Amy Becker — July 16–July 27
Since I am a teacher and had time off this summer, I planned a trip to Israel to see friends and family who had moved there.
Leading up to the day of my trip, I sat and thought about whether or not to go. I went back and forth one million times. I spoke to all my friends and family trying to get them to make the decision for me. Alas, it was up to me in the end. I wasn’t so much concerned for my safety, as I had faith in the Iron Dome and more importantly, in God. I just was more worried that this would really affect me and my trip. Could I survive hearing the booms and knowing missiles are being launched at me!?! What if I had a breakdown and wanted to go home but couldn’t?
I decided to go and make the best of it. Something in me knew it was the right thing to do, and it was the best decision I made. Not only did I have an amazing time, I learned so much about myself and about the state of Israel.
The night I arrived I experienced my first siren. I prepared for this by telling myself “you will hear a siren—you will go to a shelter—you will hear the boom and then you’ll go about life. You will be safe.” And that is exactly what happened, in that exact order.
Over the next few days, there were more sirens. Yet, my friends and cousins took me all over Israel. We went to the beaches in Herzliya, to The Shuk in Tel Aviv, to all the places in Jerusalem, including the Kotel, and even wine tasting in the North.
I struggled with having so much fun while a war was taking place. Was I allowed to have fun knowing the Israeli army was fighting and sacrificing their lives for the people of Israel? Was it okay that I felt safe and just went about my day after each siren? The ultimate answer is yes. Because that was how I was able to show my support to this beautiful land, to the soldiers, to the people of Israel. I wasn’t letting Hamas accomplish their goal to mentally and physically stop Israel from being her true self.
I had the trip of a lifetime filled with family, friends, adventures and excellent food. I won’t lie and say it was all bliss. The sirens are terrifying and the sound stayed with me. But above all of it, I learned that I am stronger than I thought and that I have more pride in Israel than I thought.
—Amy Becker is an alumnus of Hebrew Academy of Tidewater. She currently teaches second grade at a public school in the Bronx in New York City.