In the wake of yesterday's shooting attack that left three dead in Gush Etzion, an IFCJ employee who lives near the attack gives us her thoughts on this and the rest of the ongoing violence facing the people of Israel.
The Thursday afternoon routine for an average Jew living in Gush Etzion includes going to the local supermarket to shop for Sabbath groceries.
The Gush Etzion Junction (near Alon Shvut) is where we are lucky enough to have a small shopping center with a nice large supermarket, a great bakery, a health food store, a restaurant, and a few other stores. There is also a small hall that has been turned into a meeting point for all the local IDF soldiers. Every day we all bake goods, make sandwiches, and cook food to bring there. There is a constant list of volunteers that are there to greet the soldiers that come and provide them with some hot drinks, food, and tasty treats.
Many weeks I go to the Gush Etzion Junction with my children to shop and to volunteer or at least drop something off for the soldiers.
Recently, that has not been the situation; I will no longer go there with my kids, as there have been too many terror attacks at this junction.
Today –at the exact time when most of my friends and neighbors are most likely doing their pre-Sabbath shopping, I heard of the dreadful terror attack. I can't describe the hard feelings that run through my body the second I hear of an attack. There is a customary social "tradition" that following a terror attack everyone begins to call anyone they know that lives in that area to make sure that they are okay. But today I was faced with a challenge – how do I call my entire community, all my friends, my whole support system to see that they are okay? As I was thinking, the beeping of my phone began as many people I know reached out to check up on me and my family.
Today we had a professional seminar for IFCJ employees. Being that I am nine months pregnant and due to give birth in about a week, our executive vice president had offered to drive me home so that I would not have to take the bus. During our drive home we heard of the attack. Once I got home and things settled a bit, I realized that we had been saved. Originally the seminar was planned to end at 3:30pm, which means that we would have been in the area attack at about 4:30pm – the exact time the attack happened. Thank God there was a bit of a delay in the itinerary and we ended the seminar a half hour later than planned. It is very possible that that half hour saved our lives.
I have so many feelings running through me right now. Grateful. Sad. Angry. Exhausted. Frightened. Strong. Determined. Hopeful. So many emotions felt at once. The fact that it hit so close to home and the high likelihood that "it could have been me" really shook me up today.
I mourn the victims who were murdered today. I mourn the fact that tonight many children are going to bed crying because one of the people murdered was an inspirational high school teacher in the local school. I mourn this awful reality.
But we are strong and determined. We will not let terror win. Terror will not stop us from living a happy and meaningful life in the land of Israel. The support and friendship that we have from IFCJ's donors gives us so much strength and hope. Thank you. Am Israel Chai!