Jonathan Feldstein

Jonathan Feldstein

By Jonathan Feldstein

Summer is a time of vacation and taking a break from the normal pace of life whether in one’s work, or as a student. In Israel, summer is referred to as “the big vacation” and is eagerly anticipated for months in advance. Yet, relaxation in Israel this summer is marred by memories from last summer’s national trauma.

The trauma began in June 2014 when three Israeli teenaged boys, Naftali Frankel (16), Gilad Shaar (16), and Eyal Yifrach (19), were kidnapped and murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists. The kidnapping of these teens triggered unparalleled national unity and prayer. It lead to the 50 day, Operation Protective Edge, war that Israel very much didn’t want but we endured and from which we are still recovering.

In the past few months, I have had the opportunity to meet soldiers still recovering, both physically and psychologically, from their injuries and their families who are still recovering as well. They all credit their lives being saved and the rehabilitation that they are undergoing to a wide variety of people and factors. All equally credit first and foremost, the immediate emergency medical response and blood transfusions which, had they not received in time, their stories would not be told today.

I pray for their full and speedy recovery. I pray that you’ll join me.

And I pray that, no matter what challenges or traumas we face in the future, there will always be a safe and abundant blood supply and that Israel’s national ambulance and EMS service will always be equipped and ready to treat anyone in need. I pray that you’ll join me.

During the war, I reflected personally on some of the challenges we dealt with; air-raid sirens and rockets landing near my home, the trauma experienced by my family (and particularly my younger son), and our resilience. I wrote a series of articles for the Times of Israel, answering questions of well-wishers from overseas asking how we were. The series, “How We Are,” addressed many issues that we dealt with and that were not reported in the international media.

I pray that this summer there is no war. I pray that this is a time of rest and respite from the past year. I pray that those whose scars are “only” emotional and psychological are healed as well. I pray that you’ll join me.

Anyone who has experienced loss knows that the first year is often especially hard. Milestones, such as birthdays, holidays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and other family celebrations, etc. pose emotional hurdles. The anniversary of a loved one’s death can be particularly sad, reopening emotional wounds that may have started to heal.

Israel experienced a great sense of unity last summer. All agreed that the war was indeed just and in self-defense. We had to stop the deliberate firing of nearly 5000 rockets at our towns, cities, businesses, schools, amusement parks, hospitals and houses of worship which terrorists fired from their civilian areas in Gaza. These acts doubled their crimes against humanity. And, let’s remember the discovery of dozens of terrorist tunnels and plans to use these to infiltrate Israel to inflict catastrophic harm and death. Clearly, this war saved countless lives.

Nevertheless, despite the justice of our cause and the super human efforts undertaken by our military to minimize civilian casualties on the other side, this summer dozens of families are reliving the loss from last summer and are experiencing profound grief.

I recently met the twin brother of Hadar Goldin, a 23 year old soldier who was killed during an attack during a “cease fire” that lured him and others into a false sense of security and resulted in more victims. Adding insult to injury, the Palestinian Arab terrorists who killed him also took his body to hold ransom. Hadar’s body has still not been returned in a gross display of evil callousness.

I pray that Hadar’s remains will be brought home for burial and his family has this closure. I pray that you’ll join me.

While Hadar’s family’s trauma is unique, dozens of other Israeli families are experiencing grief that’s no less significant. The names of those killed last summer appear below.

I pray for their families, that they are comforted in their loss by the love and support of friends, family and total strangers like you. I pray that you’ll join me.

Please visit and click the red “submit prayer” button. Your prayer and those of others will be exhibited at an international tsunami of prayers and will be publicized in Israel. Through this endeavor, the families of our heroes will know that you and others stand with them, giving them strength.

Eitan Barak (20)
Amotz Greenburg (45)
Adar Barsano (20)
Bnaya Rubel (20)
Bar Rahav (21)
Tsafrir Bar-Or (32)
Tzvi Kaplan (28)
Gilad Yaakobi (21)
Oz Mendelovitch (20)
Nissim Sean Carmelli (21)
Moshe Melako (20)
Max Steinburg (24)
Shachar Tase (20)
Daniel Pomerantz (20)
Shon Mondshine (19)
Ben Oanounou (19)
Oren Noach (22),
Oron Shaul (19)
Dolev Keidar (38)
Nadav Goldmacher (23)
Baynesain Kasahun (39)
Yuval Heiman (21)
Jordan Ben Simon (22)
Tal Ifrach (21)
Yuval Dagan (22)
Oded Ben Sira (22)
Ohad Shemesh (27)
Dimitri Levitas (26)
Natan Cohen (23)
Evyatar Tourjeman (20)
Paz Eliyahu (22)
Li Mat
Shahar Dauber
Yair Ashkenazy (36)
Guy Levy (21)
Guy Boyland (21)
Amit Yaori (20)
Roi Peles (21)
Avraham Greentzweig (21)
Gal Besson (21)
Barak Refael Degorker (27)
Rami Cahlon (39)
Liad Lavi (20)
Eliav Eliyahu Haim Kahlon (22)
Meidan Maymon Biton (20)
Adi Briga (23)
Niran Cohen (20)
Moshe Davino (20)
Nadav Raimond (19)
Daniel Kedmi (18)
Barkey Ishai Shor (21)
Sagi Erez (19)
Dor Dery (18)
Guy Algranati (20)
Matan Gotlib (21)
Omer Hay (21)
Omri Tal (22)
Liran Adir (31)
Daniel Marsh (22)
Shai Kushnir (20)
Noam Rosenthal (20)
Benaya Sarel (26)
Hadar Goldin (23)
Liel Gidoni (20)
Shahar Shalev, 20