Times in Israel in the recent weeks have been a little stressful to say the least. As we go by with our regular daily activities we don’t even realize how the stress of the unexpectedness plays on our subconscious. The super-sensitive hearing I have developed as I hear every siren wailing through the streets from a distance, as it gets closer. I listen out to hear whether there are multiple sirens or just one, the constant checking over my shoulder while walking the street, catching my bus or doing my shopping, and the continuous checking of news sites and Facebook to see if there has been another attack and worst of all, once an attack has occurred, G-d forbid, do I know any of the victims?? These are the real anxieties we face, the fear and the constant vigilance has become a part of who we are whether we realize it or not.
However, having said that, life goes on, life is not only good, life is great. Israel is strong, the people of Israel are strong. Amongst the uncertainty, life is full and flourishing. Kids play happily in the park after school, while the malls and the cinemas are full and the restaurants are bustling with people enjoying themselves. Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs and Smachot are happening every day and every night, because while there is unrest there is also an incredible feeling of calm and safety. It’s unexplainable yet so real.
As I sit at work my inbox is still full of clients emailing to plan their upcoming Israel trip. Three o’clock in the afternoon hits, USA wakes up, and my phone starts ringing. Client after client, more planning, more reservations, more questions and more people scheduling their arrivals. “Nervous? Maybe a little, but that’s not going to stop me” I heard this morning. “It’s my first time and I’ve been waiting for this trip all my life!” they share. “We can’t wait to see you next week” they say.
Today as I celebrate Thanksgiving, despite the turmoil and the unrest I could not be prouder, happier or more grateful about living in Israel and being a part of this special people who can cry but never be broken. A people who can astoundingly turn the deepest sadness into the greatest joy. Just two weeks ago Rabbi Yakov Lipman Z”L and his son Netanel Z”L were killed while driving on their way to celebrate the Shabbat before the Rabbi’s daughter’s wedding. Tonight on Thanksgiving Eve, Sara Lipman will be celebrating her wedding with not only her guest list but with the nation of Israel and the Jewish people. The couple publicly invited the whole country to attend their wedding as a means to focus on the joy and the blessings, and not to be paralyzed by the unexpectedness. In response to this, communities from all around the world have sent representatives to attend the wedding, לשמח החתן וכלה (to bring joy and happiness to the bride and groom). Tonight, as the young couple celebrates their marriage, thousands of their Jewish brothers and sisters will be dancing for the young bridegroom as a token to show our bliss, strength and resilience as people, thank Gd.
So tonight, as I give thanks, I praise the people of Israel, my true brothers and sisters, for being tough, for being proud and for embracing and enveloping ourselves in this incredible piece of land we live in. I thank our global family for all the love and support and I thank our clients who continue to join us by experiencing the beautiful land of Israel; tasting the food, enjoying the culture, meeting the people and letting nothing stop you. It is with thanks to you that the people of Israel can continue as if today is just another wonderful day!