The cafes of Jerusalem have fallen silent. The last clanging metal sounds of dismantling sukkahs have ceased. Sukkot is over and there is fear in people’s eyes as they stand waiting for their buses, as they walk in the streets. Those who brave the coffee shops at night aren’t smiling except for one couple who sit together, so much in love that they’re excused for living as if no one else exists. The joy of Sukkot has long disappeared with the beautiful pop up sukkahs that transformed the landscape of Jerusalem.

We all knew we were blessed this summer, despite the oppressive heat and the swirling dust storms. There was no war. The coffee shops were full with alive chatter and a joie de vivre that defied the streets of Paris for sheer fullness of life. A relatively peaceful summer in Israel, what is there not to enjoy?

Summer is over we now walk the streets looking over our shoulder. (They stab you in the back.) We walk our children to school not wanting them to walk alone. We don’t want to tell them the news of repeated terror attacks throughout Israel. We don’t want them to be scared.

The mayor of Jerusalem has told everyone to arm themselves with guns. We see them sticking out of jean pockets. The city has turned into a Wild West rodeo.

All I can think about is how sukkot began with such hope and peace. We went to Birkat Kohanim – the Priestly Blessing at the Kotel. Replaying the ingathering of the Jews. A colourful multitude of Jews on foot, walking together to the Temple. Together is the key word here. There were Jews from all over the world. Brash, loud American tourists, Jews from Ranaana who had recently made Aliyah from South Africa, Yemenite Jews with picnic baskets, families with toddlers, one toddler had a piece of paper with her name and number handwritten pinned to her back, Ethiopian families picnicking, young Moroccan couples in tight jeans and minis. What could have been a zoo of unruly people, was a pilgrimage of worshippers. There was utter decorum where I had feared a stampede of jostling people.

When the priests began their blessing it felt like a swirling, magical moment which touched our core. ‘May God bless you and protect you. May God shine His face upon you and be gracious to you. May God turn His countenance toward you and grant you peace.’ It was a blessing for all of Israel, not just us who stood before them. We all felt it.

In front of me there were two wizened, old, sephardic women, covered in colourful scarves. They had their wrinkly, careworn hands on each others heads, like two smiling school girls, blessing each other.

Our strength is when we are together, blessing each other.

It is cold now in Jerusalem. I am feeling it in my bones. There is so much joy and happiness in our hearts that have been blown out by winds of terror. Tourism is down, all the tourists have run away, a friend who runs a tourist company tells me despondently.

‘What will be?’ My friend, a mother of five, asks me repeatedly. I’m also asking. We are all asking as we live day by day. Scared to open the news. Shaking every time we hear a siren. Praying for protection and blessing and peace for the people of Israel in the land of Israel.