We are one people
A reflection from Lynne Clayton
My son, Nick Clayton, has wanted to be an Israeli citizen and protect Israel and her people since he was 13. His love for Israel has never wavered. He is a lifetime member of Young Judaea, when starting at 13, he attended Camp CYJ in Wisconsin, and then Camp Tel Yehuda (TY) in New York. This culminated in spending a summer and then a gap year in Israel before college.
I feel afraid for all of Israel. I am still in shock, reeling from the horror and atrocities that Hamas rained down on the Israeli people on October 7, 2023. It is unfathomable that human beings could be so cruel and vicious. This is not war, it was a massacre, cold-blooded murder of innocent babies, young people, and whole families lost…I cannot even imagine how they are feeling, as the devastation continues to be revealed. I am heartsick.
As a Jewish mother, I am incredibly proud of my son! Nick volunteered for the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), made Aliyah, joining after college, and lived there until my husband was dying of cancer when he returned to the US in 2019. Recently, he has returned to Israel and has been living there after re-connecting with a wonderful Israeli woman he met at Camp TY 9 years ago. They just became engaged two weeks ago, while visiting the US for a vacation, during this tragic time. I am grateful they are here now and safe, although we are struggling with guilt and grief, as all her family, their friends and fellow soldiers, everyone in Israel are in dire risk because of Hamas’s continued reign of terror. It is our hope and goal to provide Israel with an unwavering show of love, support, and help in this most desperate time!
I am a lifelong Montessorian and believe the only future lies in trying to find peace. I am grappling with the conflicting feelings of anger, horror, fear, and hope. I pray every day for a peaceful solution, that Israel can continue to be a place of freedom, where Jewish people from anywhere in the world can live and exist in safety. Sadly, this goal seems unattainable when our enemies are intent on eradication of our peoples. My own and our collective faiths are being tested in a way never before seen or experienced.
My heart is breaking for all the Israeli people and Jews around the world that don’t feel safe in their own homes, synagogues, and workplaces, especially my son and future daughter-in-law. Israel, your pain is my pain. I hope we will ask our Israeli sisters and brothers, “How can we help?” and then listen to the answers. I pray for peace and say Kaddish for all of the lost lives cut short by this terrible, unbelievable heinous attack on Israel. Your pain is all our pain. We are one people, who deserve to exist without fear for our very lives, the lives of our children, and their children’s children.