Top of Mind Thursday – October 12, 2023: A World of Hurt

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On Saturday morning, hundreds of Hamas terrorists swarmed through the security fence from Gaza into Israel and viciously attacked Israeli civilians going about their daily lives.

Fifty years to the day of the Yom Kippur War, these butchers executed hundreds of young concertgoers in the desert at point-blank range. They burned and pillaged villages in southern Israel, raping and torturing women, children, and elderly Holocaust survivors—taking more than 100 people hostage. They lobbed thousands of missiles into Israel, attacking any city they could reach.

Five days later, we are still trying to process what happened. Sometimes there are no words to express the shock and sadness about such horrific and terrible acts.

People ask me if, as a Jew, I know people in Israel that are affected. Let me spare you asking the question: We are a small group in terms of global population, and we ALL know people in Israel that were affected—friends or family or colleagues. We all know people who have been called up to fight for Israel’s existence, and none of us—whether here or in Israel—feels very safe right now.

We appreciate the strong support from President Biden and the US, and from many other countries across the world.

But we also have heard from those who think massacring hundreds of innocent Israeli civilians is somehow justified or acceptable. Our synagogues and community centers are on high alert against potential acts of antisemitism (which have been rising continuously throughout the last decade, but are expected to increase now). We have to turn away from those who want to see goodness on both sides, because we can’t see any goodness whatsoever in these savage acts, and we don’t have the energy to take on this battle now too.

Israel has mobilized over 300,000 reservists from all over the world to fight for the country’s survival. We do what we can to help and support them, and in our hearts we know they will eventually prevail. But between now and then, lies a very dark and frightening journey that we’ve been forced, against our will, to take.

Well-meaning people ask if we are OK. Let me answer that too: No, we are not OK, and we will not be OK for a very long time. But we appreciate that you care enough to ask. And know that even as we fight through this, our prayers all end with a wish for peace.

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