It happened. After all the years of both partially and actually living in Israel, I know someone first hand that was murdered.
When there are military operations, stoning, rockets, stabbings, other terrorist attacks the first thoughts are: “Where did it happen? Do I know anyone that lives there? Is everyone I know ok?”
Up until know it hasn’t been anyone I know (thank God), most of the time they were complete strangers. Sometimes they were people that were very close to friends of mine (one degree of separation). I remember vividly when I was 18, sleeping over at a friend’s house. My friend was so excited because she was going to her friend’s wedding the next day. But when we woke up, I saw her in tears. Her friends, along with her father were both murdered together on a bus bombing.
Up until now that is the closest that I have gotten. My friends in the army have lost friends. My friends living here for longer have lost friends and family. Yom Hazikaron is one of the most difficult days at work, as there is not a single resident not mourning for someone- let alone what it feels like in the country itself.
But it has happened. Rav Yaakov Don z”l was murdered last Thursday. I taught with him for 3 years. His class was the one that happened right before mine. We never really spoke all that much, mostly because I was getting him to finish on time so I could start teaching. But you could always see that the students were drawn into his class. He loved teaching. He loved being with people. He loved sharing his knowledge and receiving new ideas from those around him.
This morning my Facebook feed was filled with videos of the beginning of the funeral for Ezra Schwartz z”l. You have 18 year old boys standing at his coffin leaving the ambulance. You have 18 year old kids leading a funeral procession for their friend, someone they will never see again. You have 18 year old kids and lots of people from the community (and by community I mean the country), coming out to escort his coffin to the airplane that will take him back to Boston so his parents and siblings will be able to bury him and mourn.
This needs to stop. We need to find a way that we aren’t getting used to the fear. That we aren’t getting used to going to funerals. That we aren’t in a constant state of fear-mourning-back to “normal”, always trying to figure out how to actually enjoy oneself, while knowing horrible things are happening, or could happen at any second.
May this week be a week of comfort and peace.