The Terror Attack in My Backyard
On Monday afternoon, my daughter and her friend were on their way to see a performance at the Center 1 mall in honor of the end of Chanukah. As they were crossing over the String Bridge at the entrance to Jerusalem, they heard gunshots followed by sirens.
The girls decided to run as quickly as possible away from the gunshots towards the Center 1 mall, and once they got there, behind a door protected by an armed guard, my daughter called me, crying hysterically. That was how I found out a terror attack had taken place two minutes from our home. An Arab terrorist had driven his car into a group of people waiting at a bus stop across from the String Bridge, injuring 14. Within seconds an armed bystander shot and killed the terrorist.
The day after the attack, another daughter of mine discovered that her 8th grade classmate, Shira, had been waiting at that same bus stop with her sister and a friend when the terrorist’s car brushed by her. After the attack she was hospitalized for shock.
The most seriously injured person in the crowd was a year-old baby, Yotam Shmuel ben Yael, the child of French new immigrants, Binyamin and Yael Sitbon, who live near me in Kiryat Moshe. Part of Yotam’s leg had to be amputated following the attack, but this morning doctors opened his bandages and found that the rest of his leg is, B”H, healing, and it looks like there is a good chance that the rest of his leg will not have to be amputated.
Binyamin and Yael have expressed their gratitude for all those praying for their son, and have requested that we continue to pray for him as he makes his way along the long road to recovery ahead. Click here to read a chapter of Psalms for his recovery.
Today Binyamin Sitbon said, “Yotam merited to be named after King Yotam who, in his day, united the entire Jewish people. Today, the Jewish people is praying for Yotam, and in this way, through him, the Jewish people is being united as it was in the days of King Yotam…I request that we continue to pray for the full recovery of Yotam and for the unity of the Jewish people which will bring the full redemption.”
Already yesterday, the day after the attack, my daughter’s classmate, though still very shaken up, was back at school.
And my daughter? Even a few hours after the attack she was her regular cheerful, bubbly self. Though early this morning, before she headed off for school, when she heard the clunky banging of the garbage truck by our house, she called out, “Eema! Is that gunshots?”
And me? Monday was a hard day that felt a week long. But by the next day, I was feeling OK. I guess living in Israel demands quick recovery from trauma.
Since the attack I’ve been thinking a lot about something I read in Binah by Chani Juravel. Mrs. Juravel wrote that this year she was invited to teach in Chile, when one night there was a major earthquake and she felt her hotel bed moving. She said that at that terrifying moment she felt something she has never experienced– Hashem holding her like a baby, rocking her back and forth, keeping her safe.
Which reminds me that in Arabic, intifada means tremor or shaking. Please, Hashem, help me also to feel You rocking us safely as the world rocks around us.