Upon hearing that her 95-year-old great-grandfather was released from the hospital, my nine-year-old daughter looked at me with glistening eyes. “Mommy, every day for Saba Raba is a gift, right?” A tear ran down her face, and I don’t think she knew if it was a tear of relief that he is now okay, or of continued worry.
Staring at my angel who was trying to make sense of this unpredictable world, I sat down and pulled her into my lap. “Baby, for all of us every day is a gift,” I said.
As we sat silently hugging, thoughts of four-year-old Adele Bitton, Dafna Meir, the Henkin orphans and the other recent victims of violence went through my head. For months, on a daily basis, I have been reading victims’ stories, seeing their pictures, and visiting with them. Seeing these heroes up close brings home the reality of the ongoing violence and uncertainty in Israel. It has awakened me to live in the moment and be appreciative of the simple blessings in life that I so often take for granted. Because nothing is a given.
My daughter, deep in thought, looked at me, and it was as if she read my mind. “Especially living in Israel, we realize what a gift each day is,” she said, with a hint of fear and sadness in her sweet voice.
And that’s when it hit me. That’s when I realized that my decision to make aliyah before she was born was based on the understanding that no matter where I would be in the world, if I wasn’t in Israel, I wasn’t home. And that no matter what happens in Israel, no matter how scary things might look, there is nowhere else I belong…