I have found myself making subtle changes. This morning, I took a cab to school instead of the bus. When I got out of the cab, instead of my usual, “have a wonderful day,” I found myself saying, “be safe.” It is a funny thing, the terrorists are trying to shake the resolve of the Israelis, but they are sabras, their resolve to carry on is strong. The ones who are heading for the hills, perhaps myself included are the Americans, the ones who aren’t used to the tension in a greater sense. I by no means encourage all zarim to leave, rather, I want to express solidarity with those who choose to and on the other hand to express my pride and respect for those who choose to persevere.
Why am I holding back tears? I am truly not frightened, at least not for myself. Instead, I am saddened; saddened that the status quo has been altered. My fiancée cannot stop crying; hers are tears of fear. I find myself frustrated with her fear, which is not fair to her at all. I apologize to her for not being adequately equipped to offer her words of comfort. Reason and rationality do not inform her fear. It is instead informed by the shattering of a world and a life that we have built here for ourselves over the course of the last nearly nine months. How do I tell her that everything will be alright? I know that the likelihood of being struck by lightning to being in a car crash (especially in Israel) is far greater than to be involved in some way with a piguah, or terrorist attack.
Is it my connection to God that is finally resurfacing? In the past, I felt uncomfortable even using an upper case “g” in order to write God. Or is it my connection to people that is strengthening? I’m feeling more tied to prayer already as well. I always used to think that I’d be one of those who would be stoic and stand firm when the violence inevitably started, but that’s an easy thought to have when enjoying a period of relative calm in Israel, or when viewing the violence from the safety of the Midwest. I see now I am not the pillar of concrete I imagined myself to be, rather a man of flesh and blood, of emotion and feeling. This was a startling realization, yet in a way it is liberating; like finally shrugging off the uniform of a foreign army. Let me be me and react the way that is natural for me. Let me remove my mask and see the world with my own eyes and heart.