For Rabbi Scott Kahn, Oct. 7 was a holy day, the Sabbath.
He went to an early morning service at his synagogue and standing outside for a moment, he saw something strange.
“We suddenly heard booms overhead in our city of Ramat Beit Shemesh. So we looked up, and we saw smoke just randomly. It wasn’t a plane. It was just like bursts of smoke,” he tells The Daily Signal.
At first, he wasn’t too worried. Life in Israel involves rockets. His family, as is normal for Israelis, has a safe room or a bomb shelter in their home for such circumstances.
“We still didn’t think anything of it,” Kahn says, talking about after the siren blared. “It’s obviously not good, but we didn’t know what it was. We don’t have access to a phone, we had turned them all off. Our computers are off. We just assumed it was another one of these flareups, even though six sirens in Beit Shemesh is a lot. That’s atypical.”
Eventually, a neighbor shared the news. (The Kahns are Orthodox Jews, who do not use technology on the Sabbath.)
“For the rest of the day, for the next six hours before the Sabbath was over, I just sat in my house,” says Kahn. “We had our holiday meals. I just had a piece of bread. I couldn’t eat anything. I felt ashen.”
“After it was over, the first thing I did, after I prayed the evening service and was able to go back to our regular routine, the first thing I did was run down … to check the news.”
Soon, he heard about how his loved ones were affected, including his son-in-law in the army reserves, who was called up to serve near Gaza. Kahn heard about one distant family member who was shot, but who had survived by hiding in a ditch. In Sderot, another family member escaped to a bomb shelter with her three children “less because of the rockets and more because there were terrorists roaming the streets of Sderot looking for Jews to kill.”
Read below a lightly edited version of Kahn’s full interview for “The Daily Signal Podcast,” in which he discusses the spiritual significance of Oct. 7 to Jews this year, how he and other Israelis are responding after the attacks, and what his hope for the future is. Or listen to the full interview on the podcast:
Katrina Trinko: Today, I’m joined by Rabbi Scott Kahn. He is the CEO of Jewish Coffee House, and also host of the Orthodox Conundrum Podcast, and the co-host of Intimate Judaism. He also has a Substack, Orthodox Conundrum Commentary. Rabbi Scott Kahn used to be a dean at a yeshiva, which is a Jewish university. And he moved to Israel in 1996 where he now lives with his wife Aliza and their seven children.
For more personal background here, I was able to meet Scott, his wife, and some of their lovely children earlier this year. I was in Israel on a trip for Catholic writers that was organized by the Philos Project, and Scott and his family were kind enough to host a few of us for a traditional Shabbat dinner. It was very gracious … [to be] welcomed us into your home, get a chance to experience all those beautiful traditions.
Of course for Jews, they celebrate the Sabbath. Correct me if I’m wrong here, but it’s Friday evening to Saturday evening— they take it very seriously. We’re going to talk a little bit more about that, but that was really fun to be there, to get to talk to your family, and really get to experience that in a familial setting. So thank you so much for joining us today.
Rabbi Scott Kahn: Well, thank you so much for having me, Katrina. And I’ll tell you that Shabbat, that Friday night dinner, was a highlight for my family as well. We still talk about it and we really enjoyed meeting the four of you. And it just was a really nice experience for all of us, from which we have still fond memories.
Trinko: Well, wonderful. It was definitely one of the highlights, if not the highlight, of my trip, so it was fantastic.
So as I mentioned, you moved to Israel in 1996. And I do want to discuss your story there and how you got there. But before we get into that, I want to talk about Oct. 7 when Hamas so violently attacked Israel.
So before we get into how you found out about it, I’m guessing that Saturday is not normally a day that you find out about news. Can you talk a little bit about how you practice the Sabbath, what was going on that Saturday, and the usual sort of traditions associated with it?
Kahn:Sure. So first of all, that Saturday was actually almost a double holiness, if you want to call it that, because it was the last day of Sukkot, Tabernacles, the Hebrew holiday, known as Shemini Atzeret or Simchat Torah. And therefore, that doesn’t change any of the laws per se, the Sabbath and this have very similar laws. But it means that it was a holiday as well as being the Sabbath.
