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Only a heartbeat away

Lauren stays strong

Marla Cohen is a freelance writer. She lives in Rockland County.

Michael Silvermintz was meeting with his accountant late Friday morning when he got a text from his daughter, Lauren, 18, that would sink most parents’ hearts.

“It was just about Shabbat in Jerusalem, and she’s texting me, ‘If you heard a missile was coming into Jerusalem, it’s true and we are heading to the bomb shelter.'”

The accountant wanted to know why Silvermintz wasn’t running to board the next flight out of New York for Ben Gurion Airport. But Silvermintz said that he and his wife, Randi, had raised their four children to be strong, supportive Zionists.

“When you bring them up with Yiddishkeit and a love of Israel, you don’t cut and run at the first danger,” said Silvermintz, who lives in Wesley Hills, N.Y

In some ways he was glad that Lauren, a 2012 graduate of the Frisch School in Paramus, was seeing what Israelis have to contend with on a daily basis, he said. (His daughter is on a gap-year program, studying at Midreshet Amit. She will begin her freshman year at NYU next fall.)

“I think the Israeli people are a great example of how to remain stoic, to have that stiff upper lip,” he said. “It’s a good lesson to learn.” While he did not think Lauren was having any problems in dealing with the missiles, Beit Amit had made counselors available to the students should they need extra support.

Because he can stay in close touch with his daughter by text messaging, Silvermintz feels that he can put any worries he might have to rest quickly. His bigger concern is what Iran could possibly do, “because you aren’t talking small missiles there, but hopefully she will be safely back in the U.S. by then.”

Nonetheless, there were some limits for Lauren. “She said she wanted to go to Tel Aviv because there was a concert she wanted to attend,” her father said. “But I said, ‘Number one, no Tel Aviv, and number two, no concert.'”

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