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Happy new month from Sderot

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
"Shalom Sivan, My name is Yehudit Cohen. I am writing from Sderot, from the Gaza border, with mixed feelings. Just a few hours ago, we were busy packing for the trip of our eldest daughter, Neta, to Poland. This is a most significant trip for us. My father, Yitzhak Gershoni of blessed memory, survived Auschwitz. He saw a world destroyed and then a world reborn and lived his life between these verses: 'I shall not die but I shall live and tell the deeds of Hashem; Hashem has chastised me, but He has not delivered me to death' (Psalms 128:17-18) and 'It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing to Your name, One Most High'. (Psalms 92:2). And that's how he educated us. For years he told his story wherever he was invited to tell it. And he asked to write on his tombstone the names of the many family members who did not survive.

The flight to Poland was scheduled to leave at five in the morning but tonight my daughter, like thousands of teenagers, received a disappointing announcement. Because of the coronavirus, the trip was postponed. We had not yet managed to digest the news when a siren was heard in Sderot. Another night of rockets. We ran to our shelter and just now received an announcement that school is canceled for tomorrow.

In the midst of this confounding turn of events, we tried to get a sense of proportion, to see the big picture. The new month of Adar starts this evening and Purim is coming soon. 80 years have passed since they tried to wipe out the Jewish people, including my father, but they did not succeed. 2000 years have passed since they tried to wipe out the Jewish people in ancient Persia, but they did not succeed. And we, the descendants of Mordechai and Esther, descendants of Holocaust survivors, continue the journey, advancing on our way. Let us pray that we finally reach the complete fulfillment of the words of Megillat Esther: 'For the Jews there was radiance and happiness and honor, so may it be for us'.

Happy new month from Sderot".


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