War Memorabilia

Written at our April 17th Workshop

Ever since Day 100, my friend Rachel Goldberg-Polin has asked us all to stick a piece of masking tape on our chests…above our heart….with the number of days her son, Hersh, and the hostages – now 132 of them…are still being held in Gaza. I’ve been doing this religiously…except on Shabbat of course. Not that any of us can forget. Nearly all of us are walking around here with dog tags and other war “memorabilia.” Kids (and others) ask me where I got my shiny dog tag…. And where I got my special yellow plastic ribbon on the dog tag (my sister-in-law made it). It’s all just become a weird war fashion. “Ooooh! Get me one of those yellow pins!” “Here! Take mine! (I say) It’s only 15 shekels from Hostage Square!” – “All the way to Tel Aviv? No way!” – “Nah! I got mine in Paris….” “Paris, France?” “Paris Square, next to the the ‘Jerusalem Hostage tent.’” 

But what about the day I ran out of the house WITHOUT my masking tape? Overcome by guilt, I thought: I’m letting my friend Rachel down! She said “stick with me!” I had to go back home! Forget that important business meeting! (Like I would ever forget my friends’ son and all the darling others?)

And then yesterday I got the day wrong! It’s not the point (I do know). It’s all over my heart – filled with love and guilt: “I feel like I’m a hostage’s parent!” I announce to a perfect stranger in a Jerusalem hospital last week. “No! I feel like a hostage in a Gazan tunnel myself!” she shot back. Oh no! Guilt again! Shouldn’t I feel like THE hostage?


Where’s my masking tape? If I’m alone at home on zoom (no camera) and there’s no one to see, should I still be wearing my number? (ugh! Number! The Shoah!) If there’s no one here and I haven’t posted the number on Facebook – does it mean I’ve forgotten?

Petit Garçon aux Cheveux Roux‘ by BCS