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Day 7: Iron Swords War

By Leah Garber

“A final tribute to the late Capt. Eden Nimri: The late Capt. Eden Nimri, a resident of Modi’in. An outstanding swimmer at “Maccabi Park Hamim Reut”. Eden was the commander of a team of fighters and was killed in a battle on the 22nd of Tishrei, October 7, at the Nahal Oz outpost, while demonstrating courage and defending her fighters and the State of Israel.”

“A final tribute to the late Sergeant Shira Shochat, who was killed at the Nahal Oz outpost. Our beloved Shira, only 19 years old. We will forever remember your beautiful eyes and eternal smile.”

These are the two community WhatsApp messages we woke to this morning. Eden and Shira were killed last Saturday, but it took a week before we could pay them final respect and bring them to burial.

Although they lived just a few blocks from our home, we didn’t know Shira or Eden. Even so, we were all out there on the roadside in the endless gathering—painting the streets in blue and white flags; painfully singing “Hatikvah,” our national anthem; paying tribute to two beautiful flowers who didn’t have the chance to bloom into the fullness of life.

Many official words were spoken this week, but no speech was as significant, poignant, or full of sympathy and support as the one given by President Biden. In his historic remarks, he promised Israel that he would stand by us—for us, for the United States, and for the sake of all humanity. Although the images that accompanied the speech are horrific and shocking, they must be engraved into our consciousness forever. Even if you heard the speech when President Biden delivered it, listen to it again and again and again. Remember the images, the truth, the horrors. Share it. Stand by us.

In gloomy sadness, I will light Shabbat candles tonight, and I will pray for days full of children’s laughter, joy in life, peaceful serenity. I will pray for shalom!

Shabbat shalom.

Leah Garber is a senior vice president of JCC Association of North America and director of its Center for Israel Engagement in Jerusalem.

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