I know how hard it is to be away from the land that you love- especially when that land is under attack. I am so grateful for the genuine concern that has been expressed to our family from our friends and family abroad. Thank you for caring about us. I thought I’d share a bit of the local feeling-on-the-ground for those of you who are looking in from the side-lines.
The truth is I feel a bit on the semi-sidelines myself here in the Golan Heights where, blessedly it has been very quiet.
Well, sort of…
For 18 days straight, I, along with all of Israel, was engaged in some level of thought or prayer for the safe return of “our” three boys who were kidnapped just north of Hebron. On the 18th day, the nation sustained a mind-soul-body-blow upon news of their murder. Then, while still in the blurry-eyed stupor of mourning we began to internalize the shocking and horrific news, that one (and perhaps more) of our own went hideously rouge and spilled human blood in the name of revenge.
So “quiet” is a relative term…
One of the major perks of living in the Golan Heights is the stillness and quiet that these wide expanses afford. But you must understand that quiet here is punctuated by a backdrop of repeated explosions that are felt underfoot and in our walls pretty-much daily. Bombing within Syria (with the odd rocket falling over our border) is the background music of our lives. It is a constant reminder of the instability of our neighbors. But the echoes that we hear in the north are like a banging gong in the distance compared to the full-volume “boom-boom-pow” slamming our center and south today.
Much like you all abroad, all I can do is listen for the latest updates and pray for this whole country’s continued safety. But, one piece of news that is certainly share worthy is the absolute solidarity and strength of the Israeli people. It is a palpable feeling. People are kinder, gentler and more forgiving. People bless each other more often and evoke G-d’s name with greater ease and without apology.
We are an impossible people living in an impossible land. We are made of tough stuff and are far better at tragedy and trauma then any nation should be. Faith and hope are go-to emotions shared by most, if not many here. You don’t have to look very far to find a pick-me-up in the form of an invite for coffee, a kind word or a knowing smile. What this small nation does, we do together – for better and for worse. That, in my mind is an Israeli PR message that needs to be shared. #Amyisraelchai if you catch my drift.
Admittedly, there are plenty of other sentiments among those living closer to the line of rocket-fire.
Exhaustion and overwhelm seem to be popular emotions among many, especially those further down south. “Seriously? I just got the kids to sleep.” Along with the reoccurring feeling of dejavu: “Didn’t we do this, like, last year?” Politics and safety aside for a short moment; you’ve got to remember, it is summer break and most day-camps and public swimming pools within 40 km of rocket fire have been closed. That is not a simple gig for working folks and restless kids who tend to want to be kids no matter what. (And, by the way, G-d bless them for that).
Of course over 40,000 reservists were approved to be called up to serve, so there is the added challenge of getting through the long, hot summer with all the kiddlets home, limited travel, and the constant mindfulness of the closest bomb shelter… as a single parent.
So… that’s tricky in a lot of ways.
Of course there are the feelings of: “Holy $hit! Tel Aviv? Haifa? Jerusalem?” The haunting and reoccurring: “Human shields? Ground troops? NO!” “When (and how) will this ever stop?” And the classic: “So this is what it must feel like in Sderot. We’ve got to do more to support those people.”
Among all of this emotion and sentiment there is also the full-out physiological release every time those adrenal glands hear: RED ALERT! RUN. NOW!
Stress is stress no matter how close the rocket actually falls.
The practical logistics of leading a “normal” life are inexorably intertwined with the fear of “what would happen if the siren went off right now?” So, simple things like taking a shower or driving to the market become an exercise in metal gymnastics– if not outright chin-ups on the brave muscle. A dear friend of mine is undergoing extensive chemo treatment in Jerusalem – thank G-d she was healthy enough to shuffle herself to the safe room as four rockets soared over head. She was devastated to see other patients on her ward who were simply too weak to move themselves to safety.
It’s a constant tug-of-war between the execution of day-to-day life stuff superimposed on a dark and fearsome background of missiles raining down on our homes, streets and buildings. In other words there is a great desire to keep on keeping on… some are able to achieve that with greater ease than others.
As my fb status read yesterday: “Wow. It’s a little harder than usual to stay focused.”
On a final note, I generally have to peel myself from sleep when my alarm sounds at 6:20. This morning I practically jumped out of bed at 4:15 so I could get a leg-up on what had happened during the night. So, if that’s any indication of the local state of affairs, then, there you have it.
Please keep praying for continued success and safety of our brave and holy men and women of the IDF – and the safety and strength of all of Israel. I don’t think any of us know exactly what happens when a prayer leaves our lips, but, from what I gather, I’m pretty sure it helps.
Deep love and wishes for a Shabbat shalom.