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Morning in Jerusalem

Morning in Jerusalem

A young mother shares what keeps her going, despite all the stabbings

Emergency responders accompany a woman in shock following a stabbing attack on Jaffa Road. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Emergency responders accompany a woman in shock following a stabbing attack on Jaffa Road. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

I wake up, pray, make breakfasts and lunches. I help my children get dressed, argue with them about wearing a sweater or putting on a coat. This one needs help with her ponytail, that one needs help with his shoes. With a blessing and a kiss, I send them off to school.

I nurse my baby. I exercise. I have breakfast with my husband. The baby goes down for a nap. I’m able to see a client. Now I’m off to the doctor for an appointment. On the way home, five minutes from my home, I stop off at the shuk (market) to pick up some vegetables to make soup. I stop by my nut-and-almond man. I leave the shuk and walk onto Jaffa Road to my home.

Five minutes later. I’m home. The phone rings. Sirens, sirens. I hear the sirens. Another terrorist attack. Two Arab women stabbing civilians, a defenseless old man, among others. Where? On Jaffa Road, outside the food market, five minutes from my home.

I say Psalms. I pick up my baby and smother him with kisses. I give tzedakah (charity). I thank G‑d that I made it home. I send messages to friends and family that thank G‑d I’m okay.

I’m in shock. I shake myself. I look at the clock. Life. Reality. Get moving. Time to make lunch and supper. Time to fold laundry and put it away. The kids will be home from school soon. Life, an ordinary day for an ordinary wife and mother.

My mind can’t help but return to the sirens. Ambulances, police cars. I don’t understand these people. How can women do such things? I just don’t understand.

I don’t write this in the hopes that I can convince anyone of the obvious craziness of a people who only want to destroy and hate. I know that we are living in an era of darkness, and that there’s a reason that the world is blind. I write this to give myself, and maybe you, strength—to remember why we are here.

We are here to live! To continue, to bring light and holiness into this world. We have mission—not of hatred and murder, but of peace and life.

When Israel was enslaved in Egypt, Pharaoh issued a decree to kill all the Jewish baby boys by throwing them into the Nile. Amram, one of Israel’s leaders, heard the decree, wept and said: “Why bring children into the world for nothing?” He separated from his wife, and all the men in the generation followed his example.

His daughter, Miriam, said: “Father, your decree is worse than Pharaoh’s. He decreed only against the males, and you’ve decreed against males and females. He decreed death only in this world, and you’ve decreed both in this world and in the next. Pharaoh is evil, and chances are that his decree will not come to fruition, yet you are righteous—surely, your decree will come about!”

Amram listened and reunited with his wife, and all the men followed his example and reunited with their wives. (Talmud, Sotah 12a)

What happened then? Amram and Yocheved had another son, Moses, who grew up to be Israel’s humble leader—G‑d’s chosen redeemer. Moses merited the task of leading Israel out of Egypt to freedom. And Miriam, his sister, with her prophetic vision, her vision of life and hope, merited to see this all happen and take part in the redemption.

What was Miriam’s message—not just to Amram, but to all? The Nation of Israel must live! Keep going, living, doing. Have babies. Continue! Live! This is what we must do. Yes, it’s scary and dark out there, but G‑d gave us a distinct mission, a purpose. Make light! In this month of Kislev, of Chanukah and miracles. Make life. Create sparks of holiness. Know that just as G‑d did salvations and made miracles for our forefathers, so too does He make salvations and miracles for us today.

My thoughts as I, just an ordinary wife and mother, walk down the street? Please G‑d, let me live so that I can nurse my baby. Please G‑d, let my children and husband and all of Am Yisrael be safe. Let us see bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings and births. Let us live.

Originally from northern California and a Stanford University graduate, Elana Mizrahi now lives in Jerusalem with her husband and children. She is a doula, massage therapist, writer, and author of Dancing Through Life, a book for Jewish women. She also teaches Jewish marriage classes for brides.
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Irene Hatton Clay City November 24, 2015

Elana, so touched by your article today. You have great courage and a great God. Praying God will keep you and your loved ones safe. I have several friends in Israel and we keep in touch. I've visited 5 times and could easily live in Israel. It is very challenging now for many. I don't know what else to say.......your article touched me deeply. A breastfeeding sister Reply

Roberta NY, USA November 23, 2015

B"H Elana - you are safe and Hashem (and your grandparents) are watching over you! Reply

Bianca Jhb South Africa November 23, 2015

Elana, thank you so much for sharing your account of a day, I have wondered for a year or more about such accounts and if anyone would tell, because I live in Johannesburg area of Modderfontein I not in near a twentieth the harm your children husband and self face.... Hashem rewards you all for braving everything do, and somehow you have to believe the miracle we all pray for, for Israeli to be as it's birth, peaceful, to be reality, you still standing tall for your children and husband to do same and be proud of you for setting example... Be healthy and I pray for you and all Jews to be safe and protected by Hashem because obviously terrorists not covered with this protection since they not Jewish, and we can only pray they all start reading the Torah and Talmud because then they would be doing something to help themselves (? Not so ?)
Thank you for your time spent compiling account of your one of many such days... Be the mother and wife you are, that is your best defense, I think.... Reply

Mitchell NY November 23, 2015

Mizrahi Minutes after posting this article a soldier sharing her name is murdered ... ENOUGH! Reply

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