By Aaron Shaykevich, Editor-in-Chief
Yesterday, October 8, 2023, I was in the middle of celebrating Simchat Torah. This Jewish holiday is meant to be b’simcha (with happiness) – but then it was not. While we didn’t have access to a phone – we heard from someone who heard from someone that many Jews were dead. Jews died on Simchat Torah. Jews were murdered.
At first, I recalled the tragic incident in Meron just a few years ago. I remembered Donny Morris, an MTA alum like myself, who tragically passed away then. I didn’t know Donny personally, but I still remember when I first heard the news of his passing. The heartache the entire community felt then left a permanent impression. The Yeshiva University (YU) community lost someone truly special that day. I never could imagine the Jewish community would have to experience such heartache like that again, and definitely not so soon.
The situation today is similar in some ways, different in others, and, for me, brings along new trauma. The videos circulating online are absolutely scarring. I could not sleep last night after I saw the video of Jewish children being locked in cages. This is only one of many videos that show the abuse and murder of Jewish people. I really can’t comprehend what I watched, and I can’t comprehend how this actually happened and is still happening.
I ask the YU admin to consider the ramifications of beginning school as normal. Things are NOT back to normal. We are watching our friends, families, and the Jewish nation under attack. We are NOT okay. I want to say tehillim for hours on end and work on fundraising, but should I also have to study for my Organic Chemistry midterm?
I do appreciate the efforts Yeshiva University has made to assure that they will be there for how students feel and process this horrific tragedy – that it is okay to not feel okay: the Counseling Center is a wonderful resource that I believe all students should utilize. But is it enough?
For the YU students who are currently in Israel or have family/friends there, how can we just expect them to continue as normal? To shut off their minds and hearts for classes, school work, and exams? We need time to help in any way we can. To rally support, to raise money and aid. I ask YU to give us the chance to heal as much as we can during this time, and let us make a difference.