“Mom, are you okay? Has your building done anything to ramp up security?” I asked my mother this morning? She said she wasn’t sure, and she would check with building management. She came back to me a few hours later with a photo of the business card for the man responsible for building security. She said they have extra police keeping an eye, but they haven’t changed any procedures or hired additional staff.
Why am I so concerned? My mother lives in a Jewish Assisted Living Facility. The name of the place has the word Jewish. It is next door to a JCC (Jewish Community Center – a place equivalent to a YMCA where adults and children play, exercise, learn, and swim) and two buildings away from a popular reform synagogue – the one my sister and her family attend for major holidays.
Why now? Saturday, Hamas attacked Israel. Yesterday, or maybe it was day before, Hamas leader called through social media and announced with release to Reuters News Service, that all Muslims around the world should collect in the streets and show support for their attack on Israel on Friday the 13th of October. 2023. Social media then translated this to “Hamas calls for global Jihad, invasion of Israel, attack Jews worldwide on October 13.”
I told mom that I was nervous because of the holocaust; that we already lost family members I never knew to this kind of antisemitism. Mom told me a story about how my Grandfather, born in Russia, watched his brother get shot and left for dead when the Cossacks came. The boy didn’t die, he suffered injuries including a broken leg. About a year later, when the boy was recognized by the Cossacks that had taken over the town, they shot my grandfather’s brother dead then. Left him in the street.
This kind of barbarism, callous unfeeling for another human, is what I am witnessing again. My grandfather was brought to America after that. He survived the rest of the pogroms that swept people into the concentration camps. My grandmothers both had family lost too but their families were brought here.
Those of us who are living now, are the last generation that will ever know people that can share their story live. Going forward it will all be in museums like the Holocaust Museum in DC that houses thousands of hours of recorded and filmed stories and testimonies of that time. The survivors. It was not that long ago. We cannot let it repeat.
Story telling is important so make sure you collect stories from your family while you can. Not only to keep a history but to make sure not to repeat previous mistakes.
If the stress of potential attacks is freaking me out about my mother’s well-being, imagine what it’s like to be in Israel. To live in the US and have a child or sibling or parent in Israel. Thinking of the families that watched their holocaust survived parents and grandparents being captured as prisoners haunts me every time I close my eyes now. Why is there anyone that is not appalled by this?
For now, what I can do is make sure my mother is safe because that is what caregivers do.