Monday, November 19, 2012

Letter From Israeli Under Attack

GUSH KATIF VIEWPOINT 182                                                    November 18, 2012

SIREN !  by Rachel Saperstein, Neve Dekalim/Nitzan

The siren wails. Should I finish my breakfast or run in to the sewer pipe? I watch the neighbors run. Sarah is wearing large ear plugs and is carrying her kitten. The Ilans carry their puppy. Idit holds her little girl, Maayan. Her boys run behind her. We sit on the benches, facing one another. If we have made it inside in time we will hear the explosions in relative safety. The sound of the Iron Dome rocket smashing the incoming missile is loud and frightening. We all tremble. When we are in our caravillas the explosions make the house rattle. We don't dare leave the vicinity of our homes and shelters.

The telephone rings constantly. Children, other relatives, friends both here and abroad call. "Are you alright?" "How are you holding up?" "Come to us for Shabbat." "Come stay with us." "Get the hell out of there!" "Come visit us in New York/Miami/Los Angeles."

"Moshe," I plead, "the children are begging us… There is no shame in taking a break from the endless bombing." MMM [Macho Moron Moshe] refuses to leave. I peel a carrot and run to the shelter. I stuff a pepper and answer the phone. I peel half a potato and run to the shelter.

Four young girl soldiers live next door. They are soldier-teachers. I invite them for breakfast. They thank me profusely. I've never invited them into my house. But war is war, and they are frightened by the bombings. They need mothering, and a nourishing meal. Hours later they have been removed for safety from the caravillas. During these times need to nurture. Sarah lives alone. I invite her for Shabbat lunch.

Saturday night Moshe and I take a brisk walk around the block. My first real walk in a week. My legs feel stiff. My body is stiff. I try to exercise but the endless tension doesn't allow muscles to relax. The streets are empty, save for dogs and cats. Many families have gone away for Shabbat. We enjoy the walk, but keep our ears alert for the siren. We note the sewer pipe shelters near each group of homes so we can take shelter if necessary.

This morning there are rumors of a cease fire. In the past this has meant that we have ceased and they have fired. I hope we don't fall into the same trap. We hope the army enters and destroys the rockets and those who fire them.

Two explosions but no sirens. Now the siren sounds. I have no strength to run for the shelter. Moshe makes me laugh when he puts on a colorful shower cap and declares it is his personal shelter.

I will try to keep you aware of our simple attempts to maintain our dignity and our sanity in this difficult time. We have been through so many wars. We have lived through so many attacks. Yet we go on. Somehow we find the strength to pursue a normal life despite the chaos around us.

Please pray for Am Yisrael.

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