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The Answer, My Friend
By Miriam Lock
I am sitting in a coffee shop called "Masaryk" off of Emek Refaim Street in Jerusalem. It's raining outside and there is a comforting greenhouse feeling in the restaurant. Through the wide windows I can see people and traffic go by. It is not crowded - a few couples, small groups of women, people combining business meetings with lunch. It's a soothing atmosphere. The music that is playing in the background is "The answer, my friend, is blowing in the windů" and I wonder if the answer is really blowing in the wind. If only it were.
I just left the home of the Goodman family, who are sitting shiva (mourning) for their seventeen-year-old son, Netanel, who was killed in a freak accident at Kibbutz Maale Gilboa while visiting with his friends from Jerusalem's Hartman High School. The boys, nearing the age when they will soon be called to the army, were checking out the pre-Army program that is held on the kibbutz.
I have a son only a year younger. In fact, my connection to the family is that Netanel Goodman's older brother, Micha, is my son's eleventh grade teacher at Hartman. The boys in Hartman are stunned by the shocking news. There is no way to understand how or why such a tragedy could have happened. And I keep asking myself, how can we protect our children? How can we keep them safe and away from danger? In a world where just walking down the street or getting on a bus may put a person at risk, the idea of being safe is one which is drifting further and further away from our reality.
I don't think that there are any answers blowing in the wind. The country is torn with terror and filled with mourning families, and suddenly a seventeen-year-old boy dies in such a horrific manner. A young boy still in high school, a boy who barely started on his path in the world, who never even got to the army. We don't have any answers. We are raising our children in a frightening, unsure world. We know this already. It is not new. And lately, the world feels more frightening and unsure than ever before.
The challenges we have as parents are becoming greater with every passing minute. How do we teach our children to believe in G-d and to see beauty in life, in the world, and in themselves - when everyday, headlines of people being shot and blown up scream from the morning papers? How do we show them that we all have the potential to find joy and love and even peace? Peace, perhaps not between nations, but at least within our families and inside ourselves, a kind of peace that will hopefully give us strength to be able to stand the lack of it in the world.
The rain is still coming down heavily. Inside "Masaryk" it is pleasant and warm. You could almost imagine - just for a minute - that there is no terrorism, no hatred, no war, and no family down the block mourning their young son. Just for now, I want to believe that there is an answer "blowing in the wind".
from the March Passover 2002 Edition of the Jewish Magazine
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