It doesn’t matter how many years you live in Jerusalem, if that is all your life or just some years, the magic of this holy city fills your soul, and your heart. You can close your eyes and see all the small streets of the old city, feel the smell of the spices of the shuk … images of terror in the town just do not fit – they don’t belong.

It was absolutely heart breaking to read this morning about two Israeli males who were killed, while a 22-year-old woman, along with her two-year-old baby were wounded on Saturday night by a Palestinian attacker in the Old City near Lions’ Gate.

One of the deceased was later identified as a Rabbi for the IDF. He lived near the area where the terror attack happened and he rushed to the scene of the attack with his handgun to stop the attacker, but was stabbed instead and the Palestinian took his weapon. The other deceased was a father carrying his baby on their way to pray at the Western Wall. The mother is in critical condition in the hospital…. It’s a surreal picture.

It’s absolutely wrong when citizens do not feel safe to walk in the evening during the festive season to pray. The place that is magical becomes once again a heart breaking spot of blood and violence between Israelis and Palestinians. It could all be different, I will always believe there is another way than this… there is a way where peace can be accomplished between two sides.

Holy One of blessing, we pray for the soldiers who are called to defend the people of Israel.
Keep them safe.
When they are weary give them strength.
When they are scared give them courage.
May they find strength and faith in the days ahead.
Holy One of blessing, we pray for the people of Israel who long to live under your canopy of peace.
Keep them safe.
When they are threatened protect them from harm.
When they are wounded and bereaved grant them healing and comfort.
May they find strength and courage in the days ahead.
May our voices carry prayers of hope that the people of Israel know that they are not alone.
Dear God, give us strength and know that there is nothing more sacred than peace.
Grant us dear God, Faith, Courage and Wisdom.

Shabbat Shalom – Rabbi Julia Margolis