On a regular Sabbath because we’re Orthodox Jews, we don’t use any electronic equipment. There are all sorts of other, I’ll call them, weekday activities that we don’t engage in. We don’t write. We’re not on our computers. We don’t use the telephone.
As a result of that, normally on Shabbat, the Sabbath, we really are outside of the normal rhythm of the world. We don’t hear about who won the Patriots game. (I’m from Boston.) We don’t hear about the news. Any of these things are just not part of our rhythm. It’s a way of shutting out, shutting down, and not thinking about that sort of thing. It’s not that there’s anything wrong inherently with thinking about those matters on Shabbat.
But practically speaking, because the rhythm of the day doesn’t include them, there’s much more time for family. There’s much more time for prayer and study, for singing, and just being together, and doing things you can enjoy without being distracted by the outside world. That’s the typical Shabbat for us.
Trinko: And tell me a bit about this holiday that you were also celebrating. What does it represent or what does it celebrate? And I don’t know if you can rank Jewish holidays, but where would it fall?
Kahn: So you can actually rank Jewish holidays. There are different levels of holidays. Interestingly, actually, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar is Shabbat itself. That is holier than any holiday, including Yom Kippur, which is usually considered the big holiday.
But among holidays, after Shabbat is Yom Kippur—that’s the Day of Atonement. And after that there are four other holidays which are all essentially equal in rank. And the way we determine equality of rank, we don’t have to get into that now, but these are all holidays that are mandated in the Torah itself, in the Bible. And those four holidays are Passover, the holiday of Tabernacles (Sukkot in Hebrew), the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the new year, and what’s called Shavuot, which is Pentecost. Those four are all holidays in which there is to one degree or another limitations on what you can do. Again, we don’t use electronic devices, we don’t write, we don’t carry. We do all sorts of outside the home, I mean, and we don’t drive.
The last day of Sukkot was concluded on that Shabbat, Oct. 7th. Sukkot has all sorts of different themes. But one of the main themes of Sukkot is that it’s a holiday where we celebrate God’s relationship, not just with the Jewish people, but with the entire world. And for various reasons that will take us beyond the scope of what we’re talking about today, the first seven days of Tabernacles almost represent God’s relationship with everybody. There’s a tradition for non-Jews to come to Israel on the holiday of Tabernacles. The last day of Tabernacles, the eighth day—what’s called in the Bible, the eighth day of assembly, Shamini Atzeret—that day is considered in Jewish tradition after we’ve had a party with the whole world, so to speak, now, we’re going to have a private day just with God and ourselves as Jews. That’s the day which is a day of intimacy almost. It’s the end of the holiday season.
We’ve had Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and now the last day, it’s the day where we really have one final day before we say, so to speak, goodbye at the end of the holiday season to God. That’s what it represents.
In fact, the way we celebrate it is every year on the Sabbath, we go through the entire Torah, the entire Bible, the first five books of Moses, every week in the synagogue reading about a 50th every week and going approximately 50 portions throughout the year. And we end and begin on that day, that last day, Oct. 7th, this year. That’s the day we conclude the Torah and the day we start off at the very beginning of Genesis. That’s the nature of that day. It’s actually a very happy day. The word that we use to describe it colloquially is Simchat Torah, the day of rejoicing in the Torah.
Trinko: Wow. That makes this whole thing even more heartbreaking.
Well, to just briefly comment on my own experience with the Sabbath, because I think as an American, it was so interesting to me, because as you mentioned, not using electronics and stuff. But also when we went to your home, we, not being Orthodox Jews, were driven in a bus and there was no cars in the freeway. And then on Saturday, there were virtually no cars anywhere, restaurants were closed.
It was just a shutting down that I found very inspiring and also unheard of in this modern world where people really were disengaged, but also engaged in the best way with their family and friends. So I just wanted to share that experience with our listeners.
