April 10, 2024
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April 10, 2024
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Visiting the yeshiva in Yerucham.

This past week, I had the immense privilege of traveling to Israel on the Bergen County Unity Mission. The mission, led by Rabbis Feldman, Fridman, Rothwachs, Strauchler and Feldman, and Rebbetzins Krohn and Goldberg, was three days long and packed from morning to night with inspiring speakers, chesed opportunities, and traveling around the country to bear witness to atrocities of October 7. The first day of the mission, I had the honor of attending the funeral of Maoz Morell, a soldier who died al Kiddush Hashem, protecting Eretz Yisrael and Am Yisrael. The funeral was both heart-wrenching and inspiring, but what struck me most was the funeral ended with the singing of the Hatikvah, the Israeli National Anthem. Though the funeral clearly displayed the personal pain of a family, it also included the national pain of losing “one of our sons.” As we sang Hatikvah, I was struck by four words I have sung a million times, without thought.

“עוד לא אבדה תקותנו”, we have not lost hope. Even at the funeral of a soldier, we as a nation are reaffirming that we never lose hope. If I had to sum up the most important lesson I learned from the mission, it is this: While the atrocities of October 7 and the ensuing war have shaken the people of Israel to their core, they have not lost faith. During our stay, we heard from men and women who are currently displaced from their homes on a kibbutz that borders both Egypt and Gaza, from parents who lost children during this war, from soldiers fighting for our land/nation, and from family members of held hostages. Despite the difficulties of war, being displaced from their homes, or even losing loved ones, they all displayed unbelievable and unshakeable emunah and bitachon. If anything, the tragedy of October 7 and beyond reaffirmed the commitment of the Israelis to each other, to protecting the land of Israel, and “להיות עם חופשי בארצנו ארץ ציון וירושלים”, to be a free nation in our land, the land of Tzion and Jerusalem.

Tamar Lowe lives in Teaneck with her husband and four children. She has a passion for history, specifically Modern Jewish history and the establishment of Medinat Yisrael.

 

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