It's not a day of work. Who can? Every 5 minutes or so, I check facebook or Haaretz, or many of the other online news sources showing glimpses of Gilad Shalit's return. I tear up, blow my nose and attempt to get back to some semblance of work, in between helping Akiva figure out what song he'd like to listen to – he always knows – and prepare snacks, etc.
The emotions are overwhelming. We made Aliyah in 2006, shortly after Gilad was captured. His fate has been linked with our first years of living here in Israel. He was only 19 when he was captured and I've often wondered how he's coped with captivity. I guess we'll eventually hear some of his experiences but it almost doesn't even matter and he shouldn't feel obliged to tell us anything. We know it wasn't easy. We know it was lonely, and we can only imagine the personal pain and suffering of the past 5 years – for him and for his family.
I have tremendous respect for his family. I've never witnessed such devotion. They made Gilad's life and freedom their goal and cause these past 5 years. I can only imagine their bone-deep exhaustion. May they all heal…together.
As for the cost, it's painful – beyond so, especially for families who lost loved ones. I won't analyze the politics and the potential what-ifs but I'm glad that the government made this happen. Gilad was my kid. My kid went in and out of the army while he was in captivity. My kid came home. Gilad needed to as well.
Enjoy the celebration.
By Beth Steinberg, Shutaf Co-Founder