click here to jump to start of article
  • Torah Reading: Naso
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​

My Response to Terror

My Response to Terror

Five years ago I needed to do something in response – so I moved to Israel. But that doesn't work anymore.

by Rachel Isaacs

When I was living in America, each time there was a terrorist attack in Israel, I was seized with an awful feeling that screamed, "How can I be in America? There was a terrorist attack in Israel. How can I be here going on with my regular life. I need to DO something."

And so I moved to Israel. A big part of my decision to move here was to lend support to those people in Israel who were struggling under a threat of terror. I felt that by placing myself in Israel, I send a message to God that I care about this land and I am doing my part to hasten the ingathering of the exiles.

That worked for a while. But now, five years later as the freshness of my aliyah has worn off, it doesn't work anymore.

Yesterday, I was at work having a pretty rough day. My boss was receiving the Presidential Award for Volunteerism and I had a lot to do to prepare for the event. It was the kind of day where there was a lot of pressure and nothing was going right. Then, I heard about the attack in the center of Jerusalem. One wild terrorist attacked a busload of people in Jerusalem and smashed a number of cars and their drivers. Three people were killed and 53 were injured.

"Noooo!!" screamed a voice in my head. "Not again! We can't live like this! God please help us!" Then I took a deep breath and returned to work. After all, terrorist or not, I had work to do.

Last night I arrived at the President's house to see 12 outstanding members of our nation honored for their dedication to helping people.

*  Shoshana Agajani received the award for being the founder of volunteerism in Beersheva

*  Gila Zeidel received the award for her support to children with sight problems and their families. Ms. Zeidel was then serenaded by her blind daughter. The room sang along to Naomi Shemer''s classic "For All of these Things" (I cried)

*  Atara Chaimowitz received the award for creating a safe home for children with the illness SMA.

*  The organization Chasdei Naomi received the award for their help in distributing food to the needy, particularly widows and those who are visiting people in the hospital.

*  LEAD received the award for developing young leadership in Israel

*  YEDID received the award for their work in social welfare. One of Yedid''s 1,000 volunteers spoke about how she came asking for help and ended up learning that giving back to her community is one of the best things she can do to help herself.

*  Amin Kasem received the award for his work to preserve Beduin communities and build bridges between Beduins and Jews.

*  Benjamin Kriti received the award for work in helping families at risk all over the country.

*  Rav Yosef Zvi Rimon received the award for helping evacuees from Gush Katif and Northern Samaria to return to the workforce.

*  Levi Luyav, age 17, received the award for overcoming his personal difficulties and caring for an elderly woman.

*  And in the most poignant moment of the ceremony, the parents and siblings of Omri Gilor, received the award and a standing ovation on behalf of Omri. Omri was critically injured in hiking accident while on vacation with his family. During the 2 months before his death, he made the decision to become an organ donor. In his death, he saved many lives. (I cried again)

I can continue to raise my family and build my community and work in places that aim to better this country.

Sitting under the canopy, with 1,000 other attendees, I realized that as a citizen of this country, there is something I can do as a response to terror. I can continue to raise my family and build my community and work in places that aim to better this country. One of the speakers explained that it is easy to look at the terror attacks and think that this is what Israel is all about. But really, we know that the strength of our people is the individuals who were honored with this award. People who make a decision to make a difference in this country and help make our nation stronger.

I felt proud to be at the ceremony and proud to be connected to people who won the award. A terrorist attacked civilians in downtown Jerusalem and 1,000 people at that ceremony, me included, celebrated 12 people who have changed thousands of lives. There is goodness, health and wellness in this nation. I'm going to keep on focusing on the light.

I pray that those who were injured will be healed, the families of those who were killed will be comforted and those who were helped by the recipients will grow stronger and continue to spread their light.

July 5, 2008

Give Tzedakah! Help create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.
The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 6

(6) sharon, July 15, 2008 2:31 PM

What a coward is and isn't

Juan, I beg to differ. A coward is someone who allows fear to limit the possibilities of his/her life. The guy who stays stuck in a dead-end job because he is afraid to face bigger challenges may be a coward, but he is not EVIL. The name for one who takes another's life is a murderer. One must be clear on this. He who has compassion on the cruel will in the end be cruel to the compassionate. It's called moral clarity.

