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  • Writer's pictureMadison Jackson

Israel, We Are Thinking About You

Outside, in the very faint distance, there is a thudding sound that repeats over and over again. The noise is so faint in fact, that at first, my mom has to point it out to me.

Of course, once she does, I can’t stop hearing it, and it suddenly becomes the constant, unneeded background noise for my work-at-home bedroom office.

I can’t stop thinking how the noise I’m hearing is similar, albeit, much quieter and probably less frequent, than the very noise Israelis were forced to endure all last night, and over the past few days.

I can sit in my bedroom listening to the thud, thud, of what is likely construction workers beginning to dig up a street in my neighborhood, with no sense of urgency or fear. Oh that’s interesting, there is a thumping noise, I calmly and nonchalantly respond to my mom.

The noise is getting more constant and more annoying. How am I supposed to focus on my work?

But in Israel, that noise is a lot more than annoying. That noise makes everyone jump to their feet and instantly, sometimes in less than 15 seconds, move to a bomb shelter. If they are lucky they have a safe place right inside their apartment, if they are a little less lucky, they have a communal space for their whole apartment building, and in some situations, the noise of rockets, means rushing to a safe stairwell.

A constant thumping noise is nothing to be taken lightly in Israel. It is the potential noise of rockets being launched at innocent citizens who just want to live their lives. It is the noise of terrorists whose killing mechanisms are waiting to fall on your very house and eliminate you from this earth.

Why can’t Jews be left alone? Why can’t Jews just be Jewish? What made Judaism something to hate?

Myself at the Kotel (the Western Wall) in Jerusalem, in 2018

I can’t even begin to imagine what it is like to live in Israel and be attacked by rockets. While this most recent attack on the country might be the worst since 2014, it isn’t an infrequent occurrence. Kids train at school how to prepare for an attack, how to rush to a bomb shelter. Kids should be training for becoming writers, lawyers, doctors, engineers, programmers, or teachers.

Little kids were woken up at 3:00 am for fear of their lives. What did a little kid ever do to anyone?

While Israel is home to the Jewish people, I don’t live there, I live in the United States, and so I will never pretend to truly understand what the people of the country are going through right now. In my country, homes aren't equipped with bomb shelters. We don't worry about rockets regularly taking over the sky. The best I can do is hope and pray for the safety of Israel, and support the country and its people, from afar.

Myself at the Rishon LeZion Beach, close to Tel Aviv, in 2018

At the moment, what I am thankful for, is the fact that there are Jews all over the world, who, whether speaking out loud about it or not, are thinking about Israel. Wherever we live, we are together in our thoughts and wishes, and we are one community united by the pain of one country. Our thoughts won’t fix the major problem. Jews being attacked is nothing new. Every day, my newsfeed fills with the most recent anti-Semitic act towards Jews literally anywhere and everywhere in the world. Be it the burning of a synagogue, the vandalism of a Jewish school, or, a government banning the wearing of kippot. But if nothing else, our thoughts allow us to appreciate the sense that we are not alone.

At the Global Jewish Pen Pal Program, our goal and our focus is to educate individuals about Jewish life around the world. While many organizations focus on Israel, not as many organizations focus on the vibrant Jewish life in the Diaspora. So we focus on that. But Israel is part of the Jewish world, and Israel is a topic that connects Jews wherever we live. And so today, we write about Israel. We focus on Israel. We think about all the beautiful ways this country has brought so many people together. And we hope, as always, for a better tomorrow.

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