It’s been a week since I got back from Boston.

I participated in a delegation of young leadership from CJP’s Boston-Haifa Connection, with the aim of getting to know the Jewish community even more. The goal of the Boston-Haifa Connection is to strengthen the wonderful ties between Haifa and Boston.

The dissonance between the reality I had in Boston and the reality I was returning to is complex. On the one hand, I spent two weeks in a pastoral, chilly, quiet and peaceful place, then returned to my homeland, which remained quiet but not peaceful.

When you are far from home, especially as a Jew, far away from Israel, I suddenly felt that being Jewish and Israeli was taking on other meaning and volume in my day-to-day. It is said that in times of crisis, you discover the true face of people, and I have been privileged to see the true face of Boston’s wonderful Jewish community, as well as the Israeli community in Boston (IAC New England), who did sacred work.

As I stood at a rally of support for Israel and tried to stop the tears (unsuccessfully), I tried to understand what I was actually doing here. What is my duty? How can I be so far from home at this time, at the greatest disaster the State of Israel has experienced since the Holocaust? And then I realized, actually, our duty is more important than ever. To tell the story. Act to bring hearts closer. To help pack up, raise money, talk to us, both as Israelis and as human beings in the most real way that can be, and, most of all, to feel the true power of community. We feel like we have someone to lean on.

A few hours before my flight to Israel, I took a tour of one of the neighborhoods in Boston, inhaled the air and pleasant sights, the discarded leaves that had just begun to change, and returned to the sights of military trucks and sandbags lying at the entrance of the settlement where my parents live.

The atmosphere is tense and mainly very sad, especially since, day by day, the dimensions of the disaster are revealed.

As Pink Floyd said in their song, “I’ve become comfortable.” There is no other feeling that can describe it better. It is difficult to go to bed quietly knowing that there are 222 abductees in Gaza, among them babies, children and the elderly. It’s hard to walk down the street without wondering where the nearest safe space is if you suddenly hear an anti- missile alarm.

But with the complex emotions, the true strength of the people of Israel is also revealed. Instead of separating us, the war only brought us closer together. We look at each other as human beings. Everyone wants to volunteer and help. The real power lies with the citizens, and only we can rely on ourselves.

The heart expands and beneath the ashes we begin to sow small seeds of hope.

The war is far from over and every day is different from the last. We are alert and looking forward to the next one. But we are grateful for our army, our people and our wonderful community in the world in general, and in Boston in particular, which helps us and embraces us from afar.

I send my condolences to all the families of the dead, and we look forward to the return of all our abductees. Please think about them too and do not forget them.

Our strength lies in our unity. Am Israel Chai!

Dasiy Shine is a member of the Leadership Development Committee in CJP’s Boston-Haifa Connection.