What Do I Know?

There are things I know
and so much I don’t.
I don’t know
why people kill people
or if we should have guns
I don’t know
how humans survive
the human condition.
I don’t know
why illness is prevalent
why hate is so strong
why people suffer.

I do know
that I believe in a G-d.
that there is a higher power,
I have heard Him say yes,
and I have heard Him say no.

I know that I want my children to
grow up with that knowledge,
for it makes one humble.

I know that we are more
and more
than we believe.
I know that humans are only people.
There are humans that are more learned,
more skilled,
more educated.
None of them have more power.
None of them can prove
that my G-d does not exist.

I don’t know
what tomorrow will bring
I do know
what yesterday gave
I don’t know
what I don’t know
and each day
I learn
That I know
Blog Post: 23/52

Featured Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Remember this pain.


Every time it happens, we pull together.
Everyone feels united in pain, in the shock we all felt when we heard. Social media is peppered with photos of the heroes, those who put aside everything, to save someone a person they didn’t know.
Today, we are together in grief.
Today, we pray together, we fall together, we pull each other up.
Tomorrow, the anger will begin to sneak back in.
The baseless hatred, the crushing words, the unnecessary bickering that has become our new normal.
Only when we are shocked into silence by terror are we able to stop talking and look at each other as human beings.
Why do we let this happen? Time and time again?
Our country will only continue to spiral into the terrifying mess it is quickly becoming, if we don’t decide to stop.
Put the swords down, lay down the weapons, and let’s face our common enemy together.

Just days into the Jewish new year, let us prove that we can recognize the human in each other before the tragedy has to strike.

The next time you feel like lashing out on a stranger on the internet, remember this pain, this grief, this connection you felt with your fellow human beings today.

Take something from this senseless act, and let it be a motivator for love, understanding, and courage in a time when acceptance is what we preach, yet rarely practice.

The world is trembling. Rather than ripping it apart with our words and hateful actions, let us tenderly fix each broken seam, and lovingly put it back together again.

Not all heroes wear capes, they say.

Take today, and become a hero.


Blog post: 4/52.

Dedicated to the memory of the 59 lost souls in Las Vegas, and all those who have needlessly lost their lives this year.

This year, I pray for G-d.

Dear G-d,

5,778 years ago You gently handcrafted each being, each blade of grass, each solitary piece of sand.
I know time means nothing for You. For You, space is as wide as it is small. I know that You have The Master Plan. But surely, even You could not have foreseen it getting…this bad.
Everywhere I look, there is destruction – if not of physical buildings than of people, families, values.
Those who are desperately desiring peace cannot get through to the protesters, the protesters cannot understand why there are people who seem to be passively allowing the world to crumble around them.
There is so much pain, so much hatred, so much of the ability for us to forgive has been lost.
Costs of basic necessities have skyrocketed, religions are mocked and looked down upon. The rushing oceans are thick with pieces of our lives we forget to be grateful for, beautiful animals are becoming extinct. The world quakes in fear of the next disaster, the next time mankind will strike out against their own.
Hurricanes ravage small islands, earthquakes split the very land we walk on.
It’s as if even the depths of the earth are crying out “enough! Enough!”
Our nation seems to be in shreds, never before so divided, never before so wary of each other.
It is a terrifying world to grow up in.
Yet when I shared this sentiment with a friend, who can always be relied on to see the glass half full, she shook her head.
She disagreed.
She said, “Look how far we’ve come!”
She said, “We have been dealt many unfair cards, yet we persevere as a people.”
G-d, this Rosh Hashonah, greeting You in synagogue will be an exhausted people. Your children are broken. Many have lost loved ones. Many have lost homes. Many are battling wars in their bodies and in their minds.
All are searching. All are searching for You.
You, G-d, who 5,778 years ago, handcrafted each one of us.
You, G-d, who lovingly wrote each word of The Master Plan.
Look upon us G-d, and see Your people. See how we still stand before you. See how we have not let the ravaging waters steal our faith, even when there was every reason to let go.
G-d, You came to us, You were in the fields. Have you not wept each day? Have You not tenderly looked at us, moved by our convictions, touched by our dedication?
As You leave the field, pockets filled with tear-stained prayers, as You climb upon your throne again, allow Yourself to be rid of whatever is holding You back.
Look down upon the earth You promised to never destroy, and stay true to that promise.
We are the people who You so desired.
We have given our all, we have scratched the bottom of the barrel.
We are here, G-d.
And doesn’t that just say enough?
With deep prayers for a better tomorrow,
Blog Post: 2/52

Featured Image: Photo by Jack Hamilton on Unsplash

An Ode To The Brave

Yesterday, I woke up to some really terrible, gut-punching news.

