Broken hearts

Broken hearts

The El Al plane to Israel was the scene of a memorable event. As the sirens for Yom Ha Zikaron, Israel’s annual memorial day for fallen soldiers, blasted thousands of feet below on the streets of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Herzliya, and all the large and small towns and cities, highways, and hilltops, as cars pulled off the roads and drivers stood by their vehicles in mournful silence, many shedding tears for the many lives lost, lives of hope and promise, and youth, and dreams shattered, the crew aboard the flight instructed all the passengers to share the commemoration beneath them. They were all to stand for the duration, two long and painful minutes, to be part of the ceremony. And stand they did, in partnership with all those who had lost loved ones, friends, neighbors, and fellow chayalim. Thus a new tradition was started. Mourning while aloft.

Many of us, in New Jersey or in Israel, or en route to Israel, feel the need to partner with those who have sacrificed their lives so that the nation of Israel, am Yisrael, may continue to live. And while we question and argue, as we Jews do, what is right and what is wrong, what is good for our people and what is not, we shed an endless flow of tears in tribute to those innocents who shall never return to walk amongst us. We, most of us, are not military strategists at all. We do the sense test. Do our senses opine on what is the right thing to do? How do we extricate ourselves from the morass? Are we suffering in plain sight because of the wily evil doings of the enemy, Hamas?

We have endured so much pain and yet we are still drowning in the muck. And the world, no doubt helped dramatically by antisemitism, is pushing us deeper and deeper into it. The endless body counts and the grotesque pictures of dead babies and children are unendurable. Hamas has fostered this hatred for us by sacrificing their own people to score victory against us. Our debates with one another are endless and accomplish nothing except to make Hamas more credible, ourselves more vulnerable.

Should we aim for a ceasefire? Should we, God forbid, sacrifice the hostages? Should we forget how this started, with a brutal, unrelenting surprise attack on our peaceful, beautiful places on our peaceful holiday of Simchat Torah? Should we self-chastise because we were caught unprepared, something that will never happen again? What are we to do now? Do you think you have the correct answer? This is not a multiple-choice exam. There is no right answer. There are only wrong answers. An abundance of them.

Do we evacuate Rafah, at our own peril? Do we continue to fight, with the eyes of the world in condemnation? Do we have any choice?

Do we try to understand the view from our neighbors’ eyes? Do they hate us so much or are they truly acting out of loving kindness? Or are they finding an excuse to vent their animosity? Do they even remember how we have marched with them, fought with them, adorned our lawns with signs on their behalf? Will things ever again be normal and friendly, or will tolerance be forever eradicated?

I am a grandmother. My grandson fought in Gaza and is no longer there. Those months when he was on active duty were among the most terrifying in the lives of our family. We knew the fear of the knock on the door, shared by all our brethren in Israel. Many of those families shared the ultimate loss, and their sons and daughters will never return. In those days I longed for a ceasefire, perhaps selfishly, so that our own young man would be safe. Is that what I yearn for today? I simply do not know anymore!

Israel’s government has betrayed us. They have allowed our enemies to prevail. Somehow we must peacefully rid ourselves of them and their pomposity, their criminal behavior, and their ill will. We can no longer be manipulated. They must go, from the prime minister, who, it bears remembering, has parked his own sons away from the war front. Their upkeep costs the government untold amounts of money as they safely while away the days on American beaches. The sacrifice of the sons must end at the prime minister’s door! He should feel the fear of the families of those in the trenches. He is clearly not above the fray. He is beneath the fray.

Where do we go from here? I have never heard so many valuable opinions, all leading nowhere. Perhaps it’s the time to pray. No one seems to have a better solution.

Rosanne Skopp of West Orange is a wife, mother of four, grandmother of 14, and great-grandmother of six. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and a dual citizen of the United States and Israel. She is a lifelong blogger, writing blogs before anyone knew what a blog was! She welcomes email at

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