Jewish Solidarity in Action: Jewish Women Pray in Hadassah Hospital, Jerusalem, for Netanel, Wounded IDF Soldier
By Tatiana Tessler
On January 8th, 2019 I was very proud to join an event in the synagogue of Hadassah Hospital for an IDF soldier. Netanel is an Israeli soldier, close in age to me and the son of a woman who used to work for Israel Forever, where I served as an intern.
Netanel was shot in the head by a terrorist. His injury is so severe that despite the excellent medical care at Hadassah he was still in critical condition. This means that he is in danger of losing his life. That’s why Israel Forever put together a special women’s event, to pray for his healing.
The event was on Rosh Chodesh. Many women came together in the small but very beautiful synagogue with its famous Chagall windows. Different women spoke about Netanel and the inspiration we can draw from being united in purpose. The songs were beautiful and uplifting.
I hope that Netanel’s mother and sister who were both there felt strengthened by this gathering of Jewish women praying for Netanel’s recovery. To me, it was very emotional to see a lot of people united in intention and praying for his healing. How special it is to be part of a people who come together in love and support in this way, to help someone they may not even know but care about because he is one of our own!
In Israel, one can always find support and assistance. Our nation is one family and that is an amazing thing to witness.
In the hospital, I saw other things that were special and indicative of the special environment that is created in Israel. People who have never been to Israel would probably be surprised to see Arabs and Jews side by side in the hospital, receiving the exact same treatment.
I was shocked to learn that terrorists who murder Jews will receive the same medical treatment as Jews, in the Jewish hospital. If only they would learn tolerance and raise their children with more love (rather than the ideal of fighting Jews) we could actually have peace. Israel provides the opportunity for coexistence. I saw it at Hadassah.
I was very sad when I heard about Netanel. I prayed a lot for him because I hope he will heal and be able to go home soon. For me, it is terrible to hear this kind of thing. He is a very young soldier, described as someone who always smiles and is a very happy person. He was trying to do what is necessary for Israel and in one instant his life is changed forever. He wasn’t in a war or a battle. He was just standing at a bus stop when he was shot. He should have a long and happy life ahead of him, he has friends and family that love him very much. I pray that he will recover!
I was impressed when I saw his mother and sister smiling at the hospital. How could they smile? It was incredible to see them like this. One would think that the family would be sad and worn out but what I saw was exactly the opposite. I talked with his mother and she said that she can’t be not smiling, because Netanel is happy all the time, so she and her daughter are happy too. It’s not that they don’t understand the seriousness of the situation. They do, but they want to be happy, for him, to continue the way he is in the world. It takes enormous strength to be able to do that!
Israelis are more accustomed to hearing this kind of story because they live with terrorism, but for people that don’t live in Israel, it is much harder to comprehend.
I was sad to see such nice people suffering so much but it also made me proud to be part of a special nation that cares for each other, upholds each other in times of trouble. We pray together, often people donate money to support families in need and just show up to show that we care. This unity, this feeling of family, is the essence of Jewish solidarity and what keeps Israelis strong even when times are very very difficult. We may not be able to make the terrorism go away but we can live beyond it, not letting even horrible situations stop us from continuing to be happy and smile.