Photo Credit: Jewish Press

I shiver as I walk through the silent village.

Lush trees, planted flowers, art and pottery give character to the modest homes that together make up this community.


All the little things that make a house a home – wind chimes, a favorite chair, flip flops… – sit silently bearing witness.

Untouched for weeks.

Bicycles lay strewn on the porch… shattered furniture… police tape. Burnt walls. Destroyed rooms. Sukkahs. In December. On the walls, slashes of spray paint jars the senses – an entire tragedy in a few strokes.

A code on every home.

C for cleared, a red circle with a dot where people were found murdered, and the number of the army unit that checked for monsters.

We hear stories of those who lived there. How they died, but more importantly, how they lived. Many murdered, others abducted, from this beautiful place. I stand at the edge of the village looking out at where the monsters came from.

A deep shiver runs through me at how close they lay yet how far across a deep wide chasm of values and worldview.

We live to love,

They live to hate.

We seek to build,

They seek to destroy.

The villagers flew kites that said peace, shalom, Salaam – over the fence, though only ever received rockets in return.

I shiver as I think of that chasm, at how lost we have been inside it. How long our people sit in tunnels, tortured, raped, suffering. I shiver as I pray for their safety, for an end to this nightmare.

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Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll is cofounder of Chochmat Nashim, fighting the extremist trends that harm the community. Originally from Lakewood, she lives in Israel with her family.