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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Dear American Jewish moms

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By: Lisa Koenig

Dear American Jewish moms,

Do you remember where you were when you heard about the deadly attacks on Jews in Pittsburgh? In Poway? Remember the emotions you went through? Did you feel outrage? Were you sick watching the news coverage? If you’re like me, you wanted to do something to support those communities.

Do you have the Red Alert app on your phone? If your response is, “I don’t even know what that is,” then I implore you to download it. It’s an Israeli app that sends notifications every time a terrorist rocket, mortar or missile is launched into Israel.

Between May 10-18 more than 3,440 rockets were fired toward Israel from Hamas controlled Gaza in a terrorist effort to murder Jews. Not all of them landed in empty fields; that miraculous Iron Dome that saves so many lives, it isn’t infallible. I’m a Jewish mom of two teenagers living in a Philadelphia suburb. I grew up in a Connecticut town with very few Jews, and I was raised in a secular Jewish home with no connection to Judaism; however, Israel and Zionism was an integral part of my upbringing.

L’dor v’dor: I am raising my children to be unapologetic Zionists and Jews. I’m proud that my daughter, who just graduated high school, is taking a gap year living in Tel Aviv and volunteering through the Maslool program. My son, a rising high school sophomore, will attend the Alexander Muss High School in Israel (AMHSI) program in February, 2022.

My best friend’s son, who used to babysit my children, is a lone soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). At eighteen-years-old, he left his comfortable, upper-middle-class home and family and enlisted in the Israeli army. This past August, his parents also made Aliyah. Now my best friend is an official Israeli mom; she attended the funeral of First Sergeant Omer Tabib Z”L, not just because it’s the Israeli thing to do, but also because First Sergeant Tabib Z”L was in her son’s unit, and a friend.

Have you downloaded the Red Alert app yet?

Each notification of an incoming rocket translates to Israelis having mere seconds to run to take cover in bomb shelters or stairways. Knowing this, would you be willing to send your child(ren) to Israel to study or to take a gap year? Would you support your child(ren), who insists on becoming a lone soldier, enlisting in the IDF knowing it’s

inevitable that he/she will be in the direct path of danger? Does the reality of imminent attacks on Israel frighten you so much you would never visit Israel, never mind sending your children?

Last month, when the locations popped up on the Red Alert app, it was evident that Hamas was no longer targeting only the usual populations adjacent to Gaza. This time they had the capability and were intentionally aiming for the heartland of Israel – Jerusalem, the metropolitan city of Tel Aviv, and smaller densely populated cities such as Ra’anana and Hod HaSharon; the location of the AMHSI campus. There were countless videos from Israel: Israeli Arabs rioting and burning the Israeli flag, burning down synagogues, burning buses, Arabs trying to lynch Jews, fires on top of the Temple Mount, gaping holes in apartment buildings because the Iron Dome missed. And you know what? As the notifications were constantly dinging, as I watched these videos with tears in my eyes, I wasn’t scared; I was angry. Anger is a great motivator. I became more determined, not only to go to Israel myself, but to send both my children as planned. I don’t fear the enemy. They want fear. Fear is weakness allowing for an easier attack. It’s only with unity, strength and never backing down that we will defeat evil.

So, my dear American Jewish moms, who love your children more than life itself, pay attention to what’s happening in Israel because Israelis are not just another people living in the Middle East. They are Jews; our brothers and sisters – our sons and daughters. Our people living in our ancestral homeland. Any attack on Israel is no different than an attack on a Jew in Poway, Pittsburgh, or anywhere in the world. The same outrage and deep pain in your soul that you felt then, you should feel every single time your phone dings. You should want to help and to unite with Am Yisrael because the terrorist’s motivation is simple: Jew hatred. These attacks are not over land disputes, rent disputes, or any other propaganda that they try to use to manipulate the world for their corruption and power. It’s pure Jew hatred, and they want to divide us to make us weak, to eliminate us.

Dear American Jewish mom, it’s your obligation to learn about, teach and show your children the truth of our people. Teach your children about our history, and I don’t mean just the Holocaust. I mean our ancestral history in the land of Israel. Start by teaching them that Israel is our ancestral Home. Don’t blindly parrot what you read/hear in the media. It’s propaganda.

When you teach your children the truth, you give them an invaluable gift; you ensure your children are links in our long chain of rich history. Don’t be the generation that breaks our chain. The way to strengthen our chain is to actively connect with Israel. Don’t fear the Land; embrace it, honor it, love it.

Assuming you’ve downloaded the Red Alert app, your phone will ding with notifications at the same time as Jews from all over the world who have also downloaded it. You’ve just taken an important step in connecting yourself with Am Yisrael.

Now that you’re connected, we must stand in unity against evil, so book a flight to Israel with your children. Who knows, you may fall in love with the Land and make Aliyah. Or at the very least, you’ll understand why I am even more determined than ever to send both my children to Israel as planned.

Lisa Koenig is North East Director of Herut North America’s U.S. division. Herut is an international movement for Zionist pride and education and its U.S. website is: https://herutna.org/

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