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You Inspire Us
And a Note to Parents
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

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10/16/15

You Inspire Us

And a Note to Parents

By: Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

To My Dear Israeli Brothers and Sisters:

I honestly don’t know how you do it. How you survive the waves of terror attacks (see searing reports below from Mrs. Romi Sussman and an anonymous mother in Yerushalayim), knifings, car rammings, rock throwing, missiles and even wars. How you deeply mourn the dead, then stoically stiffen your backs and proceed as if nothing had happened. How your island of democracy and freedom thrives in a sea of despotism and chaos.

What I do know is how you all inspire your brothers and sisters worldwide whose “hearts are in the East,” beating along with yours; who worry, pray and grieve in solidarity with you from thousands of miles away. We are in awe of your inner strength and, religiously observant or otherwise, in your faith in Hashem and your faith in our destiny as a nation.

(NOTE: I strongly encourage fellow Jews living in the Diaspora to post notes of support and solidarity to our brothers and sisters in the thread below this column. Please include your name and city where you live to personalize your message.)

We at Project YES got several calls/emails from Israeli parents requesting advice on how to calm their children’s fears in these terribly challenging days and nights. I hope you find these lines helpful:

• Permit me to begin by sharing with you an excellent resource provided by my dear chaver Dr. Ronald Wachtel, founding director of Kav L’Noar, Parenting in Times of Terror. Kav L’Noar emailed this to their list earlier this week.

• Be there for your children and remember that very often listening to them carefully is more important than speaking. Allow them to share their fears and concerns – and even their questions of faith (Why is Hashem letting this happen to us?). Always keep in mind that an unasked question is an unanswered one.

• For the faith-based questions, I hope you find Teiku -- Explaining the Inexplicable helpful. We posted it after the horrific death of Eyal, Gilad and Naftali HY"D last summer.

• Don’t make promises you can’t keep. Tell the children that they are safe in your home, and that you as parents will do everything possible to keep them safe, but don’t say things like, “Nothing will ever happen to you.”

• Keep in mind that your children are watching you very carefully and that you will be modeling lessons of resiliency that your kids will draw on all their lives. Please see Tough Times Don't Last; Tough People Do, an essay we ran in Mishpacha Magazine during the most difficult days of “The Great Recession,” a few years back.

• Finally, don’t be terribly concerned with the fact that you won’t or may not have all the “right” answers. Just being there and doing your best is usually more than sufficient.

Fourteen years ago, on the day following 9-11, I conducted several assemblies with the students in our yeshiva to calm their understandable fears. To prepare myself for that difficult task, I read all the right material and spoke to all the right people. But things don’t always turn out the way we hope they do. One of the important pointers I read and heard about was telling the children (as noted above) that we will do everything possible to keep them safe.

Well, shortly after our students arrived home that night, a father of a middle-school student called me to share the humorous thing his son told him when they were reviewing the day’s events. When his father asked him what I shared with them during the assembly and how it made him feel, his son replied, “I felt much more comfortable when Rabbi Horowitz started speaking, but I started getting really worried when he said how safe we were five or six times.”

Shabbat Shalom to you, my dear brothers and sisters. May Hashem grant you tranquility and shalom, and may He guard the brave soldiers and security forces who are protecting His people.

With admiration, love and respect.

Yakov Horowitz

The letter below is from Mrs. Romi Sussman, a wife and mother living in Neve Doniel in Israel, experiencing the horrific situation that is now going on.

This letter is real and true.

We aren’t in the midst of a conflict here in Israel.

You read that right. There’s no conflict.

A conflict is inherently an event where two parties are engaged in a fight, a battle, a struggle.

There’s no conflict in Israel right now.

There is terror. Period.

Out and out one-sided terror.

When I see the coverage that the international media offers to what’s happening here, I feel like I’m living inside The Onion, an American digital media company and news satire organization. The coverage is simply too far-fetched to be believed – and yet it’s being believed around the world.

