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On the Home Front: Excerpts from my journal during the Yom Kippur War

Naomi Brudner

I was young, single, and alone in the country when the Yom Kippur War broke out. A Yerushalmi family I knew had invited me to be with them for Yom Kippur and I gladly accepted. I had no idea, of course, that this Yom Kippur would be unlike any other — in many ways. When war broke out, the family insisted that I stay with them, which I gratefully did, and during that time, I kept a journal.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

By seven o’clock this Yom Kippur morning, we were in shul for Shacharis. All ofEretzYisrael was quiet, except for the prayers of hundreds of thousands, from tens of countries, confessing our sins, begging Hashem for forgiveness, and davening that we be sealed in the Book of Life. On this day we beg for forgiveness, pleading, and crying to Hashem for a good year, a year of health, joy, and peace. We had been davening for about seven hours when suddenly there was a terribly loud, sickening, whirring noise unlike anything I had ever heard before. It tore men, women, and children from their humility and hope. It sent them running to find each other, grab each other, run. Men, women, and children were calling, yelling, reaching for a child’s hand, praying from their hearts as they ran. I didn’t know what was happening. In their fear, most of the people were speaking in rapid-fire Yiddish that I didn’t understand. But I ran together with the others and soon found myself in a shelter. By then, I knew it was war. The shelter was a mess. It hadn’t been used as a shelter for some time and though it was always supposed to be ready for use, we had grown overconfident, and used it for storage. Somehow, we all crowded in. Babies and children cried in confusion and fear. Seemingly out of nowhere, young men in dull green uniforms came running, weaving quickly toward the men to give them their call-up notices. They sped off to find other men. In minutes, men in kittels and talleisim were in cars, speeding to the front lines. We sat on chairs, mattresses, boxes turned upside down. It was Yom Kippur, there was no radio, and all we knew was what the soldiers who had come to call up the men had told us: We had been attacked by Egypt and Syria. There was fighting at the Suez Canal and on the Golan Heights. And now, in the stuffy shelter, prayers for peace and health were replaced by prayers for speed, for getting to the front lines in time… for safety… for life.

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