A sad summer for our teenagers

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The decision to cancel this summer's Israel Experience trips was done only after much deliberation and certainly with the heaviest of hearts.

We know that Israel needs our tourism. More importantly, the Israeli people need our support. And we cringe to think that in canceling, we are giving the terrorists the upper hand.

We know the value of these trips; we have seen busloads of our teens return with the glow that can only come from hiking Masada before sunrise and praying on Friday night at the Western Wall. We have witnessed how transforming the experience can be. What a wonder it can be for our teens' Jewish identities.

And we hope we will witness it again, as soon as next summer.

That Israel has our emotional support is a given; we all watch the bloody events unfold in the region with anguish.

But as long as it remains impossible to prevent a Palestinian with explosives strapped to his body from finding a target, we cannot send them the kind of support that involves putting our children in danger.

We take heart, knowing that the cancellations are only temporary, and the trips will resume as soon as it is deemed safe.

An Israeli grandmother who lives in Tel Aviv, Barbara Biran, recently e-mailed that she dreads turning on the radio or television, always in fear of what she may hear.

"Our son comes to us less and less with his family. They don't want to travel on the roads," she wrote. "Our daughter does not let me take our granddaughter to the cinema, or to a theater. Can you call this a normal life?"

Unfortunately, we can't.

But just as many Israeli parents do not allow their own children to go out in public places now, we hope they can understand our fears in sending ours.