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Ever since October 7, I feel like I’ve been living in a kind of fog. I hate that feeling; I thrive on trying to be clear-headed and practical. As the days pass, I’m feeling more like myself, which also means that the numbness is dissipating and the realities of violence and chaos are tugging at my brain.
Many factors are contributing to my disrupted state of mind. For one, I still can’t imagine the savagery and hatefulness that permitted Hamas to act as they did on October 7. It is beyond comprehension. These are human beings destroying human beings in the vilest way in the 21st century. And yet these same people put their children to bed at night, break bread together, and laugh with their friends. The women talk with each other over their tea, and the men meet to pray to a G-d that is incomprehensible to Westerners.
These mixed images prevent me from understanding what has taken place. The enormity and ugliness violate my spirit.
And the Israelis. They, too, put their children to bed at night, but many are sleeping in bomb shelters. I wonder what it would be like to grow up fearing for my life, for my entire lifetime. I’ve heard Israelis travel internationally as much or more than any other country; I often heard Hebrew spoken around me during my international trips. I suspect that, in part, the travel provides an outlet, some relief from living next to “armed camps.” At times, I wonder if others’ borders seem to close in on them. When your neighbors compromise your well-being with their psychopathic obsessions, what mental and emotional adjustments must a person make to live in relative peace?
My own country provides little peace of mind, either. I keep waiting for signs that the anger is ratcheting down, but colleges all over the country are even more obsessed than I am as they defend Hamas and attack the Jews. The atmosphere has been contaminated by an evil and sick belief, like a new pandemic. Do we know where it came from? Has it always been here, lying dormant until just the right conditions unleashed it?
But I will not allow myself to become a victim. I am a proud American Jew. People have endured much worse compared to what I am struggling with now. I will do those things that fill my spirit rather than degrade it. I will pray and meditate. I will write. I wish I felt like writing about something other than the raging war or anti-Semitism or Hamas. Certainly, there are important issues happening in our own country. But for now, I’ll let my friends write about our national issues.
And I will write what I’m called to write.Published in