Shalom to my Rhode Island community



Yisca Shalev-Halfon on her recent wedding day.

You probably all know about the hard situation in Israel right now, and I will try to tell you a little bit of what happens in my life during this time.

Friday, June 13, was my bachelorette party. In the middle of the party I noticed all my friends were constantly checking their phones. A few hours later I heard what happened. Three boys were on their way home for Shabbat and were kidnapped – Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frankel. It was very hard to hear the bad news, and we all hoped that they would return home safely. One week later was our wedding day, June 19. We prayed for them under our chuppah. Two-and-a-half weeks later, we heard sadly of their murder. Everyone in Israel could not believe how strong their families can be, and how much they brought all the people in Israel together to pray, to hope and later to be part of their sadness. They were our boys, everyone in Israel kept saying, and this is really how I felt also.

A few days later, Israel started to be under a missile attack from Gaza. My husband Onn (he was also a shaliach in Mobil, Alabama, and in Delaware, and today works with me at the Jewish Agency) was called to his army duty the day before we started our year shlichim training. He and also few more upcoming shlichim (one of them being Gilor, your new shaliach for this year) didn’t arrive on July 9 for our first day of training.

The shlichim training started in Jerusalem. In the middle of programs, we run to the shelters. We hear sad news all the time about so many soldiers that have gotten hurt and been killed during the war. One of them, Zvika Kaplan z”l, is my friend and married my very good friend. They have two boys and live in the north of Israel. He was one of the Golani officers that was killed. He was one of those guys you can say only good things about, always volunteering and wanting to help anyone in need and never thinking he was doing anything special, just that this is part of the thing you do as a human being. 

Also in the same battle Shon Carmeli, a lone solider in Golani, was killed. His funeral was on the same day of Zvika’s funeral at 11 p.m. All the people in Israel were talking about how important it is to come to his funeral because he has no family in Israel. Our shlichim asked to go to his funeral so we organized a bus and drove to Haifa. There were more than 20,000 people who felt a connection to Shon and decided to come, without even knowing him.

In Israel we really hope for better and quiet days; we don’t want to lose any more people.

We want to come back to normal life when you don’t need to run to the shelter, when you don’t hear all the time about people who are injured or killed.

And from you, I’m asking to support Israel. We don’t want this war, but we also don’t want to be scared to go to sleep and we could not hear the siren. We don’t want to live a life when people want to kill you and this is their mission.

I know that Israel is our land and this is our place to be and to live even when it’s hard.

When our life will get back to normal, I hope to see you all visiting in Israel.

With much love

Yisca Shalev-Halfon

Your Israeli emissary