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One Month

11/07/2023 08:00:40 AM

Nov7

Rabbi Micah Peltz

Today marks one month since Hamas terrorists infiltrated Israel.  In Judaism, 30 days is the shloshim period of mourning.  It is at this point, after the loss of a loved one, that mourners, with the exception of children for parents, cross yet another threshold into the new normal. 

I write this from the south of Israel.  Currently I am in Ofakim, a town that was attacked.  Earlier today we went to visit Kfar Aza, a town that TBS trips have visited.  I first visited Kfar Aza with an AIPAC trip in 2018. Rabbi Lindemann has taken many groups there. It is located just a couple of kilometers from the Gaza border.  When I visited Kfar Aza the first time, we learned how residents live under constant threat from Hamas rockets. They only have 10-15 seconds to get to a bomb shelter after a siren sounds.  On October 7, Hamas terrorists broke through the fence of the kibbutz and drove in on pick-up trucks with terrorists with AK-47s hanging off the sides.  It sounds like a sense from a movie, but this was real.  They tore through the town, murdering men, women and children in the most sadistic of ways.  There were 900 residents in Kfar Aza.  On October 7, 58 were murdered and many more were taken hostage. While there we met one women who was a third generation resident. It was her first time coming back to Kfar Aza since October 7.

She pointed at homes, telling us what happened to the people from each house. From this house two twin children in taken hostage, from that house this person was killed, across the street this person was injured, and so on.  I am still processing the level of death and destruction that took place in Kfar Aza. You can see from the pictures some of it. But it doesn’t begin to describe the viciousness of the attack.  

We also met with Idit and her son Itamar, who lived in Sde Nitzan, just 7.2 km from the border with Gaza.  They aren’t able to return to their home or to their Masorti synagogue.  Itamar, who is 16, doesn’t yet have a new school to go to.  The ripples from October 7 extend far and wide. 

As Idit was finishing her story, she said something that I think sums up the feelings of many in Israel right now.  She said that though this happened a month ago, she is still waiting for the day after.  We might be marking the end of shloshim for October 7, but, like with a personal loss, Israel, it’s people, and all of us are forever changed because of it.

Sun, March 3 2024 23 Adar I 5784