Eyewitness Account from Jerusalem

By Fruma Scheiner, Special to the Boulder Jewish News

Fruma Scheiner

I was abruptly woken up at 6am Saturday morning to siren after siren ringing in my ear. It was terrifying to say the least. I held my friends hands in mine, not wanting to let them go for even a second. Together we started to pray to god, we prayed for the lives of our brothers and sisters, for the safety and peace to be restored to how we once knew it to be.

Together we sang the songs of Simchas Torah, me, my friend and her mom sang and danced, and danced.

Boom, boom, and then another loud-sounding crash. We counted a total of 20 booms before the sirens finally quieted down. Through it all we sat together, knees shaking, no one dared to speak about the panic and terror that we all felt in that moment.

Israel, the place where I learnt where home is. The only place that has given my people solace—being slowly ravaged and destroyed in front of my eyes. My heart felt weak, like a piece of it too was bombed and left behind in the ruins of Israel’s destruction.

Not long afterwards the boys got back from synagogue. We badgered them with questions, holding onto every word as they spoke. They spoke of the terrorists breaking through the border and going on rampages from town to town—murdering innocent men, women, and children within the walls of their own homes. They spoke of the woman being abused and raped by gangs of men until they bled unconscious. Of children and babies tortured, and separated from their mothers.

Malicious. Evil. Humans who act as barbarous animals—not a sliver of compassion for another life. My mind races with thoughts and questions, mostly, why god?! Why? I am angry, most of all I feel helpless and confused, and pained.

The next two days pass in a blur, we are advised to not leave our homes. When I do leave to grab some groceries, I can feel the heaviness and uncertainty in the air.

Jerusalem—the most alive and joyful place in the world, has become desolate and depressing. Many of us walk around like lifeless zombies. Reading the newspapers, pretending to be busy, doing whatever we have to do to keep a sense of normalcy in our lives.

Every one of us are grieving people we know. A brother or an uncle or perhaps a cousin. So many families going to sleep at night without their loved ones.

The pain cannot be explained with words.

Sirens go off again day after day and again we hold each other close to keep ourselves from falling apart. Together we cry out and silently scream out to god. We are hurt and angered, we weren’t prepared.

But we will not let ourselves become victims. We are warriors and we are fighters.

We ask what action can I take now? What can I do for my people?
Because in this war I’ve realized that my Jewish identity is not an old story we tell, but I am a living, breathing, being—today. The Jewish people are alive and full of life. AM YISRAEL CHAI.

I recently read a beautiful quote that went like this: “You took their bodies, but their spirit flies joyful and free living forever in the heart of every Jew across the sea.”

What we need now is to be strong within our faith and our Jewish pride. To spread acts of joy, kindness, benevolence, and warmth to combat the evil and falseness in our daily reality.

Prayer is our strongest protection from evil. We pray because we know our god is capable of making miracles for us. He has protected us through every single generation to generation to keep us alive until this very moment. This time is no different.

About Fruma Scheiner

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