Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Day 4: Maalot and Goldwasser Family in Nahariya

Maalot and Goldwasser Family in Nahariya

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Wednesday morning we headed north to Maalot where Yakov Marks, an American from Birmingham, Alabama, has lived with his family for over 20 years. He showed us the school building where 21 children were murdered by Palestinian terrorists in 1974. The school and several buildings surrounding it had sustained major damage in this war as well. There is much devastation in Ma’alot, the Matnas (community center) and many homes were destroyed. There was some nervous laughter as residents were returning, expressing relief that at least their lives were spared.

From a broad perspective, things haven’t changed much in Northern Israel. The same towns hit thirty years ago are still being hit. The school building in Ma’alot is still a target. Kiryat Shmona where nineteen were murdered in 1979, is still being shelled. Nahariya in 1974 was the site of a terrorist attack. A mother, hiding in a closet, with her infant child, covered his mouth, so that terrorists who had invaded their home, would not detect they were there. Inadvertently, the mother suffocated her child. This summer, Nahariya was once again in the line of fire. It seemed that Hezbollah is intent to drive home the point that Israel is as vulnerable today as it was thirty years ago.

We went on to Nahariya to see the family of Ehud Goldwasser, one of the kidnapped soldiers. Karnit, Ehud’s wife, who spoke in our Riverdale synagogue (the Bayit) a few Shabbatot ago, looked tired. The reality that her husband was not quickly coming home, has set in. She was asking questions I heard many times before. Should the family work only with the government, or take private initiatives? These were issues that Avital Sharansky and others dealt with in their struggles to free their spouses. Some kind of balance is needed. No matter, it is, from my perspective, absolutely necessary that Ehud’s plight remain in the Israeli headlines otherwise he will be forgotten, much like other Israeli MIAs.

We traveled down south to Yerushalayim, where I would spend the next day preparing for Hadar and Ofer’s wedding. Matan had come home, so things were getting better. On my end, I knew I’d be performing the wedding, speaking only in Hebrew. Yonah and Jason helped as we wrote out in Hebrew, comments I’d be offering under the chuppah. Once in Yerushalayim, my father, a Talmid Chacham and expert in the Hebrew language, was there to help as well.

Day 1: Arrival and Visiting the Family of Daniel Gomez
Day 2: Rambam Hospital, Greenberg Unveiling and Gomez Funeral
Day 3: Kiryat Shmona and Tsfat
Day 4: Maalot and Goldwasser Family in Nahariya
Day 5: A Wedding in Jerusalem
Days 6-8: Shabbat and Departure

Diary of Rabbi Avi Weiss' Trip to Israel During the War

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