So going back to the attack itself. Obviously, you’re from the United States. And you know, here we talk about 9/11, which this attack has been compared to. Now 20 plus years, we still ask each other, “Where were you when 9/11 happened? How did you find out about it?” So for you, how did you find out about this attack? And tell me about that experience.
Kahn: So I went to an early morning synagogue service. Most people don’t go to the early morning. I happened to go to a synagogue service that began at about 6:15 in the morning, and it was going to conclude before 9:00, just because that’s when the next service started. And for reasons I don’t have to get into right now, I stepped outside at 8:15 because there was a certain prayer that if people’s parents are alive, they step out respectfully. Only people whose parents have died stay. It’s called the Yizkor Prayer. So people whose parents are still alive don’t stand in the synagogue. They go out for about five minutes.
I stood outside with maybe 20 or 30 other people. And as we were standing out there, we suddenly heard booms overhead in our city of Ramat Beit Shemesh. So we looked up, and we saw smoke just randomly. It wasn’t a plane. It was just like bursts of smoke.
From having been in Israel so long, it felt like Iron Dome, which is Israel’s protective defensive system that shoots down rockets that are sent from Gaza. But there were no sirens, so I didn’t really know.
It was strange and I wasn’t really sure what it was, but this kind of thing does happen. Hamas has sent rockets before. We’ve had sirens in Beit Shemesh. We’re not on the front lines. We’re about an hour’s drive from Gaza, maybe even a little bit more.
So we have rockets come towards our area, but I’ve never heard of anybody getting injured by a rocket here, even though we do have sirens. I heard one building was once hit by one, but not near me exactly. So OK, it’s a little nerve wracking, but not necessarily scary because we’re used to it. It happens every once in a while. I got home, my wife was still sleeping. And I woke her up and I said, “Something may be going on, just you should be careful.”
And about 9:00, there was a siren. And then, between 9:00 and about 12:00, there were maybe I think six sirens there. And I was home with actually the same three kids who are at the Shabbat dinner with you, Katrina, those months ago. We were home together. The other kids were out.
When there’s a siren, you have to run into a bomb shelter. Every Israeli home now has a bomb shelter or a room that’s designed as a safe room. We still didn’t think anything of it. It’s obviously not good, but we didn’t know what it was. We don’t have access to a phone, we had turned them all off. Our computers are off. We just assumed it was another one of these flareups, even though six sirens in Beit Shemesh is a lot. That’s atypical.
At a certain point, rumors started flying. We talked to some neighbors [who said] terrorists had infiltrated the town of Sderot, which is right on the border of Gaza. And that’s how … it’s scary.
Then maybe an hour later, about 1:00 in the afternoon, there was a neighbor whose parents are not Sabbath observants, and they happened to have their television on. And they told us that at the time, it was really bad. They said that terrorists infiltrated, and there were a thousand people injured, and 20 people had died. That’s what they told us at the time. That’s what they had known, which sounded truly awful.
For the rest of the day, for the next six hours before the Sabbath was over, I just sat in my house. We had our holiday meals. I just had a piece of bread. I couldn’t eat anything. I felt ashen. I’m sure I was white as a sheep.
After it was over, the first thing I did, after I prayed the evening service and was able to go back to our regular routine, the first thing I did was run down to the room I’m sitting in now to check the news. At that point, a hundred people had died. That’s what we had heard. And it was even worse. And then, the news just kept getting worse and worse the more we heard about it, and it was just truly terrible.
We do have, not immediate family, but family who live in that area—of course we were worried about them as well.
One of the first people we called was our daughter. Our daughter does not live there, but her husband is in the army reserves. And when she picked up the phone, she was crying. He had been called up to the army.
We’d also heard about all sorts of people who—neighbors, others—who just as soon as they heard, they were told by police officers, others, put on your phone and find out if you need to go. They put on their phone, and jumped into a car, and ran to the army front.
