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From Sderot To Newtown To Shushan: Placing Tragedy In Perspective

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“God is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?” wrote King David (Psalms 27:1). When there seems no safe spot left in the world, when even a quaint New England town is under fire, we turn and seek refuge Above. The real celebration of v’nahafoch hu reaffirms our trust in the only Source of true stability and safety.

We rejoice in the recognition that God is in control, no matter what and no matter where. It is this realization that is the source of uncontainable, unshakable joy.

Sometimes it takes the ground underneath our feet shifting to realize we never were standing on solid ground after all. Sometimes it takes the complete reversal of expectations to realize expectations never were meant to be depended upon.

“I’m from Connecticut,” I tell curious Israeli inquirers. Near Newtown? Yes. Near Newtown. Are you scared to go back? No. I’m not scared.

“Are you scared to live here?” I ask in return. Here, surrounded by enemies? Here, surrounded by constant contention and controversy? No. We’re not scared.

God is watching both my homes.

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.


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I have two homes.

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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.

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