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by Rabbi Josef Benarroch

Rabbi Yosef Benarroch from Efrat: I Just Returned from the funeral of Roi Chaim Veizer killed in action in Gaza

by Rabbi Josef Benarroch, October 11, 2023

I am writing to you from my home in Efrat. Today is day five of the war against Hamas. Where does one even begin. My wife and I just returned from the funeral of Roi Chaim Veizer killed in action in Gaza. The streets were lined with thousands of Efrat residents showing their solidarity with the bereaved family and with all of our soldiers.

The country has mobilized on every level. From soldiers to average citizen. Our children are now on the front lines and the rest of the nation is stepping up to the plate to help in so many different ways. I am part of a WhatsApp group that volunteers to drive food and supplies to soldiers all over the country. There are groups that prepare food, and teenagers who volunteer their time to help mothers whose husbands have been called to duty. Unity is no longer a nice cliché or far away dream. We are living it in real time every moment here in Israel.

My wife and I have become part time daycare workers and part time therapists. Two of our daughters and one of our daughters in law, whose husbands are on the front lines, have moved in with us. We take care of the kids giving the mothers some time to breath. We speak with our sons and son in law daily praying every moment they are safe.

There are also moments of crisis where someone needs a hug or a word of encouragement. My wife this morning broke down. The enormity of the situation just overwhelming. The thought of all those killed, the horror of the massacre that took place, the hostages and their wellbeing, the safety of our soldiers, and the continuous funerals. Yes, a hug goes a long way.

Our doors are constantly locked. No one enters without first identifying who they are. The fear of terrorists infiltrating is real. Yesterday when I went shopping with my grandson, sirens blasted and we ran to the supermarket’s bomb shelter along with some other fifty people. This has become our daily routine.

There is only one constant here in Israel. A consensus that our mission is just, a complete embrace of our soldiers and their mission. We are on the right side of history. We all know that our cruel and barbaric enemy must be defeated.

The best of the Jewish people is now on display. Our spirits can never be broken, our dream to live as a free nation in our land will never be shaken.

Praying for the safety of our soldiers and hostages

Rabbi Yosef Benarroch from Israel

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