April 15, 2024
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April 15, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Just now, Friday morning, 10:45 a.m., I am in the kitchen, cleaning, cooking, making room on the refrigerator for a new Shabbat list. So many magnets and photos crowd the refrigerator door … what do I remove to make room. What don’t we need? I love all the photos.

Here sticking out and taking up way too much space is a calendar from the Arad Country Club. This is where I swim during the winter. I got my daughter a membership too. She likes the gym. I’m thrilled that someone in my family enjoys exercise! So many kids are lazy … not my girl!

But as I look at the dates, I see this is “old” and from September. I will throw it away. It isn’t relevant now. I need the space for the new Shabbat list! I need the kids to take Shabbat prep seriously. I cannot do it all and I have been told by several friends to make a list.

As I move the Arad Country Club calendar, I peek to examine the dates, just to be 100% sure it is not relevant any longer. It shows the dates and the hours and sometimes there are changes.

But, OK, I was right. It is for September and the Sukkot holy days. On the upper left hand side, something makes me stop.

Translation: Oct. 7, 2023. Shabbat and Simchat Torah. Further down on the calendar is listed that the club is open 8 a.m.-6 p.m..

Nobody could have anticipated the significance of that date. Not us nor anyone in Arad. Nor anyone in the Western world.

But it was planned among our enemies. They knew.

How cruel. How sadistic. How evil it all was. Why should we have this horrible association with Simchat Torah and Oct. 7 forever now? It isn’t right.

Since I don’t want to upset my family and discuss this, I will write to you.

I had the first dream in a long time this week. Maybe that is a sign I am getting back to “normal” and overcoming this drudgery of war. I’m not even a major player. I’m just a mom. Why should I be suffering anything at all?

Someone told me this week that Jews around the world are suffering. My friend lives in a Gaza border community and was in her safe room for 12 hours on Oct. 7 listening to the fighting and attacks. She and her husband have been staying in Jerusalem for the past three months. This week, they returned home.

She tells me during the daytime it is OK. She keeps busy with housework and errands but during the night they can hear booms. She says the nights are scary.

This friend of mine doesn’t have children yet, and always asks me if I’m scared for mine.

Maybe the fear that I don’t admit is blocking out my ability to dream. I have not felt fear. And I have not had dreams. But I sleep—that I am lucky to do.

But I purposely do not dwell on the war. I don’t think anyone should. What’s the point?

People I met in the U.S. on my recent trip told me they go to sleep with their phones and wake up with them … constantly reading the news.

Why?

I skim the news only once a day if that. I focus on work, our medics, the daily terror incidents, reporting to social media, donor relations — it’s plenty to keep me away from the news. Then there is the housework: cooking, cleaning, laundry, dishes, the garden, the dogs. I am busy, Baruch Hashem. Why are these other people reading the news? Is it helping?

My son’s army group on WhatsApp is constantly posting messages from parents. There are two groups. I check the group once a week.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I should be more obsessed, more involved, more attuned.

But I don’t see the point. I am doing what works. My sanity is important and in order to function, I must do what works.

And if saving that Arad Country Calendar — to keep as a reminder of the way things were — makes me a little sentimental, I will live with that. I’ll keep it for a while. Maybe it will help me dream again.


Natalie Sopinsky, a Delaware native, was raised in an all-American Conservative Jewish family. Today she is a pistol-wearing hitchhiking settler living in the Hebron hills. A lawyer and lifeguard and the mother of five children, Natalie represents the 150 communities in Judea and Samaria as director of development for Hatzalah Yehuda and Shomron, the main U.S. charity for emergency medical needs in the Jewish heartland. www.hatzalah.org.il; Natalie also hosts the weekly radio program “Returning Home”on Israel NewsTalk Radio, israelnewstalkradio.com/returning-home. Natalie can be reached at [email protected].

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