Jersey resident, currently studying in a seminary in Israel for the year.
By Rachel Goldberg