I have to tell you, when Ori Ansbacher was brutally murdered in the Jerusalem Forest two weeks ago, I found it so upsetting, I kind of blocked it out.
Me and my girls went into shock for a few days, then we all tried to pretend that it was life as usual, because when you live in Jerusalem, and you are a teenage girl yourself, or the mother of one, really what else can you do?
But the fear and anxiety about what had happened still started to seep out, in all sorts of subtle ways.
All of a sudden, I couldn’t sleep easily again if my girls were out by themselves, and I started phoning them up and texting them every five minutes to check on them, which they both really hate.
And who can blame them?! They are 18 and 15 ½! But I’d gotten so nervous again, after what had happened with Ori.
After a couple of weeks of this, I realized I was driving my kids bonkers again, and I have to try and get a grip on the fear again.
God is running the world. God is deciding everything. OK, there is a certain amount of common sense that’s required when raising teens in our world, but ultimately, so many ‘bad’ things can happen in such normal circumstances in the middle of the day.
If God decides, you can be waiting for a bus near Beit El…or strolling on the boardwalk by the sea in Yaffo…or walking in the forest late afternoon near Ein Yael… and disaster can strike. God forbid a million times over.
As a parent, it’s so tempting to just try and bundle our children up in cotton wool, and to build big walls around them, and to try to monitor their every move and to keep them ‘safe’ in their rooms at home.
But we can’t.
Not if we want to raise emotionally-healthy people who aren’t going to spend their whole lives permanently looking over their shoulders, waiting for the hammer to fall.
God is running the world, not us.
It’s not always easy to accept that.
Yesterday, they held a huge concert just up the road from me at the First Station in Jerusalem, to remember Ori Ansbacher. There were a load of famous singers there, Ori’s mother spoke to the crowd, and there were also a lot of videos and ‘remembrances’ of Ori herself.
Half the teens of Eretz Yisrael tried to attend, so the roads around the First Station were closed to traffic, and swamped with thousands of people, many of whom couldn’t even squeeze in, so they watched the show on the big screens set up outside.
This morning, my kid told me all about it, and concluded:
She was a really good, kind person.
In so many ways, it would be easier if she wasn’t, wouldn’t it?
It would feel a bit more comfortable, if the murder victim had been some sort of low-life, so we could assuage our own fears by telling ourselves what happened was somehow ‘deserved’.
Instead, yet again, we buried the cream of the crop. The best of the best. The kindest of the kind.
God knows what He’s doing, God’s running the world, it’s all ultimately for the best.
But the heart still breaks.
And I’m still having trouble sleeping.