web analytics
April 1, 2015 / 12 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

From Sderot To Newtown To Shushan: Placing Tragedy In Perspective

Dreyfus-022213

I have two homes.

My first home is Connecticut, a place of rustling oaks and sprawling backyards. My second home is Israel.

I travel to Israel quite often, my parents and little sister having recently made aliyah. When curious Israelis used to ask where I was from, the response, “Connecticut,” prompted befuddled stares. “Mah? Canada?”

On my most recent visit, the word “Connecticut” elicited a wildly different response. “Connecticut? Do you live near Newtown?”

Hearing those who live a stone’s throw from the Syrian border murmur about the danger of my inconspicuous home state is incredibly unnerving. Before the inexplicable tragedy of the Newtown shooting, I could think of no place more unobtrusive or safer than the suburban haven I knew from my childhood memories.

Newtown was the place we passed on the way to horseback riding lessons. It was neat houses with carefully manicured lawns, two cars parked in the driveway or garage – houses just far enough apart to prevent a stray baseball from breaking a neighbor’s window. It was a place of quiet rocking chairs on white porches, and foliage that changed to magnificent shades of orange and red when summer turned to fall. With the falling leaves, the children of this quiet town were ushered back each year into quiet schools.

When death did come to visit, it did so in a gentle, respectful manner – tapping politely on the shoulder and edging in sidewise, apologizing all the while. Death did not intrude.

I could imagine no place more different from this quiet town than the Israel we read about this past December during the conflict with Gaza. A place where blaring sirens became the norm, alerting citizens that they had mere seconds to reach a bomb shelter. A place where eighteen year olds walk the streets with guns slung as nonchalantly over their shoulders as backpacks. A place where bus drivers eye packages and passengers with wary stares.

But Connecticut? When does Connecticut make headlines?

On that clear-skied Friday morning that sent the world reeling, I was sitting in my dorm room, typing up some last-minute papers. My roommate called to me. CNN was open on her browser, cluttered with pictures of ambulances, security personnel, and bystanders transfixed in horror. Another attack in Israel, I immediately assumed.

But the headline didn’t read Sderot or Tel Aviv. The headline read Connecticut. My expectations floundered, and went black.

As much as it pained me to hear about the children of Sderot running into bomb shelters when the sirens rang, it is what we, the world, had come to expect. The routine of the matter had dulled our senses to the tragedy. Israel, surrounded by unstable, violent regimes, was accustomed to violence. Prepared for violence. Capable of handling violence.

But this quiet town, tucked away between rustling oaks? How to respond when Israeli citizens ask me it is safe to live in Connecticut?

As someone with a deep connection to both the Jewish state and the Nutmeg state, I am in a unique position. The stark irony of the matter settled heavily on my shoulders. The two worlds in which I stand were reversed. What, I asked myself, can I take away from the unexpected role reversal of my two homes?

Purim is fast approaching. One of the holiday’s underlying themes is the concept of v’nahafoch hu – a complete and unexpected reversal of affairs. Everything and anything – from expectations to circumstances to guarantees – can change utterly, in an instant.

The Jews were invitees to a party in the king’s court – switch. The Jews were sealed for complete annihilation – switch. The man who had single-handedly commandeered their tragic sentence was hanged, all his progeny alongside. And the Jews rejoiced: “And in every province and every city…there was joy and gladness for the Jews, a banquet and a festive day” (Esther 8:17).

But why rejoice? We were not restored to our land. One enemy defeated, but could history have foretold the countless tragedies that were yet to befall the Jewish people? A Haman in every generation, threats of annihilation never growing dim.

Would the Jews of Shushan have rejoiced if they knew what was to come?

About the Author: Hannah Dreyfus is a junior at Stern College for Women majoring in journalism. She currently works as managing editor of the YU Observer and an editorial intern for The Jewish Week. Her work has appeared on Aish.com, The Times of Israel website, and in The Jewish Press. She hopes to pursue a joint degree in journalism and law.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “From Sderot To Newtown To Shushan: Placing Tragedy In Perspective”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Anti-Semitism comes with a high price.
No Insurance Available for Jewish Kindergartens in Belgium!
Latest Indepth Stories
.

Indifference to the pain of the many singles should require us to have our heart, not head, examined

hurva

The rededication of the Hurva caused international hysteria.Arabs called the action a “provocation”

Photo from President Barack Obama's past visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

{Originally posted to author’s website, FirstOne Through} TRUST Trust is the bedrock of a functional relationship. It enables one party to rely on the other. A trust that includes both intention and capability permits a sharing of responsibility and workload. The relationship between US President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu started off badly and further […]

jabotinsky with sword

Jabotinsky said “Go To Hell” was a good retort to opponents of the Jewish people; fitting for Obama.

Obama pulled off one of US history’s greatest cons,twice fooling a gullible electorate and most Jews

While in Auschwitz I felt a tangible intensity. I could sense that I was in a place of sheer evil.

Obama needs to wake up. The real enemy is not Netanyahu but Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad,IS

My beliefs & actions have led to numerous death threats against me; my excommunication by my church

In November 2014, Islamic Relief Worldwide was classified as a terrorist organization by the United Arab Emirates.

Too rarely appreciated for its symbolic weight; it can represent freedom and independence.

Erica Pelman is a spiritually-driven woman. She is founder and director of “In Shifra’s Arms” (ISA), an organization that offers aid to pregnant Jewish women of all religious backgrounds practically, financially and emotionally. Its arms are open to any pregnant woman in need whether single, divorced, separated, or from a financially-strapped family. “Presently, we are […]

Many so-called “humanitarian NGOs” frequently abuse Israel by applying false moral equivalencies

Israeli history now has its version of “Dewey Defeats Truman” with headlines from 2 anti-Bibi papers

In God’s plan why was it necessary that Moses be raised by Pharaoh, away from his own family&people?

In their zechus may we all come to appreciate that life is a fleeting gift and resolve to spend every precious moment of it as if it were the last.

More Articles from Hannah Dreyfus
Dreyfus-022213

I have two homes.

My first home is Connecticut, a place of rustling oaks and sprawling backyards. My second home is Israel.

My relationship with social media is and remains an ambivalent one. Unlike many of my peers, I did not initially embrace social media, from its beginning stages with AOL instant messenger and proceeding quickly on to MySpace and Facebook.

While fear used to motivate, even inspire, mine is a generation that views threats as challenges and raises a skeptical brow at austere ultimatums. Reverence often seems a throwback to old times, and absolute authority, whether in classroom or in the synagogue, is a concept increasingly more difficult to swallow. As a counselor at an Orthodox Jewish sleep-away camp this past summer, I witnessed this phenomenon first hand. I worked with forty teenage girls, ages 15 and 16, and quickly discovered the most dependable way to get nothing done: threats.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/from-sderot-to-newtown-to-shushan-placing-tragedy-in-perspective/2013/02/20/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: