October 10, 2023

There are moments in my life where I have been left speechless. You know that feeling… when you either don’t feel you have the right words to say or that there are so many thoughts swirling in your head that you just don’t know how to begin? I suspect many of us have experienced that feeling over the last 72-96 hours. It is hard to believe that it has only been THAT long since our world was turned upside down.


The images… the stories… the news coverage… it hits so close to home that I have found myself being drawn to it all and, at the same time, avoiding it as much as I possibly can.


Trying to clearly articulate how I feel is difficult. Trying to fully grasp what we have witnessed and continue to see transpire is hard. We are a people that is deeply rooted in the concepts of peace, tzedakahtikkun olam (repairing the world), gemilut hasadim (acts of loving kindness), loving our neighbor as ourselves, welcoming the stranger and others, and yet how can we possibly fathom that others do not believe in these same universal ideals.


I have been fortunate to visit Israel on three separate occasions, and during my life, my connection to the country has ebbed and flowed. But my love for the Israeli people has never wavered. That is the connection I feel… kind of like a distant cousin I know I am connected to somehow. It is because of that bond I find myself struggling with what we are witnessing and hearing about. And the helplessness I feel of not being able to do much to bring about an end to the violence and the terror is overwhelming.


And yet, what I have been seeing and experiencing has comforted me. People are reaching out to each other to check in to say hi and that they are thinking about them. In the last 24 hours, I have received calls and emails from local elected officials and others, just reaching out because they wanted to let me (and our community) know they were thinking about our community.


And to be honest, the feeling is incredible. I have been moved to tears (happy and appreciative tears) during and after a few of these calls because it was touching that they just wanted to let me know that we are being thought about. The support, compassion, and genuine caring helps.


At times like these, we need one another. We need the support system of our family, friends, and community to remind us that we are not alone and that others are struggling too. So, even if it might feel awkward, I encourage all of us to reach out to someone and let them know you are thinking about them.


It is okay to feel the way we are feeling right now, even if we have difficulty articulating or describing it. We are hurting and unsure of what the next days, weeks, and months will look like for the people of Israel. But I can tell you one thing… Israelis know that we are here, standing with them during this horrific moment, and they appreciate it far more than we can ever imagine. So continue to show your support and reach out to let them know you are thinking about them.


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