Jewish Scholastic Press Association

Bringing professionalism and Jewish values to high school journalism

Jewish Scholastic Press Association

Jewish Scholastic Press Association

Polls

At your school, do more kids read the student news source in print or online?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

COLUMN: Sleepless nights and random tears

Over the past week, I have found myself struggling to put emotions into words. Trying to find logic in a situation where you cannot rationalize another side and their motives.

Emma Katzen

Motzei Simchat Torah, like many people I opened my phone to hundreds of messages, rocket alerts and news articles.  I had decided to spend the last days of chagim with my sister in Toronto to celebrate her recent engagement and my Bubbie’s birthday, then head back to L.A. on Monday. What I had not expected was to be hugging my sister crying together because we did not know which of our friends were alive.

The first text I saw on my phone was from a group chat of friends, some who live in Israel. One friend messaged us that her kibbutz had been attacked. I then scrolled through many more messages of friends telling me they were being drafted early, old counselors called in for reserves, and more.

While I was consumed by these messages, I looked over to my sister who had broken down. Her fiance, who lives in Israel, happened to be visiting his family in America. His childhood friends, practically brothers to him, are serving in very intense units that normally go in and out of Gaza.  Unfortunately, this time there is no “out” of Gaza until the war subsides.

My sister and her fiance heard from one of their friends’ mother that he was called back in immediately, so he made the phone calls he had to make and said the I-love-you’s he needed to say before heading into action. What 22-year-old in America do you hear say that causally?  Sometimes I find myself tearing up at random moments: in class, driving to and from school, doing homework, grocery shopping, etc. I am spending my free time refreshing my Tehillim lists, watching them grow, or in some cases shrink.

 

I could not sleep that night, deep diving on my phone, creating lists of names for Tehillim and going through a spiral of news information, hoping to find some piece of information that contained any positivity.

Almost everything we heard that night about our friends was second-hand information from their families. I had to leave Toronto the next morning on a 7 a.m. flight back home. I could not sleep that night, deep diving on my phone, creating lists of names for Tehillim and going through a spiral of news information, hoping to find some piece of information that contained any positivity.

Before I knew it, my alarm went off to leave for the airport. While I was standing in line to get through customs, there was an Orthodox Jewish man behind me. I had informed him that I was going to pray Netz (the early morning prayer) and say Tehillim if he wanted to join me. We found a spot in our terminal, and the second we started the morning blessings I found myself crying. That was not the first or last time that day, or week for that matter.

 

I feel like a part of me has been taken away. I am very open about growing up in a very Zionist household, not to mention being involved with Bnei Akiva from the age of 7. Israel is a large part of my Jewish identity; it is where I see my future. I cannot even begin to describe the connection I have towards it. For the past week I have not been able to sleep properly.  Sometimes I find myself tearing up at random moments: in class, driving to and from school, doing homework, grocery shopping, etc.  I am spending my free time refreshing my Tehillim lists, watching them grow, or in some cases shrink.

Know what you are sharing with the world is correct, because it is harmful to everyone if false information is shared. On either side.

Here is some logic I have managed to find.  Although it is important to continue living my life, because you can only do so much being in America, it is also important to stay updated and educated. One cannot just walk through life talking or posting about things they have not educated themselves in.

Know what you are sharing with the world is correct, because it is harmful to everyone if false information is shared. On either side.  Real and innocent people are dying. I have no issues with anyone but Hamas. I have issues with the fact that murder and destruction are being utilized for political movements. Israel is at war with Hamas, while Hamas is at war with the world.

This story was originally published in The Boiling Point on October 23, 2023

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All Jewish Scholastic Press Association Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *