20 years ago it was a Saturday. I was a junior in high school and was in the middle of my brief tenure as a cashier at the local drug store. I’d worked in the morning and I came home and my mom was sitting in front of the TV.
“Oh good, you’re home,” she said.
“You have to come see this. Yitzhak Rabin was shot,” she said as she pointed to the television screen.
I don’t remember too much of what happened afterwards beyond watching TV curled up next to my mom and crying. I knew that I was watching history unfold before my very eyes and I was so terribly sad. To my 16-year old self Yitzhak Rabin was a beacon of hope. I was preparing for my first trip to Israel that summer and was planning on visiting an Israel that no one had known before, an Israel at peace with most of her neighbors.
My mom and I went to the Twin Cities memorial for Rabin, I think she saw in me my passion for Israel and the sense that her history-loving daughter knew that she was now living through a pivotal time. And somewhere in the recesses of my childhood room there is the newspaper from November 5, 1995, because for whatever reason I felt compelled to save it.
Today when I think about what could have been I get tears in my eyes. And still I refuse to give up hope that Israel will know peace. Because that is one of the profound lessons I learned from Prime Minister Rabin is never to give up hope.