A few weeks ago, we moved our offices to the center of Jerusalem. For the last 8+ years, we’ve been located in Har Hotzvim, the hi-tech park in Jerusalem. This was great for being in contact with companies, but was harder for individuals wanting to take our courses. More, we were in a miserable building, badly maintained, poorly managed, and I never could stomach people trying to cheat me, lie to me, etc.
So, finally, with almost no notice, we gave up and surrendered. We would never be able to deal with the management; they would always try to take advantage. No, the offices were never 300 meters, despite what we were told (and charged). No, we don’t really want to pay for everyone else’s water because they are smart enough to steal it from the emergency fire reserves rather than run it through a meter. I surrender – get us out of here…and so we moved.
We moved to a building with an interesting history – though yesterday is likely to be one that people remember for years to come. Yesterday, while we were having our last frustrating meeting with the previous landlord (and yeah, we got stuck paying for his water though thankfully, the extra electricity he charged to us was covered by the tenant using it and not us), I started getting phone calls.
Elie called during the meeting; I told him I couldn’t talk. His voice was calm; he told me he’d talk to me later. A few minutes later, Chaim called – strange. I answered and started to tell him I was in a meeting when he said, “I just wanted to make sure you were okay.”
“Okay?” I said beginning to worry, “We’re…what happened?”
And so, my stomach dropped again, the roller coaster hit that always unexpected fall. You’re coasting along and then…that’s it, you’re stomach is still coasting, but your body is falling.
Chaim explained – Binyan Klal, where our new offices were located – shots were fired; a man and a woman were killed in the area where there are stores…in fact, on our floor, around the corner from where we are. It was clear, even in the first minutes, that it was not a terror attack, but a targeted, intentional act. A man, driven to the edge of his ability to cope, pushed beyond his capacity to deal with life, shot and killed his lawyer and the lawyer’s daughter (who was also a lawyer or secretary…still unclear). This all became clear in the hours after the initial report.
But in those first moments all they said was a man and woman were killed in Binyan Klal, in the center of Jerusalem. We were fine, but the meeting stopped instantaneously as the others asked me what happened. And as I answered in short fragmented sentences, I was already panicking and calling Elie’s wife, who WAS at the Training Center.
As always, Lauren handles emergencies and apparent emergencies and non-emergencies with the same calm and logic. She is so like Elie – they are so perfect together. She was fine. Yes, she locked the door. No, she was not near the windows. Yes, she heard the shots. No, she didn’t leave the safety of the Training Center.
Somewhere in my terrified questions, she got in that the person was captured right away, she was fine, etc.
A short time later, Shmulik called – also worried. A dear friend called to make sure I was okay and I answered the phone not with “hello” – but “we’re fine; we aren’t even there.” I called Amira so she wouldn’t worry. She called Lauren to make sure that Lauren really was okay. I spoke to Elie again. Davidi called. Two friends of ours called my husband and others sent SMS. My sister called. Several friends asked on Facebook. And on it went.
It wasn’t so long ago that when something exploded, I began a frantic period in which I confirmed where everyone was. It wasn’t always a logical progression but it certainly was frantic. I told my children from the time they were first given phones, “if anything explodes anywhere in Israel, you call me.”
It’s a strange feeling to realize that you have passed this urgency, this sense of terror on to your children. Perhaps I didn’t pass it to them; perhaps it is human nature. It is, most definitely sad.
It was a sad tragedy yesterday. What drove a man in his 50s, a security guard whose past years have been dedicated to protecting others…to come and take the life of two people? He has four children – what will become of them?
And I have learned the sad feeling of knowing that my children have grown enough to reach the point where they worry about us, where they need reassurances that we weren’t hurt; that we are fine.
I have a friend who was in the army when she was young. There she met her husband. They both served. In a lot of ways, as hard as it was for me to learn what I needed to learn when Elie went into the army, it was harder for my friend and her husband. It took me a while to understand this. I thought it was hard for me because I didn’t understand what was happening, what was expected of me.
By that logic, they should have handled their son going into the army easily. Been there, done that; nothing new. What my friend explained was that they never thought the day would come that their son would have to serve, and as he did a year or so later – go fight in a war.
“We served so that our children wouldn’t have to and we just never thought that when the time came, our children would have to serve too.”
Yesterday, I had a taste of that. I didn’t worry so that years later my children wouldn’t have to…but there was something inside of me, unknown until yesterday, that believed my children would never have to worry as I did, never call to make sure I wasn’t hurt or worse.
I don’t know if I’m explaining this clearly – it’s just a thought in my head…an awakening…to have your children call you…and while I love them all dearly…it was a side of their returned love that I didn’t want to ever see. I didn’t do anything to cause their worry and yet, I’m sorry for it.
Visit A Soldier’s Mother.Paula Stern
About the Author: Paula R. Stern is CEO of WritePoint Ltd., a leading technical writing company in Israel. Her personal blog, A Soldier's Mother, has been running for more than 5 years. She lives in Maale Adumim with her husband and children, a dog, too many birds, and a desire to write.The author's opinion does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.
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