A Few Words for My People

By: Gila Kalman  |  October 13, 2023

By Gila Kalman, Senior Opinions Editor

Since the beginning of this tragic and horrific war, I have been unable to express my emotions through the written word, or any words, for that matter. This is rare for me. Writing has always been my one constant comfort. Through times of true loneliness and deep despair, I have always had my writing to depend on. Not this week. Not this time. This time, I feel untethered from it and I am at an absolute loss. I have felt guilty for this. When there is injustice in other nations, or in the animal and environmental world, I always write something. I always say something. I never once thought that the despair would cut so deep as to rob me of the one thing I have always been able to rely on – words. Yet, if there’s one lesson I’ve learned this week, it’s that what you’re meant to do, what you must do, doesn’t always come easy. Sometimes, it is the most difficult task for which you can just barely muster strength. But if soldiers can brave the battlefield, if parents can send off their babies to war, if families can grieve loss after loss after loss – the very least I can do is write. 

I write to empathize with the pain. The pain which thrusts its hungry claws into your chest to rip your heart right from your body. The pain which chews and tears at your gut so you can’t stomach anything you once enjoyed. The pain which wails through your mind, leaving you unable to think of anything other than the horrifying, the evil, and the sickening. 

I write to speak out for the brave and the broken. To rage against every smile, every cheer, and every despicable act of celebration which relishes in the destruction of innocent lives. To say to all those who name their terror ‘resistance’ and who rejoice the spilled blood of a Jew: The world is watching, and you are on the wrong side. You can be seen for who you are – heartless, monstrous, and devoid of all humanity. This terror will not last long – your time is coming. 

I write to reach out my arms in solidarity. To all those I know, to all those I don’t know. To all soldiers, all civilians, all officials, all children, all adults. To every single person trapped between the cold hands of evil. We are family. My body may not be with you, but my mind, my heart, my soul – they are with you. I cannot stop thinking about you, and I will not stop thinking about you. As Adam says in Parshat Bereishit, you are bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. Whatever pain inflicted upon you, I feel seared into the core of my being. Your sorrow is my sorrow. Your anguish is my anguish. Not just mine, but all of Klal Yisroel. I write to tell you that you have so many allies, all over the world. We are standing right along with you, we are supporting you, and we are defending you – just as you have always stood with, supported, and defended us. We are one. 

I write to say this:

Last spring, I finally submitted my aliyah application and decided on a month. February 2024. Since the terror started, some of my non-Jewish loved ones have asked me if I will push off my move, or even if I will entirely reconsider my decision. These questions are not unreasonable, in fact, they are expected. Yet, my answer has remained and will remain the same – no. No matter what our situation looks like in February, B’ezrat Hashem (with Hashem’s help), I will make Aliyah. Why? Because I am a Jew. Hashem has given us a gift which previous generations of Jews could only dream of: a state of our own in our ancestral homeland. All of us who decide to make aliyah know the risks that come with it, yet still we go. We go, because that’s what a Jew does. A Jew runs towards danger when it means running towards home, running towards family, and running towards moshiach. I am running to you, my brothers and sisters. As fast as my legs can bound, I am running.

Truthfully, words are not the one thing I can rely on. Sometimes, words fail. But I can always rely on my nation. I can always rely on Hashem. 

May we see a swift end to this terror, and bring our loved ones back home safely and soon. Am Yisrael Chai.