And who is like Your people Israel, a unique nation on earth…

by | Oct 9, 2023

Day 3

I managed to get a few hour’s sleep. Not enough to function well, though. I’ve got to get more work done or this month is going to be hard in more ways than one. I check Facebook again to see if I can mark myself safe in the crisis – this will help lower the amount of people asking me if we are okay. I appreciate the concern, and it’s heartening knowing that so many people care about my welfare, but it’s hard to answer everyone. Facebook still hasn’t listed the war as an option and I am livid. There are ways of doing this that don’t have to be about “taking sides”, but ignoring the situation is abominable. Nope, still no option.

Instead, I decide to create a new cover photo and profile image of an Israeli flag superimposed with smoke and a young woman on her knees praying/crying. It’s beautiful. And it’s a good representation of how I am feeling at the moment. So I post them. Good. I feel like I’ve done something. Now I can get to work.

Or not.

Buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz. They aren’t nearly as close together as they were, but still there to remind me throughout the day that though things are quiet HERE, we are still at war.

I spend most of the day pulling myself away from the news and back towards my work. I have clients depending on me. Clients who have no clue what’s going on here. Clients in another country, in another world, really. And even though I think the whole world should come to a halt because we are being attacked, it’s not reality. They have lives to live and businesses to run and I need to do what they pay me to do.

I just read the news. Now they are saying that at least 130 hostages are being held in Gaza. Hamas or the Palestinian Authority, or whoever is actually responsible for this – they are not signatories of the Geneva convention. They are terrorists and torturers, and my stomach is in knots at the thought…

My sister in law and brother in law call from America to check up on us. I really do love them and appreciate the concern, just talking about this over and over again actually isn’t helping me. But it helps them understand the situation, and they assure us they are trying to spread the truth of our situation, and that means so much to me.

4:45 pm our text group shares a video someone made of the lines to donate blood at the Jerusalem donation center. This is a line to rival the biggest concert of the century. The line wanders up and down and around the arena where the blood drive is being held. These are all Israelis. And we are all scared to be out in public, and yet hundreds of people stand in lines for hours to donate blood to make sure that our injured are taken care of. We may be a hated and persecuted people, but we are brave and resilient, and when it comes down to it, we do what is right and what we must.

ומי כעמך כישראל גוי אחד בארץ

 “And who is like Your people Israel, a unique nation on earth…”

2 Samuel 7:23

It’s 5:00 pm and I’m still trying to focus and get work done. My phone hasn’t been buzzing quite as insistently today as it has been the past two days. More minutes in between the barrages of rockets. I’m guessing that the IDF has managed to destroy a lot of their launchers.

BOOM – OMG, what was that? That was really, REALLY loud – and close. Another, and another. The whole apartment shakes. Buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz, buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz – not unexpected. But those booms were so loud and so close that I’m actually physically shaking. And then the sirens begin. Right outside my window, and all over the area. Loud, close, sirens and distant sirens, too.

I’ve lived in Israel for 17 years. Every few years they decide to launch rockets at us. Some years the phone buzzes but we don’t get sirens – we live near Jerusalem, far enough away that their launchers don’t always get the rockets this far. Other years we do get sirens. But in the past it’s always been – “Okay, a siren, I’ll go to the safe room now.” After all, we are the fortunate ones who have a WHOLE 90 seconds to get in the room and secure the door. But this time is different.

The sirens seem louder, more insistent. Where’s our dog? I start calling him. My very old, mostly deaf dog is slowly and hesitantly making his way to the safe room. C’mon, Jack, c’mon. The sirens seem to be getting louder and more forceful (they aren’t getting louder in reality). The dog has arrived. I’ve got him in, now I close the door. But I can’t make it latch. I’m so shaky my arms have become like rubber bands. My husband latches the door. The sirens stop. A few more distant booms. And while we wait for the requisite 10 minutes to pass, I hear sirens – police cars, or ambulances – or both. Who knows? What’s going on?

The Iron Dome worked – mostly. But at least one rocket actually made it into a populated area very close to us. Four people are injured. Windows blown out of the local clinic building.

And all those people standing in line to give blood? The sirens and explosions happened in Jerusalem, too. Well, they all stayed. Later I discover photos of people crouching down during the sirens, protecting each other. Unbelievable.

My kids start posting on our family chat – pictures of them and the children in their safe rooms. It looks like the children are handling things better than I am. Kids are resilient, it’s true. But it’s also true that looks can be deceiving.

Although I still need to work more hours today, I just can’t. I’m done. Fortunately, my boss is pretty understanding. He sent me a text message of encouragement. But I do have to pull myself together anyway. My daughter and her 5 kids are coming for dinner. It’s my small way of helping out while her husband is away. Good thing pancakes don’t require much mental space. Plain for the kids, blueberry for the adults. And right now it’s more about full bellies and lowering stress levels than about actual nutrition. So I bring out the peaches and maple syrup, and also chocolate syrup and whipped cream. Dinner can be fun in stressful times.

The kids eat – some more than others. My daughter got out of the house. I feel like I did something.

We get word that the Home Front Command – that’s the government agency that deals with emergency and war situations – has told everyone that they should have food and water (and other supplies) that could last 72 hours, stocked in their safe rooms. After the text groups and social media begins to buzz with panic, they issued a clarification that this is nothing new, they’ve always had these guidelines. Yeah, ok. Trying to gather the feathers back into the pillow.

So my husband and I begin to talk about what we might need if we were stuck in a safe room for 3 days. That’s a lot of stuff, and we are only two people!!!!! There’s not enough room in those tiny spaces for all the supplies a family would need. And let’s not mention bathroom facilities – although we DID talk about that, and makeshift options for such a situation.

Ok, tomorrow morning we’ll begin gathering supplies. Just in case.

Written by Penina Taylor

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