We Don’t Run

How to explain the emotions of the last few days?

ושמחת בחגיך והיית אך שמח

Succot, the festival of Tabernacles, we are told to be happy. To have days filled with joy. We build our succahs, we sit in them for our meals, some sleep in them. We spend time with family and friends. Those of us lucky enough to live in Israel have the opportunity to go up to Jerusalem, just like Jews did in the time of the Beit haMikdash.

For me this Succot was to be extra special. Not only did our close friends and former neighbours from Boca make a beautiful barmitzvah here in Israel, but a dream of a lifetime was to come true. Bon Jovi finally came to Israel. Jon Bon Jovi, who couldn’t care less what anyone thinks, spat in the face of BDS and after nearly 30 years finally announced a concert in Tel Aviv. As a Bon Jovi fan for almost 30 years myself, I have always wanted to see them play in Israel.

And yet.

Thursday, after our friend’s barmtizvah, we visited other friends who live in the Shomron. We came home Thursday night, and I didn’t even  hear about the terrorist attack that left Naama and Eitam Henkin dead, and their 6 children orphaned until the next morning. This happened in the Shomron. Not close to where we were, but still, the Shomron. In addition to that murderous attack, there was rock throwing attack near Tekoa, in Gush Etzion, where thankfully, none of the family in the car were seriously injured. And then, shortly before  I lit candles on Friday evening, I learned that a dear online friend, Christie, whom I have known for about 10 years, had succumbed to cancer. A heaviness accompanied me into Shabbat of Succot, My happiness was tainted.

My excitement for the concert on Saturday night was hard to curb. Music has always been my comfort. When I’m sad, when I’m happy, when I’m scared, music, especially Bon Jovi music, is what I turn to. For me they have lyrics for every occasion. The rock anthems of the 80s, the ballads of the 90s, and the country-tinted songs from the 2000s. And the rest.

I headed into Tel Aviv with a group of friends. We arrived just in time for the band to get on stage. It was electric. For me it was my fourth time seeing BJ live. But nothing, absolutely nothing, can compare to this one. Jon played to the audience. The setlist was tailored for the Israeli crowd – very few songs from the last few albums, mostly older stuff. It was by far the most amazing experience.

Unknown to the band (and to most of us in the crowd) shortly before they took the stage another murderous attack took place. This time 2 more Israeli men were killed by Palestinian terrorists. The wife of one is in a serious condition in hospital, and their baby was also injured. A baby. This attack happened inside the Old City of Jerusalem. The victims were on their way to pray at The Kotel.

Jon Bon Jovi played one song from their recently released album “Burning Bridges” last night. He dedicated it to Tel Aviv, saying “This should be the fight song for Tel Aviv” – I think he meant for all of Israel. The song is called “We Don’t Run”. You can read the lyrics here.

We left the concert, and that was when we learned about the new attack in Jerusalem, in addition to two separate attacks on children – CHILDREN – sitting in their succahs that occurred on Friday night.

How much longer can this go on? Have we entered a third Intifada? What do we do?

We don’t give in. We don’t give up. This is our land. This is our home. We must be able to live here, in spite of those who try to get rid of us.

In the words of Bon Jovi:

“We don’t run
I’m standing my ground
We don’t run
And we don’t back down
There’s fire in the sky, there’s thunder on the mountains
Bless each tear and this dirt I was born in (run)
We don’t run, we don’t run”


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