The Permanence of Memory

Remembering her late and greatly beloved mentor, Caitrin Keiper writes:

It is the custom to put pebbles on a Jewish grave. Flowers wilt and die, but stones are everlasting; they signify the permanence of memory.

Two dear friends were getting married in the city where Amy is buried on what happened to be the anniversary of the day she died. My family flew in early with the intention of paying our respects at the cemetery the day before. I picked up some colorful pebbles from the gift shop of the science museum where she had worked in college, and practiced again and again what I was going to say, how I was going to pour my heart out and tell her how much I missed her and how adrift I was, with the latent, irrational hope, not exactly sanctioned by either of our faiths, that somehow things would clarify when I did.

I did most of the talking, but even so, I didn’t have the heart to give the speech I had imagined. What’s the use? She is gone, she cannot hear me, it’s sad and terrible and futile, and I don’t really know why I came. I tried to arrange the pebbles somehow, but they kept slipping down the polished surface of the gravestone. I re-gathered them into a pile as best I could, and left.

At the wedding the next day, her widower, the love of her life, came up to me. He too had gone out to visit her, first thing in the morning, and been speechlessly moved to find her grave covered in a rainbow of stones. Did I by chance have anything to do with it?

This, I realized, this is the point. I am not here to receive a message but to give one to someone who needs it far more. There is purpose at work here.

Read more at Plough

More about: Death, Friendship, Mourning

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security