Farewell (for Now) from Our Shinshinim
Beth Tzedec
Mar 15th 2020

Today we are facing a difficult time.

We have never experienced anything so shocking on a global level.

We can’t shake the feeling that we are living in a historical event that will be remembered forever.

People all around the world are scared, schools are shutting down, hospitals are overloaded.

In Israel, the situation is not simple as well- 143 people were diagnosed with COVID-19, and compared to the population,that is a lot.

As Israelis, the instinct when you face a situation like this is to joke about it and act like there’s no big deal, but Israel took extreme precautions in order to face the situation.

All the schools are shut down and most of the flights to or from Israel are canceled. Any person that came back from abroad must stay in isolation for two weeks, and even if you were in a place where a diagnosed person was at the same day, you must be quarantined as well.

Many people, including ourselves and other Israelis, couldn’t understand the decisions of the Israeli government. They felt too extreme and we were afraid they would just make people more stressed and panicked. 

When a few days later we saw the world, including Toronto, following in the same footsteps, we realized there was a good decision making behind those actions.

Even if Israel’s actions were extreme, we can learn from themabout the core values that lead Israel- our country cares the most about the lives of people, we can see that from this case and also from the way Israel and the IDF behave on challenging situations. 

We are proud to see how our country is led by the Jewish value of פיקוח נפש every time.

We wanted to share with you that a decision has been made to bring us and all the shinshinim in North America back to Israel, as a part of the effort to be as safe as we can. We are supposed to come back on the end of the Pesah break - hopefully it will be possible. 

Yesterday, when we got the official message about this decision, we couldn’t find the words to describe how sad we feel to leave. Regardless, until now we feel like this year was more than we could ever imagine. We feel like being here and bringing Israel to you is the most significant thing we could have done in our gap year. 

Knowing that we are going to leave for Israel on Thursday and may not come back made us want to thank you for the amazing experience that we had so far.

We are so grateful for the great opportunity that we've had. Coming here every shabbat, bringing Israel to you through our D'vrai Israel, learning about Canadian culture and learning from the Jews in the Diaspora.

We want to thank you,

Thank you for welcoming us so well in the beginning.

Thank you for every time you listened to us in every Dvar Israel and thank you for your comments on them, the complimenting ones and also the ones that made us better.

Thank you for every conversation in the post-service ‘’Kidush’’, for sharing with us your stories and your thoughts about Israel.

Thank you for coming to our events, Israeli Shakshuka making, The Holiday Of Holidays Festival, Tu Bishvat event and our Israeli Commercials event.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to bring our Israel to you, and to connect you to it.

Thank you for giving us the space to develop, to do things that we haven’t imagine that we will do that made us better, such as speaking in front of so much people, running our own events and much more.

We don’t take it for granted.

We have learned so much from your community, and we were inspired by your passion and caring for Israel that expressed in your listening and caring for us and the content we brought.

We hope that you have learned from us as well, about the beauty and complexity of our beloved country. We want to ask you to stand for Israel. We are always in complicated times and our small state needs as much support as possible. Please be there for Israel, for us, for the IDF, for the bridge between the Jews around the world.

To end this on a happy note, Israeli scientists have recently published that they found a vaccine to COVID-19 that could be distributed in less than 3 months!

Let’s all pray for it to work and for everyone’s safety.

Thank you and Shabbat shalom.