Wednesday, March 9, 2016

That Howling Dog

Jaffa, October 2016

Three attacks yesterday, including one in Petah Tivka in which Yonatan Ezriyahav, who was out collecting for charity, got stabbed multiple times in his upper body and then stabbed in his neck. Ezriyahav, who has the high cheekbones, flowing black hair and swarthy sun-roasted skin and build of an ancient warrior, pulled the knife out of his own neck and used it to kill his attacker. Maybe he’s the quintessential Israeli. Or maybe he just got “lucky.”

Murdered yesterday was another warrior, a visiting American, Taylor Force, a 28-year old grad student at Vanderbuilt University and a former USA Army officer who graduated from West Point and completed tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Others who were attacked in Israel yesterday include a husband strolling with his pregnant wife — she was also attacked. The heart of their fetus still beats, that sound which is like the fluttering wings of a dove.

Three more attacks on Israelis today; and it’s still just early afternoon.

So what should I do? Stay in bed? Pray? Join an army? Write a poem? The Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish, said that reading each other’s poetry can help us see the humanity in each other. Or should I return to my own personal failsafe feel-good source: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who wrote that we must learn to live together as brothers or all perish as fools. But I already believe in that message. 

Maybe I need to stay local. I hear a dog crying in some nearby apartment. I haven't been able to find him or her. Maybe I need to try harder. 

A few weeks ago I visited Jerusalem and got lost in the Arab Shuk. I ended up talking with a young Arab many who insisted that the first Jewish person got to Israel only fifty years ago. He believed what his leaders had told him. 

The visiting American tourist, Taylor Force, lost his life in Jaffa, a gorgeous little town by the Mediterranean in which Arabs, Jews, Christians, Bahai and others seemed to be mingling in peace last week when I visited. Music poured out of cafes, the sun shone, the air was filled with the smells of freshly baked bagels, za’atar and melting chocolate. According to the Torah, the cedars that were used to build the First Temple, King Solomon's, were brought in through the port at Jaffa. Jaffa may have been named after Japheth, a son of Noah. You remember Noah's family, right? The new generation that was going to "do better" after the flood.

Some of my DNA is Druze, a tribe that is indigenous to this region. And I'm Jewish — all four grandparents and both parents were attacked in Germany during the Holocaust. I've known some tough people. But Israelis are the toughest and most fearless people I have ever met, and the most joyous, and the most sad. 

That dog just stopped howling. I don’t know why. I don’t know how long the silence will last.

From Facebook
Miri Leshem-pelly I read your blog post. You are wonderful.
Bruce K Main I read you post. Its wonderfully well written. Very informative, and the emotion of the events are exposed, for me to feel as if it had happened to me. At least that is my experience of your writing! Enjoy life, don't let the criminals get you down.
Vicki Knopfler Tried to post a comment; don't think it worked. But it read, "Wonderful, as usual."
Max Schoenholtz Your post brought tears to my eyes. My middle daughter made Aliyah 8 years ago. She called us immediately, yesterday, to tell us of the warrior who returned his stabbings to his attacker, with the same knife. ­čśô

I will remember that quote by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Julie Justin Beautiful, Sari. I am so glad you write about all of this. It's so refreshing to see personal words rather than only sad news report after sad news report. Find that dog, maybe you are the new dog walker? And enjoy the chocolate and za'atar. Your words are so so true, strong and joyful and sad, and full of life - Israel!
Sari Friedman I found the dog! I've offered to walk him daily, to keep him with me in my apartment, etc.
LikeReply2April 2 at 5:23pm
Julie Justin That is wonderful!!! smile emoticon You are a wonderful person Sari! smile emoticon smile emoticon smile emoticon
Sari Friedman

Write a reply...
Desby Luxembourg When I first read about Taylor Force, all I could think of was how relieved his parents must have been once he returned from Afghanistan and Iraq, and was 'safe' in college.
Hindy Abelson Beautiful and heartfelt description of the needless barbarism for which there is absolutely no excuse. It's based on visceral hate. Pure and simple! But you, my dear friend exude love and compassion. You are a wonderful human being who happens to be a magnificent writer. Hugs from Canada.
Nagy Rezs┼Ĺ Beautiful dear Sari Friedman heart emoticon heart emoticon heart emoticon
Nagy Rezs┼Ĺ Shabbat Shalom dear Sari Friedman heart emoticon heart emoticon heart emoticon heart emoticon
Jill Sevelow What a wonderful introduction to you! Thank you for reaching out.


  1. Don't know what an Arab Shuk is. Is it slander for ethnic area, like favela? Sounds about right. You are courageous, but isn't it our beliefs that got us lost to begin with? When god let his people to Israel, I don't remember him saying there wouldn't be wars. So, who wins? The survivors. Don

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  6. I feel so blessed I found this story. It felt so profound and I really wished that more stories like this can be read online. Kudos to the writer for sharing this experience. There are a lot of reasons why dogs howl, and whatever that reason is, it often is something mysterious. I found an article that gave some logical explanations why they do: