There are seminal moments in our lives. Some
we experience in solidarity, some with friends, some with strangers. Last
Friday, a few JUF leaders, including myself, experienced a seminal moment with
our Jewish family.
The broken though not beaten parents of
Gil-ad Shaar, one of "our boys," joined us. Originally, we were
scheduled to visit the grave sites of Gil-ad, Naftali, and Eyal. The Hamas
rockets have prevented us from going there.
They told us that 16 years ago, right before
Gil-ad’s bris, they decided to hyphenate his name so translated it means,
joy-forever. Whoever could imagine back then let alone 16 weeks ago, that he
would be remembered as "Gil" without the "ad". Forever was
Every single city, large, small and
intermediate conveyed to the Shaars how their federated community prayed and
rallied for the boys return. And sadly, finally, memorialized them with all of
Israel. The solidarity in the room was loud, strong and breathtaking. The pain,
tears, outreach and grief in the room was unimaginable.
As Gil-ad's father said to us, "They were
not only our children but OUR children, yours and mine. We searched for our
children and found ourselves because in a crisis there is both danger and
opportunity. Our hearts are broken but we do and must believe in the future"