The month of Elul

Written by: Talia Goldberg, Community Shlicha

The month of Elul is here, warm summer suns are slowly setting earlier and earlier. Little bits of fall are starting to show around the neighborhoods. The month of Elul is the month of asking for forgiveness and the month of sorry. Elul is the month where we are supposed to look into ourselves and fix things that should be fixed, change bad behaviors and bad habits we got caught up this year. And the way 2020 went, I am sure we all have a lot to look into and a lot to think about.

I know that this is a month where I feel like I can raise my expectations but a terrible story in the news this week has (and I mean this also literally) caused me to lose sleep. There’s no pretty way to write about the terrible rape happening in Eilat last week. Nothing that I will say will feel enough and nothing that I will do will be enough. I wrote a bunch of sentences and erased them because nothing caught my true reaction.

A piece of me wants to write about the culture of sexual harassment that has been very harsh in Israel. Those of you who’ve been to Israel know that the Israeli culture does not have the concept of personal space. And with that little crack opened a whole world of sexual harassments opens. Part of me wants to scream that the writing was on the wall. Israel has a record of 20 women on average are murdered each year by their husbands and 11 teenagers are accused of raping a young British girl in Cyprus returned to Israel to a welcoming at the airport with clapping. The writing is on the wall. In a country where a judge said to a woman who was sexually harassed since the age of 9 that “she wanted it” and “she had a sexual personality.” Women need to think twice about how we raise our daughters. I am not a girl who walks around afraid but I know that if something happens to me, I will not feel comfortable going to the police.

I want to riot. I want to go into the streets with signs and yell that I wasn’t her fault. Because it wasn’t. And I want to stay at home and never leave because people will still say it was.

In what kind of world, do 30 men, stand in line to rape a girl, and no one does anything to stop it. There is NO excuse for that. And what’s next? I hope my country will learn a deep lesson on how important sexual education is. I hope people will learn how important it is to say no and try to help in any situation they can.

I’m not a scared girl, but I understand when people get too scared to get involved with another person’s business. But I think it’s some of these things that can make a change. Getting involved can save lives and it is our responsibility. So please, for your daughters, get involved. And please, teach your sons what they don’t teach in school. No is no. Stand up when someone needs help, in a lot of cases it can save lives. I really don’t believe it’s so complicated.