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Responsible for One Another

Portrait of Yael Eckstein

July 10, 2014


An eerie silence preceded the dreaded code red siren that wailed through my neighborhood earlier this week. I was sitting at my computer, working on emergency Fellowship projects for Israel’s war-torn cities in the south and praying for their safety when the siren sounded, breaking the silence and shaking me to my core. “This can’t be happening here in central Israel,” I repeated to myself as my mind started to freeze and my heart began to beat so loudly that it drowned out all of the noise around me. But I knew that was simply my denial speaking, and I felt sick as reality sunk in: terrorists can reach every citizen in Israel with their rockets, including this beloved city that my kids call home.

My three children were sleeping in bed when the code red siren blared. For the first five seconds I stood frozen in disbelief, and then I snapped into action. I looked at my watch quickly ticking the seconds of safety away, and I realized that there were only 47 seconds left until a rocket would strike somewhere nearby. I felt myself panic because there was no time to grab all three children and get them to the relative safety of my staircase in time. I picked up my sleeping baby and ran to the stairs, simultaneously yelling out to my husband downstairs to grab our two older children and to meet me in the stairwell.

Thank God, we all made it in time. The siren sounded for another five seconds, and then another eerie silence set in. My husband spotted me holding our baby tightly and shaking, and tried to calm me down. “It’s over, sweetie,” he said, trying to reassure me. “It’s only beginning,” I replied.

Needless to say, I had a hard time sleeping that night. “Why did I need to experience that, Lord?” I asked for hours, until I clearly heard His answer.

God placed on my heart an ancient Jewish teaching that says that we should say to ourselves every day “the entire world was created for me.” Using this teaching to try and heal, I realized that God wanted me to feel and experience what Israel’s southern residents have been going through for years.

Yes, I have visited victims of terror, created projects to help Israel’s people stay safe, and I have even visited Sderot and other cities during their times of need. I have held mothers’ hands and shared tears as they told me about the need to decide which one of their multiple children to bring to safety when the sirens sound and they only have 15 seconds until the rockets land. I have heard the stories and cried in prayer for peace.

But that was all theoretical. Now that I have experienced what my brothers and sisters in southern Israel have been experiencing for years, I can confidently say that they are the heroes and warriors of Israel. There is a Jewish teaching that says “all of the people of Israel are responsible for one another,” and that is the lesson that the code red siren taught me.

Just as I thought, the first code red siren I experienced was not the last. In the past few days, we have heard the siren blare several times, and each experience is just as terrifying as the first one was.

The fear in my heart is still very present, but all day and night I am directing my energy into creating lifesaving emergency Fellowship projects throughout Israel. In the past week, we have already implemented dozens of projects for the people of Israel in the war zone on behalf of Christians and Jews around the world. This, my friends, is prophetic.

The prayers, support, and love that Israel has been receiving from our Christian friends around the world is heartwarming. During my most difficult times, this is what gives me hope for the future and comfort in knowing that we’re not alone. Praise God, we stand for Israel together!

With prayers for shalom, and blessings from the Holy Land,


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