This past week has been like a roller coaster for me.
On Saturday, I and lots of Pittsburgh teenagers went to the anniversary Havdalah in Beit Shalom synagogue commemorating the October 27, 2018 attack.
At the Havdalah, I had the opportunity to meet teenagers who, over the last three months, I got to know from the different frameworks and also some that I know thanks to the different partnership programs that my family and I have taken part in.
We stood together, in a big circle, in a huge hug, that I cannot put into words.
A year ago
Last year, on October 27, I was sitting with my best friend in my house, excited for my upcoming birthday (October 28).
Suddenly my Dad tells me “Tamar turn on the TV!” I looked at the pictures on screen and couldn’t believe it! There in big, prominent letters I saw the name of the city of Pittsburgh and videos of major police forces and bystanders, some of whom I knew.
I went straight to the phone and wrote to the Shinshinim and my friends asking if everything was fine with them, if they are safe.
The big excitement I had became a big sadness that increased with the arrival of the facts.
Many questions came to my mind and most of all concern for this lovely community that is undergoing a big shock that does not deserve it at all.
A day later, I got up for my birthday without knowing whether to be happy or cry.
When I looked at the news during the day I saw my good friends from the Diller Teen Fellows program who were in the headlines of the news in Israel, they were photographed during the mass Havdalah that occurred in the city that Saturday, hugging and crying.
On Sunday this week I bowed my head but on the other hand I felt very proud. Proud of the community that despite its immense shock has grown and evolved. The seeds of destruction have planted a tree of life.
That morning, I planted a tree myself, with my host family, my Shinshinim friends and the mayor of Karmiel.
The head of the neighboring city to the council I live in, Misgav, and part of the Partnership2Gether program that I am here for.
At noon, I decided to take a moment in front of the Tree of Life synagogue, and couldn’t hold back the tears.
The knowledge that 11 charming people murdered for being Jews is unimaginable!
I went to the ceremony in memory of them, heard the beautiful words said by the different Rabbis and felt how a huge and special hug of togetherness surrounded the hall.
A day later, on my birthday, I felt on the top of the world, so much love and congratulations from people who have known me for only two and a half months and have already become a family and also from the Mayor of Karmiel who surprised me with a sweet gift from home.
Thank you all.
I am honored and proud to be part of this lovely community.
By Tamar Nawy