It’s morning in Israel

Confronting the shock of Israel under attack

Kupferberg Israel image
The author, and her family getting ready to celebrate her son’s wedding.

It's morning in Israel. You can't believe how little time has passed, that last week you were vacationing in the north, visiting family, hiking among tidepools, watching your children frolic and float on the Jordan River among beautiful young Israelis swinging from vines and canoeing, that you ate at a charming bistro on a goat farm on a mountain top. 

You are tired because you couldn't sleep, because just as you were finally starting to fall asleep even though how can you ever sleep again, you learn a wonderful family who hosted you for your niece's bat mitzvah is facing the unbearable uncertainty of having a soldier son missing. 

You finally get in a few very restless hours. War planes swirl overhead, a strange soporific. 

Soon after, you get up and remember how the world has utterly changed, you're forced to wake a sleeping daughter to tell her a close friend of hers died defending his people, a friend from her pre-army academy a couple of years back, a fierce friend and a warrior with a farm boy face and big smile who had been to your house a number of times.

You hold your daughter as she cries for him and she wails that she has so, so many friends on the front lines and she worries that she could lose them all. You don't know what to say. You try but any reassurance sounds hollow. 

While you're still processing all of this since only 15 minutes have passed, you learn that a man you're friendly with, a pizza chef you connected with at cobblestone cafe in Jaffa a few years ago, has lost his beautiful son in this nightmare. 

You fret because a daughter may have to return to Tel Aviv to work with kids with cancer today while rocket barrages start again, and you wish she didn't have to travel two hours from home and leave your nest, not today, and you're also so proud of her and this country. 

You make sandwiches for soldiers even though it's nearly noon and you haven't managed to eat or drink yourself yet. And you realize you should make food for your family, too. 

You see your youngest son back on Zoom school, watch another daughter waiting for word about the delayed funeral of her friend's cousin, the 21-year-old from your town whose family you know both here and abroad, delayed because the army's religious affairs division had too many funerals to manage all at once. 

You see face after face and hear story after story about atrocities committed against innocent Israelis. 

You hurt for your friend whose son was just called up, joining countless other friends with loved ones called up on our holiday to serve and protect and save. 

You also know that despite a painful year of divisions here, Israelis are fighting together and loving one another and it gives you some comfort. You are overwhelmed with the support and love and strength sent here from the corners of the world. 

The weather turns suddenly, the sky darkens, winds have kicked up and a little rain has come, the rain we just started to pray for two days ago, the day this all started, and you hope it's the rain of blessings. 

It was a long morning. 

Jessica Levine Kupferberg is a freelance writer and former litigation attorney. She made aliyah from San Diego with her family in 2014.  

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