My mother called, panting and out of breath. "I just called because I wanted to hear your voice," she said. I immediately assumed that another location in Jerusalem (my temporary home) had once again become victim to a terrorist shooting or, worse yet, a suicide bombing. "I'm fine, Mom," I replied, thinking that stuff like that just doesn't happen to me. "I know you're fine," she replied. "Thankfully so is Mindy." Mindy? Mindy's my eighteen-year-old cousin. She lives in Montreal. She couldn't be farther from here. "Mom, what are you talking about?" I really had no idea. I just didn't know. "There was a shooting at Dawson," she said, almost unable to finish her sentence. "I'm watching CNN now. It's all over the news." I was confused. No one knows about Dawson College. Dawson is the quiet college that people attend in transition to the rest of their lives. CNN does not come to Dawson. I turned on my computer. I was wrong. On that day, the entire media world came to Dawson. My friends go to Dawson. Mindy goes to Dawson. And until last year, I went to Dawson. My heart stopped as I realized that we were talking about my quaint little school. Minutes seemed like hours as the interminable night stretched on. I got no sleep. I ran up my long-distance phone bill. I tried to learn as much as I could. I did not know what to think. My roommate called me minutes later from his hotel. "They hit f***ing Dawson," he said. We spent the night gathering information. "There were four shooters," my friend from Montreal told me. "The guy walked in and went right for the 'JewCaf.'" The JewCaf is the unofficial hangout of Dawson's 1,000-plus Jewish students. I figured I would soon have to fly home and attend funerals. I began looking for cheap flights. Bits of information began pouring in. I started piecing together the events. I knew every inch of that school. I soon found out that the single shooter found the cafeteria one floor below the JewCaf. If I had been there at that hour of the day, it would have been very likely that I, too, would have been on the Atrium floor. Our Hillel room was right around the corner from the shooting. We practically lived there. I recreated the scene I hadn't seen in my mind. "He came in from here," I thought to myself. I could picture the bullet holes on the wall. I could picture the fear. I could picture the terror. I could picture people being shot and oddly enough, I could picture myself being shot. What would I have done? Would I have run like the others? Would I have stayed with the victims and tried to help. Would I attack the shooter? I don't know. Later in the week, I was buying groceries on French Hill. The front pages of the Israeli newspapers showed Montreal students with their hands up in the air running through the same streets I've run through so many times, only for different reasons. "It's terrible," a woman in line said next to me. "That's my school," I responded in Hebrew. "I just finished last year. My friends are still there." Without warning the elderly Israeli woman hugged me. She gave me her number and invited me for Shabbat dinner with her family. Dawson will never be the same and it will take years for Montreal to heal. Countless lives are ruined. The life of a beautiful girl has been taken. Her family mourns. And even though the entire free world stands with them in their time of need, the one girl they need to talk to cannot answer them. She could have been my classmate. She could have been my friend. But because of some crazy man, she is simply a picture and a statistic. I used to play on the school's golf team. One of my old teammates is now comatose with one of two bullets lodged in his brain. He is Jewish and years ago, we both decided not to play a match on Yom Kippur. His name is Leslie Markofsky. Irony is a funny thing. In order to come to Jerusalem and study at the Hebrew University, I needed two letters of recommendation, which I asked two of my Dawson College professors to provide. As they handed me their envelopes they both pleaded: "Don't go to Israel. It's just not safe there."

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