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Every Day Is a Gift

Yael Eckstein's Grandparents

Each and every day that any of us live is a gift from God, something that is especially poignant when we realize how fleeting life can be. Writing at The Jerusalem Post, IFCJ Senior Vice President Yael Eckstein tells how the strength of those who came before her inspires her to appreciate her life in the Holy Land today:

Upon hearing that her 95-year-old great-grandfather was released from the hospital, my nine-year-old daughter looked at me with glistening eyes. “Mommy, every day for Saba Raba is a gift, right?” A tear ran down her face, and I don’t think she knew if it was a tear of relief that he is now okay, or of continued worry.

Staring at my angel who was trying to make sense of this unpredictable world, I sat down and pulled her into my lap. “Baby, for all of us every day is a gift,” I said.

As we sat silently hugging, thoughts of four year- old Adele Bitton, Dafna Meir, the Henkin orphans and the other recent victims of terrorism went through my head. For months, on a daily basis, I have been reading terrorism victims’ stories, seeing their pictures, and visiting with them as part of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews Victims of Terror project, where IFCJ volunteers and staff bring the family of every victim a check for $1,000 within hours of the attack, so that financial burden is the last thing they need to worry about. Seeing these heroes up close brings home the reality of the ongoing terrorism and uncertainty in Israel. It has awakened me to live in the moment and be appreciative of the simple blessings in life that I so often take for granted. Because nothing is a given.

My daughter, deep in thought, looked at me, and it was as if she read my mind. “Especially living in Israel, we realize what a gift each day is,” she said, with a hint of fear and sadness in her sweet voice.

And that’s when it hit me. That’s when I realized that my decision to make aliya before she was born was based on the understanding that no matter where I would be in the world, if I wasn’t in Israel, I wasn’t home. And that no matter what happens in Israel, no matter how scary things might look, there is nowhere else I belong...

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