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My Son Jumped from a Plane and It Wasn’t for Fun

My Son Jumped from a Plane and It Wasn’t for Fun

An Israeli mother dreams of peace and a carefree youth for her son.

by

Today my son jumped out of a plane. Exciting, scary, but it wasn’t for a fun reason.

He jumped out of a plane because our enemies are still intent on killing us. On destroying who we are and what we believe in.

After thousands of years of persecution, you’d think it would be enough.

Nope. Different faces, different cultures, different religions, but the goal is the same – wipe out the Jew. Call him something new this time to hide the hatred – call him “The Zionist” instead – but the goal is the same. Exterminate the Jews.

So my son in the Israel Defense Forces jumped out of an airplane because some day he may have to go behind enemy lines in the dead of night in order to retrieve a fellow soldier who’s been kidnapped. Because some day he may have to perform reconnaissance, making sure an area isn’t booby trapped for maximum carnage.

My son, the one who accompanied his father to shul every Shabbat and sat next to him for the entire service with devotion and sincerity, who told the young boy who was bullied in elementary school to stick with him – he is now crawling through thickets for hours and days and weeks at a time, getting awakened and roughed up by his officers in the middle of the night, and learning to go without enough food. Because that’s what our enemy would do to him if he could, God forbid. And worse.

The quiet of the status quo can be deceiving. We know it can be destroyed in an instant on the flimsiest of excuses, as recent horrific events have clearly demonstrated.

It is not an easy thing, being an Israeli mother. We worry about our children’s safety, our spouse’s, our neighbors’. It is an endless worry, an endless prayer.

But I am grateful. Grateful that we have our land after thousands of years of wandering. Grateful that Jews all over the world can visit when they want, move here if they choose. Grateful that even though there is arguing and protests and international angst over the way things are run here – they are run… here. Our home.

I am grateful to belong to a community where, when loved ones are victims in neighboring towns, we attend funerals or pay a shiva call even though we don’t know the families, because we feel we are all one family. I am grateful and proud to hear our youth singing, Am Yisrael Chai, the Jewish people are alive -- we're still here, standing proud.

As Tisha B’Av approaches, I am forced to remember what that means: we still haven’t learned to get along, to accept one another for who we are, to respect our fellow Jew. Maybe if we put in just a bit more effort toward those we disagree with – to extend a smile, a handshake, a Shabbat invitation – maybe that would make all the difference. How wonderful it would be if God would transform this Tisha B’Av to one of celebration and peace.

This mother – and I am certain every other Israeli mother – would be eternally grateful. Our sons could jump from airplanes as the fun-loving, carefree youths they are, instead of as guardians against the wolves at the door.

July 29, 2017

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