I should mention one important point, that according to Jewish law, pikuach nefesh, which means saving of a life is what’s called doheh Shabbat. It pushes aside the laws of the Sabbath. Because Judaism values life so much, that means that when someone’s life is in danger, the normal rules simply don’t apply, which means that when it comes to a war and peace and situations like this, if they had not gone to the front when they were required to, that would be breaking the Sabbath.
They were required by Jewish law to do whatever’s necessary to save lives. So they turned on their phones, jumped into their cars, and soldiers, including my son-in-law, went to the army. So that’s how we found out.
Trinko: So were you able to reach people you were worried about? Were phone lines full? Were you concerned about what was going to happen in the next 24 hours to you, and your family, and your area?
Kahn: For whatever reason, I wasn’t that worried about my family, only because we’re an hour away from where it was, and we knew at this point the Israeli army was on the case. We were very worried about my son-in-law. I remain very worried about my son-in-law. He’s still stationed somewhere down near Gaza.
It’s really his family that we were concerned about as well. His parents live in the village of Ofakim, which was one of the towns overrun by terrorists. Thank God they’d been away for the Sabbath, so they weren’t there. But there were so many people—even for example, my son-in-law’s sister-in-law. She was injured. She was shot in the leg. She survived. She in fact survived by falling into a ditch, and they didn’t see her there. So she was able to [survive], after she was shot, but she’s OK.
But for example, a different sister-in-law lives in that town of Sderot. She spent 30 hours in the bomb shelter with her three children. Her husband was my son-in-law’s brother. Her husband was called up to the army. She and her kids were in this bomb shelter, less because of the rockets and more because there were terrorists roaming the streets of Sderot looking for Jews to kill.
So she was in there when she got the all clear for one hour. The army said, you have an hour, and she came, and she stayed with us all last week. Now, she’s been moved to a hotel for a few days. And then, she’s going to come back to us again for the Sabbath afterwards. So we were worried about all of them.
We were very fortunate that nobody that we knew was killed. But I mean, it’s sort of crazy to say one of our relative’s relatives was shot, so we’re the lucky ones because they weren’t killed.
Trinko: Right. And I mean that scene you describe, well, terrorists looking to just kill Jews. That’s just so hard. And I know you’re saying it’s an hour away. But me hearing that, I’m like an hour is not very far, right?
Kahn: That’s true. That’s true. I’m thinking like an Israeli. I’ve been here for 28 years. An hour away here can be a completely different type of style. But you’re right, it’s not that far.
Trinko: Well, but on that, I think one of the things that interested me when I visited Israel is we kept getting told this is the size of New Jersey. It’s a nation with a population of about 9 million. And yet in many ways, it feels like a small country. And how would you say the broader community… I mean, you just mentioned all these ties you have and how people were affected. How are people coping with this? Do you know people who know hostages? How is that situation going?
Kahn: So in terms of what you’re asking, how are people coping with it? It’s actually been a very beautiful thing. A lot of people may have heard that over the past year there’s been a lot of internal division politically in Israel. There’s been huge uproar about judicial reform and the Netanyahu government. So there’s been a lot of internal, I guess, lack of cohesion you could say. But that’s a shame. And unfortunately, that sometimes happens.
It takes an event like this, unfortunately, perhaps to remind us that the Jewish people is a big family, and people who live in Israel are a big family. And ever since Oct. 7th, that day when it all broke out, the unity that we’ve experienced has been absolutely beautiful.
The degree to which people are coming together and completely putting away those divisions has been inspiring. And I think maybe the number one way people are coping is by not looking at all the negatives, not looking at those divisions, not finding ways that we’re not similar, but instead to look for ways that we are similar, that we are family.
I’m sure those divisions will come back. This is not a permanent state. But hopefully, we can carry some of that into the future with us because it’s beautiful to see how much people are really just unifying and joining together.
People [are] flying to Israel to join the army. I think the reserves who’ve been called up, there’s been 150% coming in, meaning way more than they’ve asked. People are volunteering to join, and even what they call in Hebrew hesed, the kindness that people are doing for each other.