Throughout the day I watched as people raised their voices, shared their thoughts, joined in mourning.
I felt this weird pressure to be a part of it, to share my feelings and thoughts about what occurred.
I didn’t.
I couldn’t.
I had nothing to say.
When the photos, names and ages were released, I was numb to what it meant.
These kids were born at the same time I was.
They grew up in the same world I did.
Their life ended yesterday.
Mine didn’t.
Mine didn’t, and I’m not even doing anything with it.
I wake up, I go to sleep.
I write words like these, words, just…words.
I allow people to tell me that I inspire them, I allow people to praise my bravery.
What does that even mean?
How am I brave? I am not brave.
I hide. I hide behind words and they do a wonderful job of covering for my cowardice.
The other day I was walking down the street and made eye contact with someone across the road, and she called out “loved your article! You’re so brave!”
I smiled.
I smiled until I got to my destination.
I am not brave.
Brave? Brave is thinking about someone else rather than yourself.
The word brave has been twisted and misconstrued in this world that we live in.
Brave does not mean hurting those around you at the expense of your happiness.
Bravery is being there for others at the expense of yourself. Bravery is when the danger is directed at you, for the sake of others. Bravery is when despite the consequences for yourself, you do something for the sake of the greater good.
You become a soldier in the IDF, even though you may not come home.
Bravery is not when I write articles about personal subjects, especially when I know someone will be commenting “love this.
You’re so brave.”
Over the past 24 hours, I felt like words were a trap, a trap made to let us feel like we were doing something.
Words are not brave.
Action is.
Words are not useless, and they don’t have to be empty. But when actions ends at words, that’s cowardice, not bravery.
If I didn’t receive response to my writing, would I still share it?
I’m afraid of that answer. For I am not brave.
Yesterday, the world turned on their TV’s and watched the Golden Globes. Just a few hours after four IDF soldiers were senselessly, needlessly, horrifyingly killed by a terrorist, celebrities dressed up in their finest and showed up to an event that celebrated them. The heroes of the day became those who star in movies, write songs, and produce entertainment.
I’m not saying that art is not valuable. I love art. Movies can be brilliant and important messages for our time, an incredibly powerful way to reach a wide audience.
But are they our heroes?
Are they who we want to motivate our children to emulate?
Dresses and tuxedos?
Why is fame and fortune the end-goal, the very real dream of so many children?
Where have we gone wrong? How did we get to this place, that who wore what at the Golden Globes is a bigger, more important topic than the four soldiers who were killed?
Those who gave up their lives yesterday, they were brave.
I don’t envy them.
I just hope, and I just wish that in their memory, in their merit, I can have a little part of them in me.
I hope that I can be a little more brave.
Today, I did something that scared me.
Because I didn’t want to just write words again. I didn’t want my words to be the end. So I did, and then I wrote.
Tomorrow, I will do again.
The day after, and the day after, as long as G-d allows me life, because yesterday, four of my heroes were not allowed to wake up again.
And so, as long as I continue to wake up, I will wake up for them.
I will use a part of my day for them.
To try something new.
To do something that I have always been afraid of.
Because that is the only way I know how to be brave.
May the souls of Yael Yekutiel, (20), Shir Hajaj, (22), Shira Tzur, (20), and Erez Orbach, (20) have seats right beside G-ds throne, and may their memory live on forever, through the ones who remain behind.

I Don’t Remember It

Fifteen years ago, I was four years old.

I don’t remember the towers falling.
I don’t remember the pain.
I don’t remember the whispers from the adults.
I don’t remember the horrific images in every living room in America.
I don’t remember any of it.
My entire life though, I’ve heard about the tragedy that changed America at its core.
I’ve lived in New York for three years, and I’ve come to embrace the intricacies of the city streets. I love to disappear among the millions of people and explore each brick and alley.
New York is intertwined with my entire life, I visited constantly as a child.
Both my parents grew up in Brooklyn, and I have plenty of relatives here.
I mean to say that New York and I are not strangers.
But the tragedy that shook the state is distant. It never felt like it happened in my lifetime, though I heard about it all the time. I stared at the empty place in the skyline. I watched the freedom tower be built up. I was well aware that it took place.
This year though, fifteen whole years later, it felt very real.
Perhaps because of the rising numbers of terrorist attacks all over the world. Perhaps because I’ve been on edge, living in a certain state of fear, that it suddenly opened my eyes to what really happened that day.
I read personal accounts, I cried as I heard parents, spouses and children tell their 9/11 story.
I don’t remember that day, but I grew up in the aftermath of it.
I grew up in a country that was afraid.
And as the years have gone by, we have just been growing more frightened.
Today, I spent the day in DUMBO. A charming, beautiful part of Brooklyn that presents you with a view of the whole of the Manhattan skyline. The gaping hole was blatant.
Today, I went on the subway. I waited on a stiflingly hot elevator. It was crowded, there were all kinds of people on it.
For a moment, I locked eyes with a woman dressed in a burqa. For a moment, I thought about how she felt today. Does she feel guilty? Does she feel threatened? Is it a dangerous day to be Muslim?
Then I realized that she had nothing to do with that day, just like nobody else in that elevator had a hand in bringing that day to its tragic start.
We are all people, living in the same city, feeling the same feelings.
We are all so afraid of each other.
We all avoid eye contact.
In the last few years, we have created a broken nation. We have built up walls and angry words, dividing ourselves with things that don’t matter in any way.
Let’s not wait for another enormous tragedy to begin loving each other.
To pull down the walls.
Just a few weeks ago, the Olympic Games ended with Team USA wildly in the lead.
That was a moment of great pride for me as an American, although I did nothing to achieve that.
Let’s get that feeling back.
I don’t remember 9/11, but I have seen what it has done to our country.
I don’t want to see another 9/11.
 I feel quite lucky that I can’t remember the depth of the tragedy. I can’t imagine how it would have altered my perspective on everything as a child. I grew up blissfully unaware.
But I’ve grown up now, and I’ve woken up.
We live in a scary world.
Let’s at least not fear one another.
photo credit: Getty Images