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Message from Tel Aviv

שבת של אחדות

* Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

"Shalom Sivan, This is Yisrael Za'ira, from the 'Rosh Yehudi' community in Tel Aviv. We live near Dizengoff Street and in the moments when the terrorist attack began, we were celebrating a sheva berachot gathering for Hadas and Moshe Shabbat, a sweet newlywed couple. At the very moment that the bride and groom entered our living room we heard security forces arriving on the scene.

"In Nissan they were redeemed and in Nissan they will be redeemed again in the future." (Rosh HaShanah 11a) With these words I began to speak in our living room, choking back the tears. How desperately we need redemption in the present month of Nissan.

"Hadas discovered our community during the Corona pandemic ,we held public prayers at Dizengoff Square, exactly where armed police and soldiers were on alert tonight for hours. This is also where Hadas found Moshe, her other half.

"I looked at the two of them and at the guests, some of whom were in shock, and we hesitated about what to do next. We decided that the dream of the terrorist was that we should scatter and cancel our festivity, that we should not gladden the hearts of the new couple in establishing their home in Israel. So we continued. We blessed the couple, we ate, we played music and danced. We chose life. Each time we peeked at our cell phones and saw videos of the panic and hysteria going on outside, we decided that it was preferable to focus on what was happening here inside. We felt that in doing so we would be giving strength to those who, at that very moment, were searching for the terrorist.

"My wife Moriah and I arrived at Tel Aviv from a visit to Ma'ale Hever, a community in Judea, south of Har Hevron. It was strange to receive calls from there asking if we were alright after we had been ordered by the security forces to remain in our homes and not go out. During the past few weeks, we have been reminded of how close to each other all of us really are. Beersheba, Hadera, Bnei Brak and tonight Tel Aviv, too.

"This evening, at the beginning of Shabbat, we are planning a Kabbalat Shabbat prayer for the general public at Kikar Dizengoff in Tel Aviv. All are invited. We will be there to pray for the ascent of the souls of the murdered and for the recovery of the wounded, to be together after a difficult night for us all, and to add life to what had been, just last night, a place of death. Shabbat Shalom from Dizengoff."


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