You’ll hear over and over that someone will say, “OK, I need to get protein bars for this troop over here. They’re hungry.” And then, you call up and say, “I want to give.” And they say, “Oh, we already have 18,000 shekels.” You’re way too late, even though I called five minutes later. That sort of thing is happening. So I think that’s how people are coping, trying to do as much as they can and to look for the positive. I hope that answers the question.
Trinko: It does. It does. And it, again, reminds me of the United States, and we had a moment of true unity right after 9/11 that has not been repeated.
So you’ve, of course, mentioned a couple of times now that your son-in-law is in the army reserves is now in the fight. And one of the things that interests me about Israel is how big the military is in the culture that I believe almost all young people must either serve in the military or do community service.
How does it feel to have this son-in-law on the front lines? And can you speak a bit about how the military is viewed in Israel? I guess to me in the United States, a lot of people don’t know veterans or people who have served. But in Israel, it seems part of daily life in a very different way.
Kahn: Right. That’s absolutely true. Everybody here is… I shouldn’t say everybody. The majority of people here are veterans in one way or another … whether they fought in a war or not. But they’ve been on active duty. They’ve been very often in combat units. It’s just considered the way that things work. People here are part of the army. It’s not universal conscription. There is a draft, not everybody goes. But the majority of young men and women do go into the army for two or three years right after high school, so they’re 18, 19, 20 years old when they’re in. The military is looked as one of the unifying institutions of Israel.
It is something which people look at positively. There’s a very positive view of the military. I’m sure that after, hopefully, all of this situation we’re in right now is over, people are going to look back, and then start talking about the military failures that led to what happened on Oct. 7th because that was a huge mistake—obviously, the intelligence mistakes, the length of time it took for the military to get down to the area is shocking and very, very upsetting. So people are going to look at that. But I think because of the situation, people are sort of saying, “We’ll deal with that later.” Right now, there is 100% support for the military.
And when I say 100% support, I don’t know everybody in Israel, I can’t say that. But it certainly seems a lot—when I say that it’s not just Jewish Israelis, I also mean Arab Israelis, Muslim Israelis, Christian Israelis, people who are part of Israeli society. That’s very different from the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza. I’m not speaking about them, but about people who are Israeli citizens, and 20% of Israel is Arab. Those Arab citizens, many of them are really coming forward, and serving in the Israeli Defense Forces, and doing what they can to help too. That’s only my anecdotal recollection and noticing of this. But that’s how it seems also. There’s really a sense of unity.
Trinko: So you obviously are a person who your Jewish faith means a lot to you. I mean, you talked about being at the synagogue the morning of the attacks. I come from a different faith tradition. I’m Catholic.
But I think even as much as you trust in God, any time something like this happens, it’s both harder and easier as a religious person. And I’m wondering, how has your faith affected you, how you’ve been responding to this, how you’ve been dealing with it?
Kahn: That’s a really good question. And I think when you say it is both harder and easier, I think that’s a really astute way of looking at, at least how it’s been for me, and I’m sure for a lot of other people. I think that on a faith level, there are different aspects.
Number one, I was actually talking to another rabbi today about this exact question. And he pointed out that the great rabbinic scholar, Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik, who died in 1993, he has a very famous essay called The Voice of My Beloved Knocks. It’s a quote from the Song of Songs. And in that essay he talks about the way, in his opinion, Jewish people should relate to tragedy. He was speaking specifically about the Holocaust. He wrote it in the 50s.
He said that according to his understanding of Jewish thought, Jews don’t ask why something happened. There’s no answer why. That’s for God alone to know. God didn’t tell us because He doesn’t want us to know. That’s something which He’s keeping secret.
But He wants us to say, “What can I do about it?” In other words, when something bad happens, when there’s tragedy, our response shouldn’t be, “Why did God do this?” But, “What does he want me to do in response?” In other words, to turn the monologue of what happened into a dialogue where we can somehow do something about it. So this rabbi today mentioned to me, that’s an example.
