No one in this country will ever forget the destruction of the paradise, called Gush Katif, or the destruction of those families who lived there.
Gush Katif was a magnificent place of white sand and tropical flowers and trees.
It was a place of devotion to Torah and devotion to the Land of Israel.
It was a place of courage - with its residents determined to survive despite the Arab enemy all around, the kassams that kept falling and the negativity that came from those who had never visited Gush Katif or experienced its spirit.
Gush Katif was a place of brotherhood, where 21 communities cared for and worked in harmony with one another.
It was a place where the young people from the northern to the southern Gaza strip felt like brothers, "achi", and where they were devoted to their parents and their lives in GK.
It was a place where children ran barefoot, where the sand was a friend, where the ocean kissed them good morning every day.
Gush Katif was the dream we all wished we could experience, but perhaps weren't brave enough to try.
Gush Katif was the organic fruit and vegetable basket of Israel and an exporter of $200,000,000 worth of flowers and vegetables each year (15% of Israel's agricultural exports).
Gush Katif farmers were the originators of bug-free vegetables and the growers of the most magnificent and the "most" flowers in the Middle East.
Gush Katif was a place of brotherhood and love.
But it was a place that was unknown and hated by so many in Israel (anything unknown is most usually hated).
It was destroyed because of blind hatred (sinat chinam) and jealousy, exactly the same reasons for the destruction of the Second Holy Temple. But the Temple was destroyed by G-d, and Gush Katif was destroyed by man, by brothers.
The tragedy of Gush Katif still burns in our personal and national souls six years later.
The only way to erase the pain we feel (or don't even know we feel) is to do everything and anything we can to help the Jews of Jewish Gaza and the Northern Shomron find permanent homes and suitable employment.
Every person reading this blog, whether you're from Haifa or Herzelia or Hong Kong, should do one thing for the people of Gush Katif, so that together we can make a "tikkun olam" - a correction of the evil in the world.
I was going to stop right there, but I realized that perhaps you'd like some ideas:
** Contact JobKatif and help put GKers back to work, www.jobkatif.org.il, Alon Shvut, Israel 90433, POB 214 • Phone: 072-212-7125 • Fax: 072-212-6726 • firstname.lastname@example.org
** Contact Friends of Gush Katif, http://www.gushkatif.co.il/, PO Box 450, Hachuzat Etrog 79441, Israel, 08-973-800
** Contact the Committee for Gush Katif Bridal Showers and help us to start young Gush Katif couples off on the path to rebuilding their young lives in happiness. As of this writing, we have showered 625 young couples with the basics for a new home and with a hug of support and caring.
Let us not forget the families of Gush Katif that need us today, as much or more than they did when they were first expelled from their homes. Let us give them the strength, the encouragement and the help to rebuild.