Tragedy in Boston & Yom Haatzmaut Reflections

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The last few days have been surreal. Sunday was Yom Hazikaron – a day when we remember the fallen soldiers of Israel; AND Monday was also Patriot’s Day here in Massachusetts. Patriot’s Day is a tradition I have embraced for the last 28 years and one both of my kids (now 20 and 23) have known all of their lives. It is usually a day filled with parades, bbqs, friends, family, the Boston Marathon and so much more. We have celebrated Patriot’s Day in 90 degree weather, in the rain and in the snow.  Yesterday started out with such promise, with family and friends joining my son Josh and me on our front lawn to watch the Marathon (we live at about mile 19 on the route). It was a great day for the runners, but a little chilly for us spectators. This all changed at around 2:50pm Monday when two explosions occurred at the finish line in downtown Boston, about 7 miles from our home. When we heard the news, most of our guests had already left. We were glued to the television and social media for the rest of the evening. The outpouring of love and concern from family, friends and colleagues near, and as far away as Israel, was overwhelming.  Thankfully, no one we know was directly injured or killed in the tragedy. However, we do know MANY people who live and work in what is now the “crime scene” area. We are all dealing and coping with the loss in our city, but we will recover. Last night was the annual Boston Yom Haatzmaut celebration, hosted by the Israel Consulate of New England and CJP. I was not looking forward to going given the circumstances, but, I must say, it was an extremely meaningful and moving evening. While celebrating and commemorating Israel’s 65th birthday, we as a community were also able to come together in light of yesterday’s tragic events to remember and comfort each other. The common thread of all the speakers was that Bostonians are resilient - and that we are. Many spoke about how next year’s Marathon will be bigger and better than ever. It was especially moving that Governor Deval Patrick made the time to come address the audience of over 500 people (my estimate). He spoke briefly (as I am sure he has much to take care of at the State House) about his support of Israel and the Boston Jewish community and thanked our community for their support over the past 36 hours. It was also meaningful to hear the letters of support and concern read from so many Israel officials and friends of the Boston Jewish community. We are not alone. I am certainly glad I did not stay home tonight.

It is at times like this that we look around and should be thankful for all the good things in our lives. It is so easy to lose sight of what is important. Take the time to reach out to family and friends – say a kind word, do something nice for someone (even a small gesture sends a caring message), give your kids an extra hug or whatever works for you. Don’t leave things unsaid; stand up for what is important to you; don’t wait for someone else to make the first move – be proactive. In my life there are many things that are important to me, but perhaps the most important is my family, especially my two kids, and I try to let them know often how much I love them.

My younger son, Rafi, is at college in Nashville and he sent me this email today: wrote this poem... thought it might help to uplift you if you were feeling down:

There is a roar at the finish line Everyone in shock But only momentarily Scrambling to help Fear is an afterthought We unite as a city As we do 81 times a year on Yawkey Way For the most part we are strangers Yet we still share an unbreakable bond We are Boston We are ONE

Innocence is lost Patriots' Day. Marathon Monday. The day that raises the kids of Boston We grew up on this This is and was our childhood The pool has been tainted Our kids will one day restore the innocence For now we must rise up To show those who wish to bring us down It simply cannot be done Will not be done Our bond is too strong Perpetually unbreakable

To my friends, family and colleagues: be strong, be resilient and be there for each other!For all of you who were directly affected by Monday's horrible events, my thoughts and prayers are with you. My family will be celebrating Marathon 2014 from our front lawn. Please join us.

And to Israel – happy 65th! Much love to everyone!