Somehow, life as usual doesn’t feel right…but what do we do? While we go through the motions of life, we need to be searching for ways to stay connected.
Several of us on the Between Carpools team have close family living in Israel. We have friends in the military. We know people living in the area that was attacked.
We’ve been living and breathing this calamity since the news started trickling in. Not nearly the same way as our family members and friends who are there, but we’re in a constant state of tension and anxiety. There’s a cloud that’s literally on our heads and doing anything other than the bare minimum just doesn’t make sense. Grocery shopping? Bread, milk, some chicken cutlets and call it a day. Laundry? Everyone has what to wear tomorrow? The rest will wait.
When I went to shul on Simchas Torah morning for hakafos, some of the women came to ask me for updates. (Because my husband is involved in the medical community in Israel, he’d been on several phone calls with people in Israel making medical arrangements in cases of pikuach nefesh.) While we didn’t know the full situation, we knew it was grim. And when I shared a bit of what I’d heard, some of the women exclaimed over the tragedy, but a couple minutes later the conversations were back to normal. And that’s the way it should be on Yom Tov. But I couldn’t just join the regular chatter and went home.
Of course, when Yom Tov was over, the heaviness was much greater. We knew too much – without even knowing it all. Jews around the world were in shock, and many of us still are.
My daughter came home from work today and asked why so much of the American Jewish world seems to be functioning as usual. Why are they not feeling what we are?
We had a conversation about it and came to the conclusion that it’s not apathy. Everyone cares and is sad and horrified. But for many people here there is no personal connection. They don’t have family there. They don’t know anyone called up to serve in the military. So they daven, and they donate, take on a mitzvah – but they’re not living with a jaw clenched so tight you have to remind yourself to relax. Don’t have that constant almost vibration running through them. They can breathe. They can sleep more than 2 hours at a time. They can carry on with life.
And as Jews we are supposed to carry on. It’s not wrong. We need to live our lives with the emunah and knowledge that Hashem is in charge. We need to lend our strength to those who need it, and be there for our children.
But. We should feel connected. We should be trying to relate to what our BCP sisters in Eretz Yisrael are dealing with. Collectively, we can support these women simply by showing we care.
We want to share with you some of what we’ve been hearing from our family and friends that can give us all something to relate to. And we invite you to do the same in the comments. If you’re there, share how you’re feeling right now. Share a bit of your struggle. And if you’re here but have loved ones living in Israel, tell us how you’re doing. Tell us what you’re hearing from across the ocean. Let’s all try to help carry the burden while we go about our daily life.
(The following lines are combined from all the members of the team.)
We have friends whose sons all serve. One was called up for combat. This is not his first battle. Another son is in the army rabbinate. He is now dealing with kavod hameis during a war. He’s 22.
A volunteer at one of our medical organizations has a son who was captured.
Our friend is a medic who is now off the grid in Gaza. But before he went in, he asked us to arrange for some specific items his unit needs. Including tourniquets.
The Next Step has 20+ new members who’ve lost a limb in the last couple of days. These are just the ones we already know about.
We were so excited when a close friend of ours got engaged on Chol Hamoed. The vort was scheduled for Monday night. Obviously, that was canceled.
Our family is celebrating a wedding in the US, and many siblings planned to come without their children. Obviously, now, those with little children simply can’t leave them behind during a war. Others are scrambling to find new tickets to come to the wedding.
Family members living in Israel are struggling to stay calm for their children who are all off from school. There have been over 10 alarms in Yerushalayim. The streets are eerily quiet and there’s a feeling of fear all around. “It’s like COVID days plus the element of Terror,” they tell us.
Large families are stuck in small apartments with no yards. Should they risk going down to the park?
Siblings checking in one after the other on family WhastApp chat. “Safe in miklat (bomb shelter/room) at home,” “safe in stairway,” “crouching next to car on highway on the way to an appointment…”
Cousin telling you she lied to her worried mother that she’s in a safe spot during a siren. She couldn’t manage to get her 3 kids alone into a safe area.
My great aunt, an elderly disabled woman – has moved into her basement’s shelter – too afraid to be home.
Discussions in family chat on those injured running to safe areas during a siren. Discussion moves on to reminders to walk calmly to a safe area to stay safe and to keep the kids calm. A calm adult is a calmer child.
Please share you or your family’s experiences below…