I spent the last three days visiting Israel on a solidarity mission with the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles and the Board of Rabbis. Through the gut wrenching experience of witnessing atrocities at Kfar Aza, learning about horrific ordeals endured by IDF soldiers at Shura Base where they identify and ready bodies for burial, and speaking with evacuees about their personal October 7th stories, it’s hard to leave Israel with a sense of optimism. For Israelis, it is a confusing time of betrayal and loss.
However, for a brief moment I was heartened by Dr. Shai Efrati, physician at Shamir Medical Center. Currently, the most vulnerable patients have been brought underground to a transformed hospital, once a gym. He looked at us and said, “We need to prepare for what’s coming next. We need to be the ones that write the book.”
In essence, this is what keeps the miracle of Israel alive. Israel doesn’t settle for others to write her narrative. October 7th is now known as the Dark Sabbath. But a darkness doesn’t define the people of Israel. The darkness won’t prevail.
The road ahead is long and convoluted. The trauma of October 7th comes with unpredictable aftershocks. But Israel has the opportunity to write the story that comes after. And we already know the ending: The Jewish people will continue to be a people of hope and a people of strength.
Israel, we are with you. We are one.
We’ll write this story together.
Rabbi Nicole Guzik is senior rabbi at Sinai Temple. She can be reached at her Facebook page at Rabbi Nicole Guzik or on Instagram @rabbiguzik. For more writings, visit Rabbi Guzik’s blog section from Sinai Temple’s website.