I don't expect many to read this, but I needed to get it off my chest as therapy.
Given that our following is 99.9% Jewish there is no need to explain what happened, what is happening or how we all have been feeling since October 7th. I know each and every one of you has been through the same emotional roller coaster, with feelings of pain, horror, anger, disappointment, and pride. We’ve found strength in our Jewish faith.
I am usually quick in identifying my feelings and my role in unprecedented situations. I usually take a leadership role as I am a doer! But this time, for the past two weeks I have been PARALYZED. I have been attached to my phone reading articles and watching videos. I have put aside most of my daily routines and replaced it with ways that I feel will make a difference like donating money and attending local events to commemorate the fallen. I pray, bake challah, and learn Torah.
We know that this war has different fronts, the physical war that brave soldiers are fighting in Israel, the Media War which many of you are fighting daily, the spiritual war of praying, the legal war, and so many others.
I haven't found my role in this war….and I have been feeling that what I am doing is not enough. I have asked myself, “Why am I not taking leadership on something specific like I always do?” I have been analyzing my reaction to this situation closely.
Today I have an answer.
I do know that this situation has affected me deep in my soul. On Friday 13th when the terrorists called for a day of Jihad I did not feel scared. For some reason, my reaction was quite the opposite. I wanted to show the world that I AM JEWISH AND PROUD and I will not let terror and fear dominate my life.
I sent my kids to school wearing their IDF shirts. I went to pray at the synagogue on Friday night with my husband and kids which I don't do on a weekly basis. I just felt that it was my responsibility to do it. When we were lighting the Shabbat candles which we always do next to the street window, my 9 year old daughter said, “Mom, I think today we should light them inside the house.” I was shocked that this was actually happening. I told her,“No! we are lighting them there like we always do, you do not have to hide your Jewish identity. We have to be Jewish and proud!”
I was raised with the NEVER AGAIN slogan. My grandparents are Holocaust survivors and I always saw that part of history like a thing of the past.
Last week I received a message that hit me! It grounded me and brought me back to my senses after so many days of feeling paralyzed. My non-Jewish friend from my Masters Degree at NYU had bought a mezuzah at the beginning of September from Apeloig Collection as a corporate gift for a client moving to Israel. The mail in Israel is not as reliable as it is in the USA. So,I have been in touch with her because the package was not delivered on time and I was following up with her on the order. The package finally arrived on October 19th. And my friend sent me the LinkedIn post below:
My friend sent me a voice message saying she had goosebumps and that she does not believe in coincidences. She said this story must have an explanation. I thanked her and responded: “I can tell you on my end what the explanation is: I had to be reminded of my life’s mission and purpose as I had been feeling off for the past weeks.”
The fact that the gift came from two non-Jewish people made this story even more powerful and gave me some peace. The media war is one of the things that makes me anxious and worries me the most. Seeing how Anti-Semitism has risen exponentially lately and seeing how Israel is falsely shown as an aggressor state frustrates me deeply. I was moved and inspired that non-Jewish people understand the conflict and respect Judaism by choosing to give this person such a thoughtful gift. It warmed my heart.
The mezuzah serves us as a reminder throughout the day that G-d is always with us inside or outside our homes, protecting us. It also represents Jewish Pride, it's a way to identify one's home as being Jewish. It reminds the person living there that every time they leave their home they have to act as a Jew and behave with the values that the Torah teaches us. Giving and receiving a Mezuzah is not a regular gift, it is a gift with a lot of meaning behind it.
At the beginning of the war, my 9 year old daughter, the same one that felt fear when lighting the candles, innocently told me a suggested solution to the conflict. She said: “Let’s just move Israel somewhere else, maybe closer to the US. If every jew grabs a rock from the Kotel (The Western wall) we can easily move it.”
I actually think she has a great idea. These past days we have seen the power of community. Let's all grab a stone and stand up from the ashes. Let's rebuild what they tried to destroy.
TODAY I take a vow to continue with my life’s mission. I will not be consumed by negative energy which is what the enemy wants us to do. I will use my energy to continue creating Jewish products and jewish content that strengthen us. We have survived for thousands of years and our traditions have survived with us for a reason. We will continue celebrating them and of course we will do it in style which is the only way Apeloig Collection knows how to do it.
My soul is now ready to fight in this battle and I reconnected with my role in this war. We will continue to be a source of light and joy in maintaining our Jewish traditions with pride.
Besides, don't know if you have noticed but our Products Souls are made in Israel and will continue to do so for many years to come…
AM ISRAEL CHAI