This is a letter written by a young woman. I don’t know her personally – and yet I do. She is 20 years old, she lives in America. She is Jewish. In her letter, she tells you a bit about herself. She shares a first name with my youngest daughter – but so much more, she shares a collective memory, something that binds her to us, and us to her. She lives far from the tragedies of the Fogel family. This message shows that through the distances of miles and time, this horrible terrorist attack should touch us all.
A Letter to President Obama from a Young American Jewish Woman
Dear President Obama,
I am writing to you about the unspeakable and horrific acts of terror that took place in the settlement of Itamar in Shomron on the West Bank of Jersualem on Friday night, March 11, 2011. Udi, 36, his wife Ruth, 35, and their children Yoav, 11, Elad, 4, and Hadas, 3 months, were all stabbed to death in their homes. I am sure you are well aware of the attacks and the terrifying details of that sadistic massacre. I am writing to ask you what America, our brave and beautiful country, plans to do about it.
I am a Jewish American, born and raised in the United States. I love my country with all my heart and am a very patriotic citizen. However, I love Israel with all my heart as well, as the Jewish people are my brothers and sisters. This innocent family was murdered in their own homes, slit by the throat and in the heart, some while asleep and some while awake, witnessing their own extermination. This is the type of horror that one cannot even bear to imagine. Three children, who G-d chose to carry on their family’s legacy, survive them. The type of horror these young children now live with is also something one cannot even bear to imagine. Although bombs and chemicals are atrocious, the personal nature of this attack makes it indescribable and abominable.
I have been in Israel twice in my life, on a vacation and a ten-month deferment when I studied abroad two years ago. I have seen the landscape of the country and seen the heartbeat of this illustrious and indestructible nation. I have lived in America my entire life. I have seen the greatness and strength of this country, and the unyielding power we hold in the world. It is time for America to step up and take a stand. It is time for the media to condemn these actions. It is time for the world to take note and pay attention to the fear and terror that is occurring in homes and cities far away from theirs. It is time to start publicizing heinous crimes and report the truth. When will enough be enough?
To stand and watch is to align yourself with terror.
To quote Martin Niemöller’s famous poem:
First they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for me—and by then there was no one left to speak out for me.
I am speaking out now in the hopes that my voice can be heard. I stand behind my people, as I hope my President does for his.
Aliza Falick, 20