Where Were You
Where were you when JFK was assassinated? That’s the question we asked each other when I was in college and needed a conversation starter. I was in fourth grade and, although, I do remember watching his funeral on TV, I have little recollection of how I heard the news.
Yesterday there was a terror attack at a shopping mall in Petach Tikva. For those of you not familiar with Israel’s geography, Petach Tikva (as with several of the other terror spots yesterday) is in pre-67 Israeli borders. In other words, according to those who think the whole Mideast problem is due to the settlements, Petach Tikva has never been part of disputed territories.
At the time of the attack one of my sons and his wife had gone to the movies. Not knowing what time their movie started we sent out several concerned texts and WhatsApp messages asking if they were okay. There was no answer. Learning that the only victim had been, thankfully, lightly injured we assumed that my son and daughter-in-law were inside the theater totally oblivious to what was going on.
That’s exactly what happened. Leaving the theater later my son sent a puzzled note informing us that he was fine. When I called to explain our concern he was totally surprised and told me that he’d been at a mall in Ramat Gan, not Petach Tikva, as we all thought.
That prompted dozens of WhatsApp to flow back and forth with my children asking each other were they’d been when The Twin Towers fell. My daughter wrote that she’d been at a course and in her naiveté thought everyone was talking about a disaster movie. I certainly understood how she felt and had found it near impossible to wrap my head around the event. Someone invited me to view the tragedy on his cable TV news. I declined without a second thought. Maybe if I’d gone I would have understood the proportion of the loss better.
|courtesy of historyundo...|
One of my sons came home that day with an inscrutable look on his face. His brother returned singing, It’s the End of the World as We Know It. At that time I was certain that America would have more understanding of the terror we’d been living with for more than a year. I was wrong. Instead of empathy we were still being instructed to act with restraint. Now, fourteen years later, that hasn’t changed.
So I must ask some questions. Where are you when the terror is going on in Israel? Are you as oblivious as my son in the movie theater was? Or are you plugged into Israeli news? Are you challenging false headlines like those appearing twice in BBC this week emphasizing the death of the terrorists instead of their attacks on innocent victims? Are you praying for an end for the terror? Are defending the only Jewish country when you speak to your friends and colleagues?
In the Torah portion that we will read this Shabbat, it states that In the beginning G-d created the heavens and the earth. Rashi, the classic Torah commentator, writes[ES1] that the Torah begins here so we will know that it was Hashem who made the world and it was His right to divide it up as he saw fit. He gave the Land of Israel to the Jewish people.
We, the Jewish people, need to believe this with all out heart and all our might. If we believe then the rest of the world will. We need to do all we can to stop the terror. We need to behave in such a way that fourteen years from now when someone asks us what we were doing during the terror war against Israel we won’t have to hang our heads in shame.