A few Thursday nights ago, my husband met our toddler, infant and me for pizza at the plaza across from our apartment. The weather just started to feel crisp; we laughed and caught up on each other’s day. Around us, our neighbors shopped and ate.
As the siren rose, everyone scrambled for cover. Shock overwhelmed us; there hasn’t been a rocket over Tel Aviv since the Persian Gulf War. Between the noise and the palpable terror from all of the adults, our toddler bawled with fear. The following day, the siren came at naptime. Afterwards, I taught our under-sized, curly-haired two-year old what to do when she heard “the noise”.
Before this Thanksgiving, I never fully appreciated what it meant to be thankful for peace. Growing up in the United States, with protective oceans on two sides and friendly neighbors on the others, I took it for granted. Yes, I recited oseh shalom during each Tefillah; at the time, I felt I meant it. But before that Thursday night and the days that followed, I never had to snatch what was most important to me out of a car seat and run for safety because of a lack of peace in my life. And since then, the quiet mantra of oseh shalom has barely stopped.
Rabbi Lauren Ben-Shoshan lives with her two children and loving husband in Tel Aviv.