Last week, a well-educated Arab woman walked into a bus station in Afula with a knife and tried to stab a soldier. The soldier got away but she refused to put the knife down, and eventually had to be shot in the legs. The Arab world, showing a picture of her and then a picture of her on the ground, reported that she was killed in cold blood with no justification.

Another day, two brothers aged 13 and 15 set out to stab Jews. After stabbing and critically injuring two people, they were stopped by our forces. The 15 year old was killed. Abbas himself has reported that we killed the 13 year old in cold blood with no justification. Not only did we not kill him, but he’s getting medical attention at this time in our hospital at Hadassah after ripping a 13 year old boy off of his bike and trying to kill him. In the Arab social media world, they have shown a picture of the Arab 13 year old boy who was “just on his way to the mall” and declared that we killed him in cold blood. And yet, this video (which I'll warn you is very disturbing) shows exactly what those boys were doing that day and why they were out on the street.

There is no conflict here.

There is terror.

In another recent incident, an Arab Israeli, with the same rights and privileges that I experience in Israel (and probably a much higher salary), used his Bezeq company car to crash into a bus stop and savagely kill a 60 year old Rabbi standing there waiting for a bus.

The most stunning piece occurred when a Mounir Kleibo, who heads the UN bureau of the International Labor Organization in the Palestinian Territories, was hurt Friday by rock throwing in East Jerusalem. While recovering in an Israeli hospital, he wrote that “Allah will forgive the rock throwers.”

Furthermore, a UN coordinator, Robert Piper, condemned the attack “on a clearly marked United Nations (UN) vehicle traveling on Route 50 in East Jerusalem, which seriously injured a senior UN official.” Meaning that if it hadn’t been a UN car it would have been alright, and justified, but that they shouldn’t have thrown rocks at a clearly marked UN car.

And then, of course, there is this video going around the world that shows Arabs exactly how to stab Jews.

The world has gone made. And we feel it.

And as we feel it, this is what I know.

I know that I’m putting my purse high up so that my four year old doesn’t find the pepper spray that I’m now carrying around 24/7.

I know that my son is carrying pepper spray as well that I hope he never uses, and that they are giving them self-defense courses at his school.

I know that I’m spending two hours tomorrow in a self-defense course and many hours in the next few weeks becoming more comfortable with the gun that I absolutely do not want to carry.

I know that we are paying thousands of shekels next week to get one of our cars rock proofed (the other one already is) so that we can drive the roads that we live on; the roads that our ancestors have walked on for thousands of years.

I know that I check the news obsessively and check in with my family members even more.

I know that I have to tell my 13 year old that he’s only allowed to look at the news for a few minutes each afternoon and that he’s not allowed to look at videos. Gd only knows how he’s processing all of this.

And I know that my 7 and 9 year olds have been talking about how they would get away from a knife-yielding terrorist.

And I know that amazingly resourceful Israelis have been using everything at their disposal to stop terrorists from selfie sticks and umbrellas to nunchucks. Really. Read it.

I know that all of this – all of this – would go away if they would just stop. The violence in this entire country would be over if the Arabs would stop being violent. Period.

We would still have a long way to go at that point, and many questions to answer. Again and again, Israel has asked the Arab population to come to the table. We have offered land; we have withdrawn from Gaza; we are willing to try. But the PA has created a situation by using Har Habayit/Al-Aksa as a spark to start the fire of their own making, while lying to their people the entire time. And while keeping their own people from building, creating and dreaming of a better future.

Because violence is so much easier.

This is not a conflict. We aren’t in conflict when I drive down the road praying not to get hit by a rock or a bullet aimed at me.

We aren’t in conflict when I walk the streets, looking behind me at every turn. And we aren’t in conflict when I go to the grocery store and manage to take products off the shelves behind my back so that I have a view of the aisle behind me. We aren’t in conflict when I have to think to myself “Never turn your back, even when you’re picking out tomatoes.”

