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Monday, November 27, 2023

Up and Down

I don’t like roller coasters. Canada Wonderland is a nightmare for me. The up-and-down-and-fast-and-slow-and-up-and-down-and-fast-and-slow? Forget it. An emotional roller coaster is no better. Right now, we are all on such a wild ride of emotions that our heads are spinning. We are breathless and exhausted. This past weekend was like nothing any of us has every experienced.

Hostages are finally being released and families are beginning to be reunited. The world heaves a collective sigh of relief with every video of a husband embracing his newly released wife, children embracing a grandmother missing for 50 days, or a parent holding and squeezing a daughter newly returned, clutching as if to inhale the child’s very soul in order to keep it close. We never tire of those happy videos. But until we get there, until we get there. . . . 

The hostage-release process is rife with delays and infuriating challenges along the way. Hamas is constantly offering excuses, changing the game plan, and pushing the limits of Israel’s patience to the extreme. We tense up as we wait. And when Qatar and Egypt state that Hamas has it wrong and that Israel has abided meticulously to the conditions of the agreement, we’re uplifted again. Then we see a news report presenting the situation with such subtle anti-Semitism that it takes us a while to realize we’ve been sucked in to a one-sided report, the wrong-sided report, and now our blood is boiling again. Then another reunion video and our hearts are soaring. 

My late father used to say, “You have to take your naches where you can find it.” There are many ways to express my father’s sentiment. Monty Python fans will be familiar with “Always look on the bright side of life” and Bobby McFerrin sang “Don’t worry. Be happy.” (Apologies for the earworms.) But this idea is something we must cling to. The only way for us to get through the tension as we wait is to force ourselves to concentrate on the good result: Hostages coming home.  It’s a trickle, not a flood, but we have to take our naches where we find it.

Let’s hang on to that together. If 13 can be free, if 25 can be free, if 50 can be free, then there is hope that they will all be reunited with their loved ones in safety and good health. Let’s continue to speak out against terrorism and in support of Israel (join us in Ottawa next week). Let’s get those hostages home. And let’s get off this damned roller coaster already!

Am Yisrael Chai!