Seven Responses to Terror.
All of us can do something.
In discussing the horrific terrorist attacks in Israel, a patient asked me, “What can I do? What should I do? How do you respond to these tragedies?”
In truth, nothing can replace our dear brothers and sisters who have been tragically ripped away from their families. That being said, there are things that every single Jew can do to in response to the recent events. I’ve created a brief list of seven things to consider. Of course these are not the only proper responses but rather some thoughts and suggestions.
1. Be a better person. For every parent killed by Arab terror, we can be more dedicated children to our own parents. In memory of everyone who lost a child to terrorist attacks, we can be better parents and cherish the precious time we have with our children. In the memory of those we’ve lost, we can strive to be more empathic in our interactions with our friends and loved ones and to strengthen connections with our fellow Jews. Participating in the upcoming worldwide Shabbos Project on October 23rd and 24th is a perfect example of what we can do to be closer with the rest of Am Yisrael.
2. Be politically active. Global support for Israel’s war on terror is never guaranteed. Even in America, diplomatic aid is no longer a given when Israel seeks to defend its citizens. Contacting public officials about supporting Israel has a disproportionate effect on the government’s foreign policy positions by showing them that their voting constituency cares about this issue. Call your Congressmen, Senators, and Representatives now and tell them to aid Israel’s fight for survival. Additionally, biased media coverage of the unfolding events only serves to further inflame the situation. Organizations like Honest Reporting are dedicated to fighting media inaccuracies in the Middle East and programs like Hasbara Fellowships help train dedicated Pro-Israel advocates to wage necessary battles in the media to support the Jewish State.
3. Grow spiritually. In the merit of the holy souls that have been taken from us, growing spiritually has always been an appropriate Jewish response. For example, to remember Na’ama Henkin, start lighting Shabbat candles every Friday night. To remember Rabbi Yeshayahu Krishevsky, start learning his beloved Hassidic texts with other members of the community. The Torah that they loved so dearly is yearning for new students to fill the void left after these and too many other holy souls were taken from this World.
4. Support Israel economically. Israel’s economy remains strong in part due to tourism which is negatively influenced by terrorism. Responding to terrorists by visiting our Holy Land not only supports our fellow Jews financially but also shows the terrorists that they cannot prevent people from coming to Israel. Likewise, international efforts to delegitimize Israel through Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) should be met with renewed efforts to support Israeli businesses. This is not connected to the fact that SodaStream makes a great seltzer machine and that everyone could eat a bit more Sabra Hummus…
5. Reach out to our brothers and sisters in Israel. Let them know that you care. Call your friend in Petach Tikvah and tell him how much you miss him. Email your family in Azure and let them know you are looking forward to spending Shabbat with them soon. These check-ins are tremendously appreciated by your fellow Jews living in Israel.
6. Give Tzedakah. Many non-profit organizations are dedicated to preventing terrorist attacks and many more are aimed at caring for survivors of these terrible events.
7. Be prepared. Preventing further terrorist attacks is the responsibility of everyone. By staying on the alert for suspicious behavior and knowing the right people to call in event of an emergency, communities both inside and outside of Israel can avoid disaster. Communities, synagogues, and day schools with an active security plan in place are less likely to be targeted by a terrorist threat.
Be safe, be well, stay strong, and pray for the protection of the Jewish people.