I'm safe, but not okay.
Messages from American and Israeli Jews on how they're doing during the war in Israel.
“I’m safe, but not okay.”
“I’m feeling horrified and shattered.”
“This week I felt as if I'm sitting Shiva, G-d forbid.”
“I was supposed to go to Israel this week. I let people know that because I want them to understand the connection Jews have to Israel.”
“I’m disappointed with my non-Jewish friends who haven’t reached out and I’m wondering if I should tell them how I feel.”
“I have gotten no texts from non-Jewish friends. And it feels unforgivable. How do I forgive them for their silence? It’s so jarring.”
“I only want to be around Jewish friends and my community this week, people who understand. I don’t have the emotional bandwidth to be around anyone else right now. I just don’t.”
“I had led many Birthright trips. I have taken 250 college students to Israel, and they’re all communicating in our old Whatsapp groups, talking about the impact the country has made on them. And it genuinely breaks my heart to see what they’re going through. I have to be numb, otherwise I will cry all the time.”
“This is the Holocaust with video. My daughter and I spent six weeks in Europe recently, and I deliberately did not wear my Jewish star.”
“I’ve been told that it’s just two countries warring on the other side of the word. Absolutely nothing makes sense anymore except antisemitism.”
“As a Jewish professional, our work is important, but so, so hard. You feel it all the time. You go home and you just sit with it, on social media and the news. I make the mistake of watching the news, but what else am I to do?”
“I never really wanted to have kids, now all I want is to have a baby and be as Jewish as I can - they will never erase us as much as they try.”
“I’m okay but worried about my friends in the reserves.”
“In my opinion it’s not the right attitude to ask how just Israelis are - All the nation of Israel is my family. We're not safe anywhere.”
“I have to say I have never seen such national unity and indeed feeling of brotherhood and love, not only among Jews and Israelis, but people of good faith globally, toward our moral struggle against absolute evil. Your love and support mean so much to us.”
“Strange to be back with the men and women in green, but after volunteering to return to active service, I’ve just been assigned to a medical unit composed of Physicians, paramedics and combat medics near the Gaza border. I have a lot of feelings floating around inside me now, like everyone else, I’m still reeling from the barbarity and pure evil of the enemy. However, as a student of Jewish history, I know that this sadly is not new. What is new is that this is not a history lesson. This is happening now. What is also new is that we Jews no longer need to rely on the pity of our host nations, but rather we are in charge of our own destiny. I am proud to wear the finest suit of clothes I own, my IDF uniform. I am proud to be able to defend our Jewish homeland and the honour of the Jewish people everywhere.”
“Spirits are high. Religious or secular. Left or right. City or kibbutz. Gay or straight. Mizrachi or Ashkenazi. The Jewish people have been attacked and are fighting back.”
“My nephew is out of the army, but not yet a student. The only thing he can do is volunteer. He is burying his friends’ bodies at Mt. Herzl. That’s his way of giving back to his country.”
“On my Facebook wall I see so many posts of friends who lost someone. Israel is so small for us, so 1,000 is a lot. Everyone in Israel knows someone who has been killed or kidnapped.”
“I don’t feel safe in [the U.S.]. When I joined my synagogue 25 years ago you could just walk into the building. Then came a buzzer system. Now we have full on security with guards at the door and in the parking lot. Our nursery school playground is blocked from view. This has happened in response increasing number of attacks on Jews and our houses of worship. Tomorrow will be a “Day of Resistance.” CUNY schools in NY will be closing because administrators don’t think they can keep its Jewish students safe. Jewish day schools and preschools are closing as well. I deluded myself into thinking Jews were okay here … As the child of a Holocaust survivor I never thought I would feel that way here. And that’s incredibly sad.”
“I go through phases of anger and grief, numbness and shock. It’s eerie, the similarities to the beginnings of the Holocaust. At first, I thought those comparisons were alarmist, but I think about everything: the silence and apathy, the cheering of crowds and defending of the murder of Jews from top institutions and brands, the justifications for those murders, stores boycotting Israel, the Hamas Charter vs. Mein Kampf. I’m in shock. Wake up, world. Your Jewish friends need you.”
“How am I doing? Well, today on the Subway, a man told me to remember to breathe because I started weeping.”
“In times of great disparity and sorrow, a flickering flame on Shabbat has the power to drive out the darkest of horrors. That, and a little faith.”
NO MATTER WHAT YOU’RE FEELING, IT IS VALID. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Your Jewish community is with you. I’m with you. I’m postponing Sunday’s book club to reserve that time (5pm ET) for anyone who wants to talk, whether you’re virtual or here in NYC - just reach out by replying to this email. First come, first served. Or if enough people reach out we can create a sacred virtual space for each other.
Shabbat Shalom. I believe it will be the most important one of my life.