Allow me to spoil the surprise: I’ll tell you the answer up front.
But there’s another thing I wanted to share first, which actually also came to me via facebook. This isn’t something I usually do; I figure if you want to follow me on facebook, you can.
[can anyone tell me why all my graphics are surrounded by this annoying white frame?!?!]
Like I said, normally what happens on facebook stays on facebook. But in this case, these two things felt more important than most given the barrage of “stuff” that’s been falling on Israel over the last few days.
A not so fun-and-games kids’ video
I shared this video, which came with the following caption, from The Jewish Standard’s facebook page:
This song was composed by a local teacher and has been taught to hundreds of schoolchildren within firing range of Gaza's rockets to help them deal with the fear and trauma of having 15 seconds to run for cover when the Color Red siren sounds.
Despite its cheerful tune and praiseworthy goal, I was crying by the end. It’s only a minute; please watch at least a few seconds.
And I don’t cry about stuff… well, almost never.
When I shared it, I said, “It is not fair that children have to learn this song. Kind of catchy, but if you're like me, you may cry anyway.”
But when a friend added a comment to the effect that she admired our courage… and that she didn’t think she could live here, all I could think of to say was, “It’s nothing like courage. It’s just… life.”
I think it’s not a bad answer.
A question that answers itself
The second facebook thing I wanted to share was in response to this article on Kveller.com by Ariel Chesler: Should I Cancel My Family Vacation to Israel? He writes:
I wish I could tell them, and you, that I am taking this trip no matter what. I wish I could tell you that I will not be deterred by terrorists attacking civilians. …
On one hand, how can I tell my family who is living this reality every day that I will not be visiting? How can I tell cousins with young children that their country is too dangerous for my children and not theirs? Isn’t the best way to support Israel to travel there …
On the other hand, I wonder will I need a gas mask to see my grandmother? Will we land in Israel and be rushed into bomb shelters? …
My comment was short, but – I think – encapsulates exactly what I believe about this situation and every other situation that could possibly develop here.
Jews outside of Israel often forget that our destinies are linked. As Mordechai told Esther, "Don't think that just because you're in the palace, you alone out of all the Jews will be spared." We are all in this together, and you are not safe anywhere if we are not safe here.
You know my answer… now here’s why
Here’s what it comes down to: “The truth is,” Chesler writes, “I don’t know what will happen.”
We sure don’t.
In Israel or in North America, you don’t know what will happen. That’s because you don’t run the world.
What do I mean by that?
Your decision to get on a plane does not in any way affect Hashem’s decision to keep you alive (or not). If your time is up, your time is up, whether you’re in Machane Yehuda or driving on the Long Island Expressway when that moment comes.
But the one thing we do know from our history is that it’s impossible to hide. If “they” are coming after the Jews, they will find you wherever you happen to be.
Does that mean you should run into a burning building?
No, absolutely not.
But Israel is not a burning building. Israel is the promised land, a land of peace and opportunity, and there is no Jewish place like it in the world.
Sharing Israel with your children keeps them safe in a way huddling with them in the illusional “palace” of North America never could. It teaches them that we are Jews; that we are strong.
That we will win.
It doesn’t take courage to come here. It’s just life. The kind of Jewish life the terrorists (in this and previous generations) have dedicated themselves to eradicating.
So… should you cancel your vacation?
Another tidbit I posted on facebook yesterday that might answer your question: I booked a plane ticket to bring our older daughter back in September.
Sure, I’m hoping there will be peace by then. But whatever is going on around us, as a Jew, she belongs here… and so do you.
Tzivia / צִיבְיָה