When I lived in Vancouver as a single woman, I owned a nice car and had a beautiful apartment with hardwood floors overlooking beautiful snow-capped mountains. I had excellent job satisfaction working in my career of choice as a school counselor. I went on vacations and had money left over for shopping and going out to restaurants whenever I felt like it.

As a married woman living in Israel, I have three beautiful children. We live in a small two-bedroom apartment with a tiny kitchen and no counter space. We don’t have a car. We rely on buses and trains for our modes of transportation. I have been home raising my children since my first was born 4 1/2 years ago and am planning to go back to work in September. If I’m very lucky, my salary will be half what it was in Vancouver. We don’t go on vacations. I haven’t visited Canada in four years. We go to restaurants once a month, maybe less. Shopping usually happens when my mom comes to visit. Yet, if I’m to be honest with myself, we have everything we need(even though we don’t have everything we want, like a car and some counter space in the kitchen).

Before Eyal, Gilad and Naftali were kidnapped, I was really feeling the lack of material comforts in my life and fantasizing about how much easier life would be for us in Canada. We’d probably own a house, have a mini-van, send our kids to Jewish Day Schools, send them to after-school programs like ballet and tae-kwon-do just like all our friends there do. We’d have money to go on family vacations, maybe even a trip to Disney World. Most important, we would be keeping them safe by keeping them away from the army.

And then we discovered that our three boys had been murdered and my whole world and all my fantasies crashed beneath me. It could have been any one of us. It could have been one of my own sons, God forbid. My upstairs or downstairs neighbor’s son. It could have been one of my cousins, friends, co-workers….

And then Operation Tzuk Eitan (Protective Edge) began in Gaza. And every day, the death toll rises.

And every day, another piece of our collective heart breaks with each soldier we lose. It’s an unbearable load to bear. Sometimes it feels like I seriously can’t breathe. But that is exactly why we MUST go on and that is exactly why I must stay here. To stop the war now means that those holy and precious lives were wasted. For me to contemplate leaving this land that I love so much just for “an easier life” no longer makes any sense to me.

As I read editorials and opinion pieces about the war in Gaza, it becomes clearer and clearer by the minute that there is profound global anti-Semitism. A Jew is not safe anywhere but here.  Because this is our home. This is where my children are going to grow up. This is where they will flourish as good, strong and contributing members of a society that needs them. And instead of sitting in a classroom in Canada learning about Jewish history or in a comfortable armchair watching the news unfold, they will be making Jewish history.

What more do I need?


Article by Cigal Gabay

Cigal Gabay made Aliyah from Vancouver almost 10 years ago as a single woman. She is a child and family therapist, a wife and a mother of three small children, committed to living a life of truth, love and passion for the loves of her life: her family and her beloved country, Israel. She also has her own blog: http://liketheblinkofaneye.blogspot.co.il/