Perhaps more than thoughts, these are images of the last few hours – moments I can’t imagine I’ll ever forget…
- During the first siren, as we went quickly into the bomb shelter, Elie was the last to enter and as he did, he called to the dog to come inside. This would not be exceptional, except that in all honesty, Elie is not a pet person. Over the years, we’ve had cats and dogs and birds and fish. We even had a hamster and I think a mouse. I drew the line at snakes! Our goal was to have our children love animals and not fear them; to recognize the responsibilities involved and to benefit from the unique and special love an animal shares with a human. Mostly, we succeeded. Elie doesn’t hate animals, he just doesn’t love having them so it was sweet that he, of all of us, was calm enough to remember to call Simba into the house.
- When it was really time for Elie to go, Lauren and I walked him outside. As we walked down the steps, the neighbor from next door came out. They are wonderful people – both. Shalom is the husband and he called out to Elie to wait. He walked around the front of his house, through the gateway and by the time I came down the stairs he was giving Elie a hug and giving him a special bracha, a blessing. Elie should go in peace and come home in peace; he should return, whole in body and spirit. After, I gave Elie a kiss goodbye – I think I did…and then Elie and Lauren went across the street to say their own goodbyes. It was heartbreaking to watch them. They’ve been married only 7 months. How long this separation will be is anyone’s guess.
- Our house is located on a hill; the house above ours is about 1/2 a flight above and so, if I walk out my front door to the dividing wall, I can look down to one neighbor and up to the other. After the second siren, we were all outside talking, checking what the other had heard. Three missiles hit the area; we all agreed one had hit south of Jerusalem. At one point, as I was saying something, I thought I heard the beginnings of a siren and I hesitated. Both my son and Shalom quickly said it was a motorcycle revving up to climb the hill to Jerusalem. That was how much of the weekend passed – waiting to hear the siren.
- The boy’s junior high school had lent out its rooms to people from the south to come and stay the weekend. It wasn’t hard to imagine the shock these people must have felt when here where it was supposed to be safe, there was sirens as well.
- At one point, I walked outside – forced myself to go out because I can’t let “out” be my enemy. I can’t fear going outside…I just couldn’t stand that. And so I stood outside, listening, not wanting the “out” to betray me. At one point, Aliza came next to me and gave me a hug and whispered, “I’m scared.” These are terrible words to hear from a child and once again that which she fears is beyond my control. This isn’t about turning on a light or checking under the bed for monsters. More than once I have explained to her that the rockets they are now firing can travel 75-80 kilometers. Jerusalem is just above 70 kilometers from the edge of Gaza; we are several more. Can they actually hit us here? I don’t really want to know.
- Acts of kindness abound in Israel today – the Eldan rental car company is offering free rentals to people whose car was damaged by rocket fire.
I have so much more I want to write about. It will come slowly…