If Thanksgiving was on October 7

If Thanksgiving was on October 7

Imagine, if you will, waking up early to prepare for a festive family meal for Thanksgiving. The silverware has been set and the turkey is in the oven. Those who live nearby are sitting in the living room, watching football and chatting. Your grown sons and daughters are on the way, grandchildren in car seats. You begin to go down the checklist, keeping a careful eye on the stovetop as your traditional dishes simmer.

Suddenly and inexplicably, the festive atmosphere is split by a siren. It takes you a few moments to absorb what is happening before you turn off the gas and the oven.

“Everyone into the basement,” you yell. You are about to make a quick circuit of the house to make sure that no stragglers are left behind when the first missiles begin to hit, sounding scarily close. There seems to be an impossible number of rockets. You remind yourself that the US has a powerful military and has never failed to protect its civilians. Just as your hand touches the handle of the cellar door, an explosion rocks the house, throwing you to the floor. You get up and can see your neighbor’s house destroyed and in flames. There are what appear to be charred bodies on the front lawn but your mind cannot accept that.

You run into the basement and dial 911 on your cell phone, shocked when it buzzes a busy signal. You slam the door and go down into the basement, trying to reassure your children, realizing that your voice is full of fear.

As you huddle in the basement, you hear the whine of motorcycle engines. Heavy footsteps sound overhead as doors crash open. Shouts in a strange language fill the house above you. The door opens slowly and a young man stands in silhouette.

“Hello,” he says shakily. “It’s Zack, your neighbor,” he says. You recognize him but he seems strangely alien. “It’s safe to come out. They  won’t hurt you.”

He flinches as a scream outside in the street is followed by a gunshot. He is holding his stomach and you realize he is bleeding heavily from his stomach. Leaning against the doorframe, he is pale and looks about to fall. You decide to follow him but several of your guests refuse, preferring to stay in the basement. You go up and find three heavily armed men, sitting at your kitchen table, eating your Thanksgiving meal.  Several other men stand guard, their automatic weapons pointed directly at you. You raise your hands and step forward just as one man throws a hand grenade down the stairs. An explosion follows after which you hear several people screaming. One of the armed men goes down the stairs and shoots the survivors, members of your family, one at a time as you stand in the kitchen, surrounded by armed men.

You are directed to the front door and as you walk through your house, you see young men and even boys, people you have sometimes hired to do yard work or construction, looting. They know precisely where to look and are directing the armed men, commenting on which houses may still have survivors. 

You are led to the end of the street where several pickup trucks stand ready. Several of your neighbors lie murdered in the streets while some are huddled in the back of the trucks. You are led to the trucks, a gun pressed to the back of your head.

I will end here but in real life, the horror continues. Jews in Israel were in their beds, resting on the holy Shabbat, celebrating Simchat Torah, the final day of the cycle of holy days. Instead of sitting down to a blessed family meal, over one thousand Jews were brutally murdered, women raped, and hundreds of hostages were taken, including babies and the elderly. Rather than responding in horror, so many Jew-haters have once again picked up the banner of “Death to the Jews” as much of the world is demonizing Israel. This came after a long period when Israel had grown complacent. Jew-haters were forced to stand aside silently gnashing their teeth because Israel was secure and even living in peace with its Arab neighbors.

To be honest, I am unsure what message I intended to share with this article. This is a Jewish experience. I am reminded that in every generation, Jews are accused of murdering non-Jewish children in order to bake matzot. Yet anyone who has ever attended a Passover seder knows that at one point in the evening, the master of the house opens the front door, declaring, “All who are hungry, come and eat.”

But the wolves are howling at the gates and they want more than Jewish blood. They want to tear down all of society. They hate Simchat Torah, celebrating the Torah, but they also hate Thanksgiving, thanking God for bounty and family.

May you be blessed to sit in peace with your loved ones on Thanksgiving. And may evil quickly be wiped out, never to return.

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