(5) Juan Bracho, July 10, 2008 8:52 PM

incident in Jerusalem

Dear Rachel:
I too feel that I need to do something to help Israel combat "Ter......". A word, which I don't even want to finish saying it. (I will explain.)
I am a converted Jew.......since I married my soul mate Susan 19 years ago.
We visited Israel 2 times and each time I leave with the feeling that my heart has been stretched and love has been poured on it. the point.
As long as we keep calling these people that do these horrible offenses "terrorists" we are falling into their trap.
What America and Israel need to do is to lead the world with a fight of psychological warefare against these people by refusing to call them "terr......" but by start to call them "cowards."
COWARDISM.......... is not a word in the dictionary but is a word that needs to be instituted just like the word "google" has been added into our vocabulary.
A coward is a person that attacks from the back. A coward is a person that attacks innocent civialians, women and children. A coward is an individual who fires a rocket from the top of and innocent civialian that is locked in...for the purpose to avoid retaliation from a country that has morals and values like Israel.
A coward is a person that does not want to face you and confront you face to face.
I was happy to see the video cameras that were in the streets inside king David fortress. More cameras have to be in place to increase the coverage of our backs, so to speak.
So ever since I came back from my last trip to Israel last year, I take every opportunity to share this idea with anyone who wants to follow this and I challenge you to correct yourself by getting into the habit of not calling them with the "T" word anymore and to start calling them for what they really are..........COWARDS....
Then if millions and millions of people reckognize this need over the world, then those who want to be remembered as martyrs and kill themselves will know that they are going to be remembered not as martyrs but as cowards. And maybe then.........they will reason a bit and stop themselves from acting negatively and then ............this world could have more peace and prepare ourselves for the coming of the Messiah. Furthermore, we could also add the word "brother" to any other religion or country and then that could increase our chances of universal brotherhood. So I challenge you to say, my brother Arab, my brother the Christian, or my brother Hindu, etc...
Universal brotherhood, dialogue, psychological warefare, prayer, that is the answer.
Everytime I pray the Amidah.....I go a bit slower in the part that says:
Tishkon betoj yerushalayim ireja kaasher dibarta........
so yes, God helps us but he also helps us when we act upon our act now....change your tomorrow. Today you make a commitment to converse with anyone you know, to e-mail anyone you can to start changing the way we talk to these people. Give it a may be amazed of the results. Use the work "COWARDISM INSTEAD OF THE WORD TE......."
With all my love in my heart,

(4) Shulie, July 7, 2008 10:05 AM

Israel is a great place to live in

I read it, and I am overwhelmed. I was born in Israel and now I raise my children here, and I think that if you take out the terror, Israel is a great place to live in - because of the people!!! We are lucky to have people like you joining us.

(3) Anonymous, July 6, 2008 9:15 AM

me too

we r only here two yrs but for years in the states whenever something happened here i too reacted as u did
now we r here and i realize that every one of us has the ability to change things for the better To sit and shout and cry then go back to everyday activities does nothing
We must all if we can, volunteer, speak out when necessary and b proactive not reactive
i am still wearing my orange gk bracelet and have become attached to some of the people who r rebuilding their lives
may Hashem in His mercy bless us all and give us the strength and bitachon to help ourselves to live in our country

(2) richard reiser, July 6, 2008 5:55 AM

This beautiful article must be balanced by articulating the view that supporters of destructive behaviour must be held responsible for their actions.

Rachel's article speaks volumes about what is right with mankind in general and Israel in particular. Almost all of the folks receiving these rewards were about caring for victims who had no control over their circumstances. An equal if not greater effort needs to applied toward creating a national AND international discussion AND plan of action toward holding those individuals, organizations and governments responsible for aiding and abetting these acts, rather than making excuses for them. Until that happens, we will continue to expend all that energy toward victims of terror rather than other constructive human enterprise.

See All Comments

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.

  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment