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Unified in Our Grief and Our Prayers

Portrait of Yael Eckstein

July 1, 2014

Shalom,

The Israel Defense Forces were searching for the three kidnapped boys – Gilad, Eyal, and Naftali – for 18 days. The 18th day is when the soldiers and volunteers found their bodies.

In Hebrew, the number 18 is the equivalent to the word chai, which means life. For 18 days the Jewish people – and the world – had life, because we were unified in prayers for these boys to come home. On the 18th day they came home, but not in the way any of us wanted.

For the people of Israel, the deaths of these three young men are not political but very personal. These boys were our boys. Yet, as the mother of one of the boys so inspiringly said a week ago, “God is not our employee,” and we cannot direct Him.

I believe that everything God does is out of love and for the best, but this devastating news is just so hard to handle. I am praying we keep the unity through prayer that has bound us all together in the past weeks. And may God give us all strength and bless His world with shalom (peace).

Yael

Yael Eckstein praying at Western Wall

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Yael Eckstein in front of burned field in southern Israel

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