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November 21, 2014 / 28 Heshvan, 5775
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Running in Jerusalem

On Friday, people were running in Jerusalem again, but this time for a marathon.
Runners at the third international Jerusalem Marathon, March 1, 2013.

Runners at the third international Jerusalem Marathon, March 1, 2013.
Photo Credit: Yossi Zamir/Flash 90

A few months ago, not even three, people in and around Jerusalem were running for their lives. A siren had broken the moments before the Sabbath came in late on a Friday afternoon. A siren…an air-raid siren…going up and going down…not planned. Incoming missile.

It’s going to take me a long time, perhaps a lifetime to forget those choking minutes of terror as we moved into the bomb shelter, my mind consumed with who wasn’t with us. Aliza, my baby, was outside somewhere. Yes, at 12 years old, she was still my baby. My grandson, not even two, was outside somewhere. Yes, he was with his father, but that knowledge did nothing to calm the terror my daughter was feeling. Shmulik and Naama – probably downstairs, probably safe. Lauren, Elie’s wife, .she was in their apartment fighting back her own feelings as she searched for things Elie would need. He’d just been called to the army, potentially to war.

On Friday, people were running in Jerusalem again, but this time – for a marathon and it isn’t all of Jerusalem – but 20,000 people! I went to the local supermarket to buy a few things and as I always do, I had the radio turned to the news channel. They were talking about the traffic nightmare that was already being caused by the closed streets as the marathon was just getting started.

“It isn’t fun being a Jerusalemite this morning,” said one newscaster, as the second continued to report on closed roads.

And then the second mentioned that there were 20,000 runners.

“Not a small marathan,” responded the first.

And then, the most amazing response of all, the second newscast just said, “Jerusalem.”

Jerusalem. I wish words could easily show tone, expression. In that one word, so much was said. Of course there are so many, of course it is a large marathon – we are talking about Jerusalem.

I can hear him saying the word over and over again, in love, in awe – Jerusalem.

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About the Author: Visit Paula Stern's blog, A Soldier's Mother.


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