A Terrifying Experience at a Kosher Restaurant in Rome by Adina Ehrlich

A Terrifying Experience at a Kosher Restaurant in Rome by Adina Ehrlich
[My neighbor and dear friend, Adina Ehrlich, is on vacation in Italy with her husband and 5 kids. When I wrote to ask how her trip is going, she sent me the following surprising story]:
Italy is good B”H. But tonight we had such a terrible scare.
We were sitting in a kosher restaurant waiting for our meal to come out. It was packed with all sorts of Jews, mostly Europeans but also Americans and Israelis. I remember thinking that if I’d seen many of these other customers on the street, I wouldn’t have had any idea they were even Jewish, let alone kept kosher. It felt so beautiful, having Jewish people all together, as one.
And then suddenly we heard screaming and loud banging. People started streaming into the restaurant from the street, plates were smashing, people were falling to the floor, hiding under tables to protect themselves. An elderly woman was so terrified, she fainted. Many people were crying, children and adults as well.
Before I knew it, I’d blacked out, and found myself under the table with my kids, just waiting for a terrorist with a gun or knife to come in and shoot or stab us. I was thinking, this can’t be real. In the calm of Rome. This isn’t possible, this can’t be happening to us. But I suppose that’s how every person in every life-threatening situation feels, this isn’t possible, this happens to other people, not to me.
My children were shouting Tehillim, begging Hashem that everybody should be alright.
And then someone shouted, “It’s not a terror attack!”
It turned out that a thief had snatched a lady’s purse on the street, and panic had ensued.
I felt so grateful to HKB’H that it had just been a thief, but it brought home the trauma of the reality of what we live with as Jews. We live with the knowledge that a terror attack can happen at any time, and we never know where it’s going to come from.
When we got back to our apartment, and we talked about what had happened, [My 12-year-old daughter] Hallel said “Mommy, I want to go home, I don’t feel safe here! I feel safe in israel. We’re supposed to be in Israel.”
[My 10-year-old] Tzvi asked me to bring him his tsitsis to sleep in and for me to say Shema with him. He asked me to put on songs about Hashem. It was a beautiful feeling, we felt so connected with and grateful to Hashem.
I was also struck by how we are such a positive, resilient nation, that after that scary experience we all, more or less, had just picked ourselves up and carried on right away. Jews are sadly used to trauma and going straight back to living right after.
Most of all, I feel grateful for this reality check. Which He orchestrated this so perfectly. A reminder that He is in charge. Thank You Hashem!

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