We can’t ask why 6 million Jews were killed in the 1940s in the Holocaust and … say the reason is, so that there would be a state of Israel. I think that’s blasphemous. God could have done it in other ways also. But we also can say, “What can I do about the fact that Jews were homeless and were killed as a result?” It’s important that we now try and fight for a state of Israel. That’s responding through action.
So I think my faith has helped me because I still trust in God. I should hope that any event wouldn’t change that. My trust in God, my faith in God, doesn’t change based on the negative things that happen in our lives. Frankly, as I said, I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m here, my family’s safe. It’s hard to see what happens, but I believe in a higher plan. I believe that something else is going on.
And I believe that our job is to say, “What can I do about it?” Whether it’s to do good for other people, whether it’s to engage in prayer, whether it’s to engage in a more intensive Torah study, whether it’s simply to try and get the word out and teach people about what’s happening in Israel, to teach them that Israel is not demonic, which unfortunately too many people believe …
And I’ll just add it, if you don’t mind, Katrina, for one moment. One of the messages that I’m trying to impart on my own podcast and elsewhere is we’re not perfect. Jews are not perfect. No people are perfect. Israel’s not perfect. We make a lot of mistakes. And there’s nothing wrong with saying Israel is far from perfect. I say it myself, and I’m Israeli, and I love it here.
But it turns into a problem when people somehow think we’re intentionally trying to do something wrong. We make mistakes, but we’re trying to be the best people we can. We’re trying to deal with a very complicated situation, and be the best people, and handle it in the way that we can.
So we want to be as the Torah says, a light unto the nations. We sometimes succeed and sometimes we fail, but we’re trying. And when people think somehow that we like being bad or we’re not doing things in the right way with some sort of malicious intent, that’s where I try to respond by saying, “That’s just not true.” We’re good people, and we’re doing the best we can, and we’re trying to be the best people we can. We’re trying to inspire people as much as we can. So that’s how I deal with it, by trying to respond in that way.
Trinko: So maybe along those lines … obviously the whole world is talking about this. There’s been such a range of reactions. But what have you been thinking about the international reaction and what’s your take on it?
Kahn: Oh, I have a completely … mixed reaction. Sometimes I’m up and sometimes I’m down. … I see the reaction of the United States government, I see the reactions of much of Western Europe, which has been uniformly positive, saying things that are just, “We’re standing with Israel.” It’s something which we have longed to hear for a long time. It’s a beautiful thing. I have friends who have reached out to me who are outside the Jewish community, who are broken-hearted. And I can’t tell you how much that means to me, for them to reach out and ask how I’m doing, and for them to care. And I only hope that if, God forbid, something happens in their communities, that I’ll be as good a friend to them as they’ve been to me. So I’ve been so encouraged as many of us have been by that.
Then on the other hand, we see what happens on so many college campuses where people are responding to what happened a week and a half ago. In Australia, they said, “Gas the Jews.” And on college campuses, they’re saying … [an Arab term] which means slaughter the Jew, which often is translated as, oh, it means resist the occupation. No, no. It does not mean resist the occupation. It means slaughter the Jews. [We are] seeing that in polite society and not being denounced by as many people as I would hope would denounce it. And somehow saying, “Well, what Hamas did is justified.”
The vast majority of people are not saying that. But the fact that anyone is saying it, it’s almost unbelievable to me. So I have a mixed reaction. I’m encouraged and I’m also discouraged depending on which tweet I’m looking at, at which moment.
Trinko: Yes. Twitter has been interesting lately. Well, always, I guess.
Kahn: Yes, that’s for sure.
Trinko: So I mentioned at the beginning that you moved to Israel in 1996. I think you said you’re from the Boston area. Just to take a step back. Why did you move to Israel? And how does it differ from life in the United States?
Kahn: OK, that’s a good question. So the reason I moved to Israel, ultimately it comes down to more than anything else, religious conviction. Because I believe that the Jewish people belong in the state of Israel. This is our homeland. It’s something, a place from which we were exiled in the year 70. It was almost 2,000 years ago.
