The year was 1967. My parents, my sister and I resided in Boro Park, Brooklyn, a densely populated center of modern Orthodoxy. Our apartment overlooked a magnificent Italianate synagogue, Temple Beth-El, where the most celebrated cantor in the world, Moshe Koussevitzky, led the prayers on Rosh Chodesh and the High Holidays. He was a regal, barrel-chested man, and I remember sitting in the balcony of the synagogue, listening to his voice, watching his white silk–clad figure, and feeling that I was in the presence of majesty, someone, it seemed, who had a direct connection with the heavens.

But this day in 1967 was different. It was an ordinary weekday. The rabbi stood at the lectern. The anguish and fear in the sanctuary was palpable.

It was twenty-two years since the end of World War II, when the liberation of the camps revealed the murder of six million European Jews.

The room was filled with Holocaust survivors, including my parents and my five aunts and uncles and cousins. Some of them had black numbers tattooed on their forearms.

Modern Israel, just completing its second decade, was the depository of their hopes and pride, and I was aware that this day in Temple Beth-El was a watershed. We were not safe. Israel was not safe, despite the photographs of beaches, oranges, and hora-dancing young people.

Israel was surrounded by hostile enemies. Tiny Israel, the size of New Jersey, had been attacked, and her enemies were determined to destroy her.

The rabbi spoke; money was raised.

I remember one man standing up. “I am giving my entire fortune,” he said. “If Israel falls, I have no reason to live.”

How that shocked me. Me, the American teenager, dancing to the Supremes, in love with the Beatles.

I don’t recall how the rabbi responded.

Though the adults seemed to be in a state of paralysis, they joined together under the massive domed ceiling to comfort each other and take action.

The rabbi didn’t say anything profound, that day. He didn’t quote Pirkei Avot (Sayings of the Fathers) or the Torah. He had been shaken to his core.

I don’t remember how much money the congregants raised, but I am sure the amount was substantial. I am likewise confident that the same scene was repeated in synagogues from Brooklyn to Kansas City to San Francisco.

Within days, the news arrived that Israel had defeated its enemies. Spectacularly. And we knew that we had witnessed a miracle.

Today, as bombs rain on Israel, we gather again, to talk, to comfort each other, to pray.

A young rabbi in my community of Palm Beach, Florida, traveled to Israel recently with his family and a group of teens.

“Are you sure you want to be going to Israel now?” people asked him. “Why?” he answered. “Is there a better or more important time?”

This morning he sent us an e‑mail announcing that the group had arrived safely. “We’re all in high spirits,” he wrote. “Jerusalem is as beautiful as ever. We feel safe and secure in the land which ‘G‑d’s eyes are upon, from the beginning of the year until the end.’”