“Is everyone ok? Do you have a home? Was there any damage?” These have been just a few of the questions in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. Surely, the most popular is: “DO YOU HAVE POWER????” and if so, you are admired like royalty among a society struggling to return to its former self, sometimes without even the most basic of necessities. (Unfortunately, recovery efforts have been slow; some are still living this way.)
Our global village allowed our Israeli cousins to view and learn about the storm’s destruction and even obliteration of well-populated areas. We received their calls and emails expressing their anxiety for our safety. They just wanted to know that we were ok.
In the meantime, we’ve focused on the families without homes, the children who must return to school but don’t even own a pencil. Our prayers and thoughts are with these people who lost everything and must rebuild their lives from scratch. There is renewed gratitude among those of us who have our families, electricity, and homes intact. Frustrations of our dented shed and the chipped paint on the border of our garage door dissipated in light of the needs of those suffering physical and emotional challenges.
We’re discussing drop off locations for clothing, school drives to collect paper products, canned food and cleaning products, especially bleach to destroy the mold that is slowly conquering the surviving homes. We’ve partnered with those who are galvanizing individuals to travel to the damaged communities and help serve meals in the relief centers or pump water and remove debris from damaged homes.
But now rockets out of Gaza and Israeli retaliation have shifted everything.
My plan was to bring towels, boots and coats to a drop off location for hurricane victims, then meet my friend for quick coffee at her house. She was in her driveway as I pulled up. Her pained expression was obvious.
“You ok?” I asked in our ‘hello’ hug and noticed she held on tighter.
“My son has been called to war.” I froze.
Her young son, who found his calling in his training as a combat soldier in Israel, had just informed her that he was on his way to begin his mission. There were things to discuss…..things that soldiers who are called to war must have in order before they fight. He needed to know, should he discuss these things with her or his brother?
Talk about a paradigm shift.
The fact is that the attention to Superstorm Sandy’s recovery efforts and the re-election of Obama, combined with the lamestream, I mean, mainstream media’s lack of concern, had placed the rockets from Gaza and Israel’s retaliation into merely a blip on the information radar.
CNN has a small mention: Israel’s assault against Gaza targeted what it said were 100 terror sites in response to blistering rocket attacks by Palestinian militants. Perhaps the mention of Palestinian rockets should have come first? Ya think?
One CNN report (the monitors at the gym gave me no choice but to watch that channel) began with Israel’s target on the leader of Hamas, which resulted in over a dozen people injured and almost the same amount killed, including a pregnant woman and a child. In an obvious effort to appear unbiased, there was a short mention of rockets into Israel hitting an apartment, but no mention or concern whether the murdered occupants were children or pregnant women. In fact, anyone hearing the report could assume that whoever they were didn’t really matter at all.
But I wonder what they would think upon reading that among the victims was 25 year old Mina Scharf, a mother of three who ran the Chabad house in New Delhi, India, and was visiting Israel to commemorate the memory of the Mumbai massacre which took place four years ago.
So now our hearts and thoughts must expand even wider to include our brothers and sisters in Israel and the parents who, as I write this, are sending their children to fight a relentless enemy. Now I must return our cousins’ call so they know we are just as concerned about them.
Surely all of these brave and committed young men and women understand that their training has led them up to this moment. It is time now to show the enemy what they are made of. And I’m sure they will.
We will keep you informed of the welfare of our girls at the Children’s Home in Netanya, which has nurtured disadvantaged girls since 1960. Our alumni have served or are currently serving in the IDF. Some have daughters of their own who approached them this morning with the same question which my friend’s son asked her.
Instead of shrinking from the monumental burdens of these challenging times, we must similarly rise up and recognize that all of our own experiences have been leading to this moment. How fortunate today is Rosh Chodesh Kislev, the beginning of the month of Kislev, which ushers in the holiday of Chanukah and it can inspire within us.
The time has come to focus on miracles, including when we had only enough gas to power our generator for one hour and it lasted for eight and when a tiny band of men exclaimed, “Mi Hashem Aylei – Who is for G-d?” and defeated their much more powerful enemy.
Let’s consider our girls at the Home and miracles of their success. On a daily basis, the staff equips them with tools for living, including the emotional weaponry needed to rise to life’s inner battles. Today the staff is preparing them with drills to acclimate them with gas masks and shelters.
As the girls prepare emotionally and physically, please keep them and all of our brethren in Israel in your heart and thoughts. Let’s turn our focus to Kislev and it’s message that prayers can turn the tide, that even in the bleakest moments, miracles can occur far beyond anything we’ve ever imagined.
Director of Development