Filed Under:

Husband Finding Peace After A Terrorist Attack

Play associated audio

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

Several years ago, David Harris-Gershon and his wife Jamie were studying in Israel, where they'd constructed their daily life in ways they hoped would protect them from a terrorist attack. They weren't so fortunate.

"I received a call from somebody who I did not know, who basically said there'd been an explosion at the university," Harris-Gershon tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "I turned on the news and I immediately knew what had happened."

The phone rang again, and he was notified Jamie was in the emergency room. He rushed to the hospital.

"I was brought before a woman who I didn't recognize, and I didn't know why I'd been brought before her until she said my name," he says. Jamie was badly burned, but lived. The two friends she'd been sitting with at the cafe did not.

"After her recovery, we returned to the States," Harris-Gershon says, and his wife "achieved an amazing level of recovery through therapy." But eventually, he began to suffer symptoms of PTSD as well, which made it clear that he was more than a caretaker for his wife — he was a victim, too.

Harris-Gershon tried therapy, but it didn't help, so he decided to face the facts of the attack head-on. He learned that the man behind the attack, Mohammad Odeh, had been captured and jailed.

"He reportedly told Israeli authorities that he was sorry, that he was remorseful that so many people had died in the attack," Harris-Gershon says.

That remark didn't make sense to Harris-Gershon, so he decided to travel to confront Odeh. Jamie wanted nothing to do with it, though she was supportive. After Israeli authorities denied his request to talk with Odeh, Harris-Gershon tracked down Odeh's family, and they agreed to meet.

"This had traumatized them as well," Harris-Gershon says. "They were [a] moderate, middle-class family that didn't know what Mohammad was doing. They had no idea that he was involved with Hamas. They were broken, and I think we both needed to try and treat this in some way."

It was a cathartic conversation for both sides. The family welcomed Harris-Gershon "with open arms." They got to know each other, and "it was a conversation about how much both of us desired peace."

Join Our Sunday Conversation

Are there limits to forgiveness? Tell us your story on Weekend Edition's Facebook page, or in the comments section below.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

When Caravaggio Plays Quevedo In Tennis, The Court Becomes A Sonnet

"It's a little space, well-measured and precise, in which you have to keep the ball bouncing," says Álvaro Enrigue. His book, Sudden Death, pits the Italian painter against the Spanish poet.
WAMU 88.5

Does "Made in DC" Matter?

D.C.'s first bean-to-bar chocolate maker, Undone Chocolate, got its start in local food incubator space Union Kitchen, part of a wave of interest in locally made products which includes a push for a "Made in DC" logo.

WAMU 88.5

Does "Made in DC" Matter?

D.C.'s first bean-to-bar chocolate maker, Undone Chocolate, got its start in local food incubator space Union Kitchen, part of a wave of interest in locally made products which includes a push for a "Made in DC" logo.

NPR

Password Security Is So Bad, President Obama Weighs In

In unveiling a sweeping plan to fund and revamp cybersecurity, the president asks citizens to consider using extra layers of security besides the password.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.