50 years ago, I was a happy four year old, youngest of four children in a proudly Zionist household. When my parents got word of the Egyptian and Syrian attacks on Yom Kippur, October 6 1973, there was overwhelming sorrow and worry, as there was in so many households. My dad volunteered to go to help as he could, but the response was they were only taking military age young men.
The eventual Israeli victory in the north and their surrounding of the Egyptian 3rd army in the south, ended the war, but the incredibly high toll was felt in Jewish communities around the world.
About 10 to15 years ago, there was a book written by Max Brooks, son of legendary comedic actor and filmmaker Mel Brooks, titled World War Z. It was made into a movie as well. One passage in the book has an Israeli official explaining that after 1973, Israel had to contemplate every possible calamity, planning ahead for whatever was coming.
We too should draw conclusions from the Yom Kippur War.
- Don’t be handcuffed by a rigid mindset. Always gather information and follow where it leads you, even when it’s uncomfortable.
- As David Harris said at our event last night, we all must understand our role in safeguarding the Jewish people. In 1973, part of that role was to convince the Nixon administration to help, and they did.
- Heed the threat. If someone expresses their hatred or threatens us, we need to take them at their word and act accordingly, engaging law enforcement and government.
- Tragedy and loss offers an opportunity for.reevaluation and self reflection. Use it.
May we all learn from the past, and take stock of how we can build a better future for ourselves, our families, our communities, and all of Am Yisrael.
All of us at Federation wish you and your families a meaningful fast and a Gmar chatima tova.