We aren’t in conflict.

We are being murdered. Period.

And we are alone with this terror as the world evaluates if we are using “excessive force” and if we are “brutalizing” the Arabs murdering us.

And, unless you live here and walk the streets with me each day, you can’t imagine how that feels.

Our special thanks to Mr. Larry Levine hafganah.hodaya@gmail.com for sending us Mrs. Sussman's letter and obtaining permission for us to publish it and forward it to you.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Hashem is in Control

By: An Anonymous Writer in Yerushalayim

It's Thursday afternoon, and I'm preparing for Shabbos like every other week. But... this Thursday is different.

I usually have my Erev-Shabbos schedule down pat. I'm a very structured person and I like things to be just so.

This Thursday, though, my husband did the Shabbos shopping bein hasedarim because I am afraid of the Arab workers in Hachi Kedai.

This Thursday, my Chessed girl called to cancel because her seminary is in lockdown.

This Thursday, I am cooking for just us because my brother-in-law's Yeshiva is having a mandatory in-Shabbos as a result of the current situation.

This Thursday, I am not concerned about scheduling my baby's nap early enough so we can get to the park before bedtime, because all we mothers feel that the park is too exposed for our comfort.

I haven't gone out in a few days- I have been postponing all my errands.

I feel trapped; cooped up. And scared.

Everything is different.

Or is it?

I am reminded of another Thursday afternoon, two years ago. That Thursday, we were snowed in.

My husband did the shopping because I was afraid of the unsalted streets.

My Chessed girl cancelled because she could not get from her neighborhood to mine.

I cooked for just us because no guests were willing to brave the treacherous roads.

I made no plans to go to the park because the park was lost beneath a sea of white.

And I did not even attempt to run errands.

I felt cooped up just the same. But not scared.

And all those similarities got me thinking.

Weather is beyond my control, as are terrorists. And just like Hashem will decide without my help when there will be storm and when will be sun, so too He decides when and where the knife will pierce. Which plans will be thwarted and which evil intentions averted.

If He is not stopping those knives, there is a reason.

And if that knife is meant to pierce, the safety of my walls is no safety at all.

So the only thing we CAN control is how we respond to the message Hashem is sending us with such force. Paralyzing fear (my reaction till now) is understandable, but doesn't accomplish much. Instead, I am using this extended time indoors with my children to get to know them better, to play with them more. I am learning to feel proud of living here in fear- of staying in Eretz Yisrael when it's not comfortable. I am learning to value our emunas chachamim when I send my husband to kollel without too much fear because R' Chaim shlit"a said talmidei chachamim will be protected. And I am learning to surrender control to Hashem.

It's a pretty important lesson. From the storms of anger, terrorism and snow, I learned my place.

Let us pray that Hashem now begins to show His ultimate control by bringing absolute Shalom and eternal peace to Klal Yisrael!



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1. We stand with you! We love you!     10/16/15 - 1:33 AM
Malka Wolf - New York

I can't even begin to imagine waking up every morning, not knowing what new horrors to expect. In times like these, I am glued to my computer and thanking Hashem for each hour that passes without incident. I can't begin to imagine the bravery of soldiers and police officers. I try to put myself in their place, and in the place of their family members but I just can't. I try to put myself in the place of a parent sending their child off to school and I can't. You are simply, lemalah min hatevah!

So when I read the libel that is written against Israel I am filled with frustration and anger. I can't even begin to imagine how you feel when you read it! Such lies can only be spewed by people who are completely delusional or by those who are truely evil.

While looking through the lenses of our biased media it may seem like the world condemns you. But please know this; any person with a mind and a conscience stands with you. The way you combat hate with humanity and humor speaks volumes of who we are as a people and as a land. So whenever you hear someone say anything against the people of Israel, know that there are 10 others who are shouting just as loud about how awesome you are! Our shouts may be muffled, but we will not stop shouting!

