When my wife and i moved from the plains of Saint Louis to the desert hills of Jerusalem in the summer of 2000, we were newly married, giddy, and full of hope. Our intention was to spend a year studying talmudic texts, to absorb our bequeathed culture in the land whence it came.

Which is exactly what we did, dancing in circles on the sandy soil as doves circled high above Camp David, where Bill Clinton attempted to negotiate a peace agreement between Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat, between Israelis and Palestinians. It was a peace we hoped was imminent. It was a peace that never came.

Two years later, in the summer of 2002, while we were pursuing graduate degrees in Jewish education, Hamas terrorists struck a cafeteria at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The blast tore open the building, threw my wife, Jamie,...

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