* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin ([email protected])
After a day and a half with London’s Jewish community, the following are some of the memories I will take with me:
* On the way there, Efrat the El Al flight attendant told me that this was her first flight since the outbreak of war with no family members of the hostages on board. “They are going all over the world to speak. They are amazing people with whom it is a privilege to fly.”
* Girls in the Hasmonean High School in London tell me they conceal their star of David necklaces. Yet they also tell me that they have never been so proud and happy to be Jews.
* How uplifting it was to enter the Ner Yisrael Synagogue to welcome Shabbat and to discover the congregants reading psalms — many with tears in their eyes — on behalf of Israel. A fund raising project for Israel was displayed on the wall, solidarity delegations to Israel were being organized, and the names of thirty IDF soldiers who made aliya from the community were listed.
* I heard from several Jewish congregations (Raleigh Close, Bridge Lane, Hadley Wood) how every one of their members had become a personal ambassador for Israel. “I have taken on the role of Daniel Hagari (IDF spokesperson),” a physician told me with a smile. “Work every day begins with answering questions about Israel.”
* The principal of a Jewish high school asked me how to answer teenagers who see pro-Hamas TikTok videos and ask difficult questions.
* At the end of a regular conversation of small talk with someone, the person I had been speaking with invariably left me with an exclamation of “Am Yisrael chai!”
* On the flight home, I sat in a row with two screaming babies. Previously, I would have been annoyed by such a disturbance but now — after hearing stories of the hostages that capture the mind and break the heart — I suddenly saw parents with their babies completely differently. Make noise all you want, little cuties.
And may we hear an abundance of good news.