I am so humbled, and at the same time so proud to be part of such a beautiful nation! Am Yisroel Chai! Please continue to stay strong and stay safe!!

With much love from New York, Malka Wolf


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2. We are with you!     10/16/15 - 9:06 AM
Raphie - Thornhill, Ontario

To our brothers and sisters in the holy land,

I don't want to spend too much time trying to explain to you how we feel your pain, cry with you, suffer with you and so on; we are not there you are! I do want you to know that we love you all, we think about you every moment of every day and we bless you and the holy land with peace, love and tranquility.

We are very aware of the truth, of the barbaric, violent hatred and terror that the Palestinians are imposing on to you. We are sharing it with as many people as we can. I would like to bless the Israeli government with the courage, strength and faith to make the correct decisions in such a desperate time.


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3. A Perfect Day- Redefined     10/18/15 - 4:56 AM
Rivkie Berger - Jerusalem - rivkieberger@gmail.com

A perfect day is when... ...I remember to lay out clothing and make lunches the night before.

A perfect day is when... ...I remember it is Rosh Chodesh and I don't have to repeat Shmona Esre

A perfect day is when... ...my kids are waiting at the door at 8am, fully dressed, teeth brushed, faces scrubbed with their lunch boxes. ( ok, that one is more of a fantasy.)

A perfect day is when... ...I have time to daven, excersize, eat and shower all in the morning before work.

A perfect day is when... ...there are no dishes waiting for me in the sink.

A perfect day is when... ...I have time to sit with a friend for a coffee before the kids get home from Gan.

A perfect day is when... ...the sirens I hear are from a woman hurrying to the hospital to give birth.

A perfect day is when... ...I can walk to the shuk without looking over my shoulder

A perfect day is when... ...the news at the top of the hour is about new taxes and traffic on the 443

A perfect day is when... ...nobody dies.


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4. "Keish echad belev echad "     10/18/15 - 12:13 PM
Aliza Cohen

Thank you for sharing your inspiring thoughts. Thank you for sharing your clarity! May The Almighty continue to give you emotional spiritual and physical health to handle it. We're with you, praying you stay safe. Warmly, Aliza


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5. It's Time     10/18/15 - 6:57 PM
Anonymous - NY

Although we know that hundreds of calamities are avoided daily due to the diligence and hard work of Israeli troops, police, border guards, etc., the government is not doing enough to protect its own citizens.

I think it's time that Israeli citizens start demonstrating in the streets until their politicians take notice, disregard what the rest of the world tries to tell them to do, and does what is necessary and works.

There is stricter and harsher treatment of its own Jewish citizens than of arab terrorists in Israel. Until Israel deals more harshly with terrorists and the PLO they will see us as ' weak ' and easy prey and continue their reign of terror.

Let Israel use its stink bomb technology on Gaza and Palestinian and arab areas each time a stabbing takes place. Decimate the homes and streets that perpetrators come from. Turn off their electricity--we all know that Israel provides electricity to parts of gaza. The entire family of any terrorist or agitator should be immediately stripped of Israeli citizenship and deported, and banished from ever returning.

You cannot fight terror and subhuman behavior with talking, and negotiating, and placating, and humanitarian gestures, and trying to be nice. You need to fight an enemy in a language they speak, understand, and relate to.

It was well reported in the news how several members of Abbas's family received medical care in Israel even around the time of Operation Protective Edge. This should be illegal--let the Palestinians get medical care in Dubai or Saudi Arabia, from their ' own '.

Don't provide medical care to injured terrorists--there should be no injured terrorists: Israeli troops, police, security guards should be empowered to shoot to kill, as a measure of self-defense for our people.


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6. We can't stop thinking about you!     10/19/15 - 5:52 AM
Rivkie - Lakewood

Just a short note to let you know how much we care & have you in our thoughts constantly. Acheinu Kol Bais Yisroel- every single person is our closest relative...we can't stop thinking about you!

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