Something Different


har-nofBy Sarah Leah Shapiro, 9th grader at the Torah Academy for Girls’ Machon Sarah, Far Rockaway, NY

It was like being hit by a train.

I saw it coming. I knew it was coming, the moment the words “tragic loss” and “Israel” found my hears.

It was rushing towards me and I couldn’t stop it.

There was a fraction of a second, right before the impact, that all of time and sound just stopped.

“It was in a shul.”

And then the crushing blow.

“Five dead, eight injured.”

Sadness was the first thought I had when I tried to work out what I was feeling.

No, not sadness. Sadness was softer, this felt like an anvil to the stomach.

Fear perhaps. But fear seemed irrational in my sheltered life, an ocean away from danger.

Hatred was the next option, but I have always hated arabs and hatred couldn’t evaluate the entire situation.

It was something different.

Only once in my pampered existence had I experienced seeing someone I love in true pain. It was amazing to me that so much

blood could come from so small a person.

The feeling wasn’t fear or sadness, it was a feeling unnamed.

It was like something heavy was sitting on my chest. Not in a particularly painful way, just there.

It was the sort of feeling that made you take a deep breath in hope of getting rid of the pressure of unspoken sadness and uncried tears, but to no avail.

I didn’t feel it now because I had not known, let a lone loved the people slaughtered.

But I know who did feel it.

The families, the neighbors, the friends.

And I was angry.

Angry at anyone could make someone feel that way.

Angry they could make strong people cry.

Angry at people who killed without understanding the punishment.

Not their punishment. For them death is the better option.And anyone who could kill in such cold blood surely has no conscious on which this could rest.

And not the punishment of the dead because death is not painful.

But the punishment of those who remained alive. The people who have to wake up every morning to the realization of one less person in their life.

And I am angry.

{ Newscenter}


  1. Nicely written and very passionate, but dear girl, anger is not an emotion to hold onto. Hashem is the One who carries out these harsh decrees. The animals involved are like the nazis of 70 years ago. Tools. Of course they deserve our scorn, but anger can chas v’sholom be misdirected, and it is clearly not what should be taken out of last week’s tragic events.

  2. Anger is a reaction – a human reaction – from a sensitive 9th grade Bas Yisroel – and it wasn’t her first reaction – it was the residue of deep felt ahavas Yisroel – a great great granddaughter of Sarah Rivka and Leah who’s heart is broken and cannot fathom such an inhuman act in Hashem’s beautiful world. Please look at our people on a deeper level and you will see that beyond the human reaction of anger is a heart that yearns for a world dedicated to serving the Rebono shel Olum in love and simcha – and for that our 9th grader must be praised and lauded.