I find myself crying at random moments. I think about my children. I think about my neighbor’s children. I think about children I don’t even know.

I have spent the last two months trying to not be obsessive about keeping up with the news every few minutes. I deliberately ignore the news. I don’t want to be overwhelmed. So I only check it a couple of times a day. But it doesn’t seem to matter. Because the news gets more gruesome every day.

They drugged the kids. The beat the men with electric cables. They burned the kids with a tailpipe so they would be easily identified. They…the list is horrific. I read a report on CNN that says that they don’t want to release the young adult women because they don’t want them reporting on what was done to them (the women) on October 7 and while in captivity.

They recorded the attack on bodycams. They gleefully publicized what they had done. And yet CNN says they can’t release young women because their personal experiences would be too horrible for publication.

I could list all the horrors we know about. I actually wrote a draft that did list them. But, you either know the list or if you don’t, you are better off not knowing. The depth of events just won’t let go. And the reports, with as few details have been released so far, continues to plague us.

So I cry at times. I am so hurt and sad for what we’ve gone through. I am hurt and sad for the children who will never be able to live a “normal” life. I am hurt and sad for those who after almost two months are finding out that they are orphans or widows or…. I am hurt and sad for the realization that there is no way to “fix” this pain and that we will always be hurt and sad over it. The acuteness may fade, but the pain never goes away.

And the war trolls on. Because we have no choice.

We now have a sacred obligation to ourselves, to our children and yes—to you and your children as well. We have to eradicate this kind of evil from the world. And it too will be painful. More people will die. That happens in war. We don’t like it. The costs will be enormous.

If we do the job right (and probably even if we do it wrong), most of the world will hate us. We probably don’t have a decided plan for the day after. We probably have also not heard the worst of things either. And there are still so many hostages and other missing people that we are waiting to hear about.

We all know that the next few months will be tough and painful. It will almost certainly be worse before it gets better. As I have already said, it is literally impossible to anticipate or plan for what will be, because so much is uncertain.

There is though, one thing I do know.

We have been here for 17+ years and this may be the most unsettled we have ever felt. We have lived through multiple wars. We’ve had terror attacks and threats from all sides.

We’ve also had quiet times. Times when security was at extremely low levels and people throughout the country felt safe and secure. We know the extremes and also the many levels in between.

We have three in the army. And nephews and nieces. And neighbors. And friends. And we know families who’ve lost sons and/or daughters. The one constant is that this continues to be the best place for our family.

No matter how you slice it, this is the best place for Jews. This is THE place for Jews.

Someone asked me last week why I think anti-Semitism is on the rise in the U.S. and worldwide. And I responded that I don’t think that there is ANY increase at all. The only thing that has increased is the willingness of people, worldwide, to be open about their hatred of us. For good or bad, we are home. For good AND bad, we are home. And home really is where the heart is.


Shmuel Katz, his wife, Goldie, and their six children made aliyah in July 2006. Before making aliyah, Shmuel was the executive director of the Yeshiva of South Shore in Hewlett. You can contact him at shmuel@katzfamily.co.il. Read more of Shmuel Katz’s articles at 5TJT.com.


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