Ice cream. With sprinkles.

by | Oct 11, 2023

Day 5

Every Wednesday morning my husband and I go grocery shopping early, so we can avoid the crowds, get in and out quickly and get back home in time to start our work day. I wasn’t sure we’d be able to go shopping this morning. But we are fortunate, our local supermarket is open and relatively well stocked, all things considered.

There was no toilet paper, regular flour or bottled water, and there was a lot of empty shelf space, but we were able to find most of what we needed. I tried not to have a “hoard” mentality – I fight scarcity thinking on a regular day – so this is a challenge. But I did pick up a few basic extras in case my family needed – white sugar, flour, oil, and a few other items – just in case. I also picked up a few things my daughter and daughter-in-law needed, so they didn’t have to deal with the added pressure of going shopping.

As I made my way through the grocery store, it took me a minute to notice that the workers stocking shelves weren’t the usual people, but rather, young men and women – teenagers, who had volunteered to use their extra time to help their community. School has been canceled for the week due to the lack of teachers and the danger of having a large amount of children in one building or in transit. School buses seem to be favorite targets for terrorists – go figure.

The amount of chesed (kindness) the people of Israel have shown in this situation has been astounding. People donating food, clothing and other supplies to make sure our soldiers and our displaced countrymen from the south have what they need has been mind boggling. I spoke about the blood donations a few days ago, but it goes so much beyond that. It’s true that people all over the world, and especially in the US, have been donating and trying to find ways of getting supplies to us, but the amount of giving among the people who are suffering – that’s another level altogether. Wealthy American Jews have been paying for soldiers stuck in the US from visiting family over the holidays to get back, El Al (Israel airlines) has been making flights possible and other people of means have actually been chartering planes since most airlines – both commercial and freight, are not flying here right now.

The owner of our local grocery chain (it’s one of the largest chains in the country) has donated over a million shekels worth of food to the cause, and he’s making every effort to make sure citizens continue to have access to food. This is why our community is willing to volunteer to help the store stay open and shelves stay stocked.

When I get to the checkout, which is manned by one of the few Jewish cashiers in our store, I realize that I’ve really bought nearly as much stuff for giving to others as I have for us. But still, I feel like I could have bought more. I’ve been told this could be a long war and we need to pace ourselves, so I’m going to put this stuff aside in case it’s needed later. I bought some soap and toothbrushes, but mostly I bought food that is ready to eat – not just junk, but healthier stuff like sunflower seeds (I DO NOT get the Israeli obsession with snacking on sunflower seeds still in their shell, but it is a national favorite), tuna, canned fruit and of course packets of turkish coffee, because that’s what fuels the Israeli army. It’s not much, but at least I feel like I did something.

After shopping at the supermarket, I notice that the health food store is open, so I pop in. We are vegetarian, so there’s a few things I need from there that I can’t get at the regular supermarket. The most important thing though? Ice cream! I know it’s a silly, privileged, luxury, but there’s a really good vegan ice cream that I get from there that is my little indulgence. I pick up several cartons, to hold us for the next week or so. As long as the electricity doesn’t go out, we’ll have enough food for us and our kids for a few weeks, for sure. If it does, I’m eating that ice cream first. My husband thinks it won’t take us long to eat it all, but I’m not sure how much ice cream I can eat in one day – no matter how stressed I am.

After getting home and unpacking the cold foods, I head to my desk to start working. Today has been a little easier than previous days. The incessant buzzing of my phone has slowed down. Now there are sometimes an hour break between rocket barrages. Could the war be slowing down?

Buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz

Nope. A little reminder that just because things are quiet where I live doesn’t mean we aren’t still at war. Others in our country are still running to safe rooms, afraid to take a shower or even go to the bathroom just in case there’s another one.

After lunch we get the news that there’s been a shooting reported on the highway between us and Jerusalem. My oldest son works in Jerusalem – I post in our chat group – please check in. All’s well, he’s working from home. Whew.

Not whew. Someone did get injured. I feel guilty being glad it wasn’t one of “mine.” We are all family. But I’m still relieved. I wonder if this makes me a bad person.

We get a check-in from SIL, but not my son. I know they have to have phones off for long periods – nowadays having a cell phone can make you a target.

I want to do something for the girls – that’s my daughter and DIL. They probably wouldn’t like being called that, but I’m old school. Anyway, I ask if they would like pizza for dinner and they agree. Although they each have one child who won’t eat pizza (who doesn’t like pizza?), it still makes dealing with dinner a little easier. I get on the app and order them pizzas for dinner.

We talk about plans for shabbat meals. Neither of the “girls” want to spend a shabbat meal alone, so we work out that my daughter will go to her in-laws for lunch and my DIL will come to us. Friday night dinner they will have together. I love my children and grandchildren, and am truly blessed to be living within walking distance of eight of my thirteen grandchildren. But as I get older and more used to a quiet home, I find that having all eight at once is hard. So, we work it out.

Today has been easier in many ways, but I’ve gotten hardly any work done, and this is bad. Really bad.

I take some time to write, hoping that will actually help me get more motivated to work. But it doesn’t work.

I check the news sites. There’s a video of an American official who visited Kfar Aza, the site of the massacre. She’s choked up over what she’s seen. I can’t say it enough times – anyone who thinks this is about a group of oppressed people trying to throw off the chains of oppression and gain freedom, is clueless. I actually want to use other language, but I’m trying to keep it classy.

While hubby and I are eating dinner (and watching a show to relax), our oldest son comes by to pick up the door jamming devices our friend has made for our safe rooms. While we are chatting, our phones go off.

Buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz. Buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz. Buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz. Buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz. Buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz. Buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz. Buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz.

What’s happening? It looks like the entire north of Israel has received a rocket barrage from Lebanon. Oh no.

It happens again. Our son heads home.

Now we get a message from Home Front Command that everyone in the country should enter their safe rooms, even though there are no sirens.

We make our way to the safe room, but after a few minutes we get the message that it was an error – a glitch in the system, we can come out.

And the rocket barrages? Not rockets, but unmanned drones. Or terrorists hang gliding in. What?

Okay, it appears that was also a glitch in the system. Honestly, I think we’ve been hacked. Everyone is so on edge that the enemy knows this is a way to torture us without having to physically attack us. Whatever actually happened, it’s all good now.

Well, not really, but relatively.

I message the family – everyone needs to go eat ice cream. With sprinkles.

Written by Penina Taylor

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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.

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I get up, get dressed, as usual. I get my coffee and sit down to work. One website…just one…no, I need to work. I try to work. But websites and LinkedIn profiles seem so trivial at the moment. I am so distracted.

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