It's been over two weeks, soon approaching three weeks.
I'll start at the beginning.
No, actually, I can't start at the beginning - I'll have to start in the middle.
In the middle of davening on Shmini Atzeret, I went outside of our shul and unwittingly stepped into an alternate universe. But it took some time until I understood that.
Our shul is the tiniest shul in town, and we meet inside a bomb shelter, so we were literally inside shul with our heads underground on October 7, when the world changed.
We didn't know what was going on in the south. We were just focused on the Tefillot, our singing, dancing with the Torah, and being happy that we were able to celebrate another Simchat Torah with our Or Hatzafon family... Inside our shul that day, we were in our normal universe.
I went up the stairs and outside into the courtyard during Yizkor, and someone came over and told me that something was going on in the South, so we should just be aware. I said thanks for telling me. He said, lots of people are being called in but we don't really know what's going on. My normal universe shook a little, or so I thought. I didn't understand yet that we had actually entered an alternate universe.
Then a couple of minutes later, someone told me that the town security team asked him to instruct us to leave the miklat (bomb shelter) unlocked after we finished our davening. I was a little surprised because what does something going on in the south have to do with leaving our bomb shelter in the Golan unlocked? Feeling like my normal universe was shaking, I didn't really know what to think.
So I went back into shul. We finished our Tefillah and had a small kiddush together (cake and ice cream!) and then we locked all the shul's most valuable items up into the closet in the shelter, and left the shelter open. That felt really strange and unsafe, and I was kind of wondering what universe I was actually in.
I told myself that there have been other times when local residents got a little jumpy and didn't like the idea of a closed shelter, so the powers that be must be trying to avoid that, and leaving the shelters open was just a precaution they chose to take, in order to keep from having to field complaints. After all, we hadn't heard any sirens and it didn't seem possible that an uptick in the south would really impact us... The normal universe and the alternate universe are really at odds, and my brain was working very hard to convince me that I was still in my normal universe.
On our way home, we saw a friend who'd been checking the news and he told us that there's been a horrible massacre at the border of Azza (Gaza), and it looks like we're at war. He told us there are hostages in Azza (Gaza), including children, he told us no one really knows how many people were killed, but it is BAD. And then he told us it looks bad on the Lebanese border too. We were shocked. And really confused, but now we knew for certain that we weren't in our normal universe, and we had, in fact, stepped into an alternate universe.
In this alternate universe, our existence as a Jewish State and as a nation is being threatened by Hamas. Our lives have been radically changed overnight. Our country is at war, our business is effectively closed, and our safety feels tenuous.
And in this alternate universe, there are over 200 hostages being held by Hamas. Hostages are being held by terrorists who savagely murder our people and openly declare their goal to destroy every Jew.
I cannot imagine the hell they are being subjected to, because that's actually another alternate universe, one that should not actually exist.
Please daven for ALL the captives. It doesn't matter who has what passport - we need to bring them all home. My heart is broken for them.
Find out more about each person behind held by Hamas. If you can manage the Hebrew, watch this series.
Each and every one is important, and a world unto themselves.
Help get them out of their hellish alternate universe.