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APW Happy Hour

May their memories be for a blessing

Dear APW,

I feel like a shell of a person right now. A walking broken heart. It’s hard for me to get words on paper. I spent the 24 hours that stretched from Tuesday night sundown to Wednesday night sundown fasting, in services praying, and with my phone off. I had spent the months leading up to Yom Kippur working on our synagogue’s security committee to try to make our services as safe as I possibly could. But I quickly realized that for me to be able to focus on prayer, I needed to sit on an aisle, near the emergency exit. I had mapped in my head how I could attempt to most quickly get out of services, and circle back around to where my children were, if a gunman were to come in. But I tried as much as I could to put my terror aside, so I could focus on prayer.

And I did, mostly. It was a good Yom Kippur. As we reached the final hour of the fast, we closed our memorial service (which had left me a sobbing wreck), before opening The Ark for Ne’ila, the closing of the gates. And that’s when our Rabbi added to the prayers for the dead, “And those who were killed in Germany today, outside Yom Kippur services.” The attack had happened hours before, but most Jews observing Yom Kippur didn’t know, because we had our phones off. We were all learning the same news right at the end of a 24 hour fast. It was like everything went into slow motion. All I could think was, “We knew it was going to happen. We knew it was going to happen. It was just a matter of where. Nobody listened.”

When we broke the fast, the food tasted like sawdust in my mouth.

When I left you on Yom Kippur, I questioned what I wrote. I was afraid that it was too dark, that I should try to punch it up for a largely non-Jewish audience. But in that last, most sacred hour of the Jewish year, I realized it wasn’t too dark. Maybe it wasn’t dark enough to express the depth of our terror.

I can’t leave you with any uplift today. I can only leave you with a plea that you listen, and hear, and support the Jewish people in your life. You can read what I wrote right after hearing the news here.

And with that, it’s your open thread.


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