Israel on the Sound: Finding the good in the bad


A  transplanted Seattleite’s journey to find good in the midst of war.

By Guest Writer:  Jon Jacobson

I don’t have to tell anyone what a difficult time we are in now. Our government made the agonizing decision to send our finest young men off to battle once again. This was after several failed attempts at a cease fire which our enemy was not willing… to accept. No one thought this would be easy nor did anyone think there wouldn’t be injuries or death. It is an inevitable reality of a ground war, when we have to put our troops in the midst of terrorists to root out their tunnels and missiles.


For me personally, it’s been difficult to see our friends whose sons have been sent to Gaza. I have been worried about the young men in our community and I can’t even fathom what their parents are feeling.

This past Monday evening was another upsetting night after we heard of the deaths of seven more soldiers.

This past Monday evening was another upsetting night after we heard of the deaths of seven more soldiers. I dragged myself out of our apartment to go to Maariv (evening prayers). Following davening a few of us were talking to Dr. Steven Jackson who has been seeing and treating many of the injured soldiers. Just listening to him talk for a few minutes totally changed the way I was feeling. He was telling us about the real miracles he was seeing and about the upbeat spirit of the injured soldiers. I walked away from the conversation with a totally different perspective; as difficult as the news was that we were being flooded with, there were plenty of amazing things happening and that we are truly seeing the hand of Hashem.

We need to recognize the good that is going on around us.

On Tuesday night Dr. Jackson spoke a bit more formally at shul following Maariv. His message was very clear, that we need to recognize the good that is going on around us. Additionally he emphasized how important it was to fulfill the mitzvah of Bikur Cholim, visiting the sick. There are so many soldiers in  hospitals around the country and a simple visit with a smile would go such a long way to further boost the spirits of the injured.

So on Wednesday morning Leah, Yonit and I drove to Beilinson Hospital in Petach Tikva. We had the opportunity to visit with several of the soldiers who had been injured in Gaza. The soldiers and the families we met were incredible. Although they had suffered some serious injuries, they, and their family members all had smiles on their faces and had such a positive attitude. We met several who had taken bullets and shrapnel to their heads and miraculously were alive without serious injuries. Their road ahead will not be easy, but the recognition of the true miracles that they personally went through was so inspiring.


Jon and Leah’s daughter Yonit joined them in visiting wounded soldiers earlier this week.

We had brought with us fresh baked cookies and we gave them to the injured soldiers and their family members, other soldiers we saw at the hospital and hospital staff. While people were thanking us for the visits and treats, we were the ones who felt grateful. We received so much from the visit. It helped us remember not to take the small things in life for granted, to see the positive side of every challenge, and it showed us firsthand the unbreakable spirit of the greatest army in the world. It also gave us the opportunity to impress on our youngest daughter how important the Mitzvah of Bikur Cholim is and how healing a smile from a stranger can be.

We have been watching TV, following stories on the internet and occasionally running to our safe rooms when the alarms go off. Until the hospital visit, though, it still felt somewhat surreal because life, for the most part, in most of the country was continuing on as normal. Visiting the injured soldiers in the hospital brought us closer to the reality of what is happening. But mixed with that reality is profound faith and hope with many good and positive points to ponder. So many inspiring things are going on around us at this tough time- incredible acts of chesed, unprecedented unity in the country, outright miracles and the high spirits of the injured. Focusing on the good around us helps keep us as positive-thinking as we can be, even in these difficult times. I strongly encourage you to take the opportunity to visit a hospital where you too will be inspired as well as inspire others.

I continue to hope and pray for a speedy victory, the safe return of our soldiers, genuine security for all residents of Israel, and especially the lingering of the good will that we have witnessed in these past few weeks.

The Jacobsons in a family huddle. Jon is the guy in back.

The Jacobsons in a family huddle. Jon is the guy in back.

Jon Jacobson along with his wife Leah and daughters Carol, Shana, Dalia and Yonit made Aliya from Seattle  in 2010, they  reside in Ra’anana, Israel. Jon works for a major (I mean huge!)  software corporation;  he enjoys prancing shirtless on the beaches of Herziliya as if to mock his contemporaries who have all acquired hefty waistlines in the 20 or so years since we  graduated college. He is devoted to his family, his country and great wines.