The idea that a people would be exiled from its land, yet maintained its identity, and somehow managed to come back 1,900 years later, in my mind, is an overt miracle. It’s God speaking to us.
And for me to go and not accept that challenge, and to say, “No, I’m good. I’m good where I am,” after all of that would be, I had a feeling that’s not what God wants from the Jewish people now. I am not criticizing anybody who lives in the United States. Most of my family lives in the United States. I understand it’s difficult for some people.
For me personally, I felt that it was a religious requirement, a religious challenge that I wanted to take up. That said, I got here and I loved it. I was studying here. At the beginning, I was here almost on religious conviction, but now that remains true.
But I also can’t imagine living anywhere else as a Jew, as an Orthodox Jew living in, as you said, a society where cars are not driving on Shabbat. There are cities where that’s not true. But at least where I live, it really feels like Shabbat, to raise my kids in that kind of attitude and that kind of atmosphere. I got married here. I have seven children.
To be able to raise them in the Jewish state, it’s a miracle for me. The fact that we can do something which my great-grandparents couldn’t have even imagined would be possible. It was a fantasy. It’s like watching a cartoon. And now, I get to live it. So that’s what it’s like for me, and that’s why I came here.
Trinko: Well, last question. We’re recording this on Wednesday and things are moving very fast, so I know it’s hard to speak to it. But do you have any thoughts about what could be coming in the coming days and what you hope happens? I mean, this is a situation where many of us are saying, “Gosh, it doesn’t seem like there’s any great options.” We’re, of course, all worried about the hostages, the people like your son-in-law fighting. Yeah, what do you see happening?
Kahn: That’s a really, really good question, and I don’t know the answer. I think I have my intellectual hope of what will happen and my emotional hope what will happen. My emotional hope, I’ll be very open, is that somehow they call a ceasefire. I know that’s not the right answer, but I have a son-in-law down there. I have so many neighbors and friends who are fighting down there. I want them all to be safe. So on an emotional level, I just want it to be over.
I also realize intellectually that if we don’t do something more drastic, if we don’t weed out the terrorists who perpetrated this, it’s just going to happen again. Something has to change. And as a result, I hope that not a single innocent person who lives in Gaza is hurt. I don’t want that. That’s not something that anyone wants. Why would we want that?
I also know that we have to get rid of the terrorists, the people who are trying to kill Jews and destroy the State of Israel. So my hope is that somehow the Israeli… I’m not a military strategist. I don’t know. I just hope the people of Gaza who are innocent evacuate temporarily. Let the IDF, the Israel Defense Forces, do what it has to do in order to bomb the areas, in order to get rid of the urban warfare disadvantages as it would be at, and then let our troops go in safely, and methodically, and in an organized manner to take out the people who are guilty while being very careful, as careful as possible, to protect people who are innocent. That’s what I hope for.
And I hope that then we can have peace in the future, because no one wants a situation like this.
Trinko: Thank you for that. Is there anything else you wanted to share with our listeners?
Kahn: The only thing I’d like to share is just how much I appreciate people like you, Katrina, talking to me, and broadcasting, and showing obvious concern for the state of Israel, because I don’t take it lightly. No person who lives in Israel takes it lightly. We’re so used to people always looking for reasons that Israel is just doing something wrong. It’s very strange that you could have a terrorist attack, and then the big march on campus is why Israel deserved it. And to find people like you who are saying the opposite is a real source of comfort and encouragement for me, so thank you.
Trinko: You have a beautiful country. And thank you again for your hospitality. I just want to make sure people know that they can find you. So again, Rabbi Scott Kahn, he’s the CEO of Jewish Coffee House, hosts the Orthodox Conundrum Podcast, and co-hosts Intimate Judaism. And then, you have a Substack, Orthodox Conundrum Commentary. So you can find Scott’s work at all those places. Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us.
Kahn: Thank you so much. And the next time you come to Israel, please come back to our house.
Trinko: I would love to.
Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com, and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the URL or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.