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Reflections from our BDJ Members in Israel #5 Part 3

02/15/2024 04:36:24 PM

Feb15

Stacy Kent

Tu B'Shevat at the Nova Site

The day we drove to the site of the Nova festival, it was Tu B’shevat. Being that I was on a JNF volunteer mission, planting trees seemed appropriate.  When I scanned the landscape surrounding the memorial at the Nova site I noticed the forest was comprised of Eucalyptus trees. Those in the distance stood tall, strong and healthy. The ones closer to the site of the massacre had burnt trunks, naked branches and sagged in sorrow. As I approached the pre-dug holes in the ground, I noticed we were planting Eucalyptus trees- Our children died in those trees, with the right love and attention these baby trees will grow tall and strong and forever be a symbol of the lives that were taken from us on Oct 7th. 

The grid of pre-filled holes awaiting new trees was visually reminiscent of a cemetery. But as I approached, I was reminded of the talk we had with the commander of the base in Sde Tamon. The commander was emphatic that “THIS (Oct 7th) is NOT the Holocaust!” He wanted it known to us and a message to Jews in America, that today, we have the IDF, we have the means to fight, we have a land of our own and we are not going to hide— while this may feel like a terrible pogrom, it is NOT the Holocaust. We are a different people, a different nation than we were in Europe in 1938. The strength he imparted, ran deep in me as we planted, prayed and cried.

While we planted there was a loud boom from Gaza. Gavriel, our Israeli tour guide said, “don’t worry that one’s ours” — there is absolutely no way to know that to be true—Gavriel simply said it as if there was no other way. Resilience is in the core of who we are. 

At the Nova site we stood in a reflection circle, said Kaddish and sang HaTikvah. 

Mon, June 17 2024 11 Sivan 5784