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September 23, 2014 / 28 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘shelter’

Running in Jerusalem

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

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.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Desperately Craving Normal

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

Note: This article was written on Friday, December 7th, 2012.

Normal is that status where life just is. Normal is when you don’t hear sirens in your head, listen for ambulances, imagine the phone ringing. When your country is at war, when your son is a soldier, when you have friends and family living in areas where rockets are falling, you crave normal to a level that I doubt most normal people can understand.

Normal.

There are so many things that aren’t normal about life here. Having a pile of gas masks in a corner of the room isn’t normal. Buying 12 bottles of water to take to your son’s unit isn’t normal and when you end up not delivering them so they are in your house – normal would be to drink them. Not normal is to take six of them and put them in a room that has been specially built to withstand missiles and explosions.

No, having a bomb shelter in your home isn’t normal either.

Normal is a day like today – and they come so rarely here. The sun is shining. The sweet challah dough is rising on the counter. I made a blueberry pie and soon I’ll be making a spinach/broccoli casserole and a carrot casserole. That’s normal. The soup is boiling on the stove and the house is filled with the scent of that and the finished chicken cooling on the table.

Normal.

Tonight my daughter and her husband and baby will be staying over – Elie and Lauren will come over, along with Lauren’s cousin, who is a soldier. Technically, he’s a lone soldier because his parents live in the States, but he’s got Lauren, who is as close as any sister could be; he’s got an adopted family near Jerusalem, another nearer to the center of the company.

Davidi is home this weekend, though right now he’s taking a shift on the ambulance squad. Chanukah is coming Saturday night – we’ll light the first candle.

I’ll make the potato pancakes my mother-in-law taught me to make. We’ll sit around and talk and be a family and somewhere in all that normal, I’ll push away the thought that we have to work so hard to reach normal, it just isn’t normal.

Aliza told me that when the siren went off, she cried. The children went running to shelter and she was frightened. I don’t remember what we were talking about, why she mentioned it but we all have this poison inside ourselves that we have to release.

On Sunday, I’m going with a group of women to Netivot. It’s a closed group from all over Israel and we share our mornings and our thoughts and meet a few times a year. I missed the last meeting, decided I really wanted to go to this one and so we are stealing a day and traveling to Netivot, so close to Gaza. There, we’ll go shopping to help the local community.

I don’t know what I’ll buy – I don’t usually go shopping on Sundays…I’ll find something. I’ll go there to that beautiful city and I’ll buy something and most of all, I’ll crave normal. I won’t listen for a siren or an announcement that there’s an incoming missile.

It’s too soon, anyway. The Arabs still have what to get from this short period of quiet. They are sitting back and letting the world condemn Israel for whatever the latest complaint is about. That’s okay – that’s kind of normal too. What would a week be without some nation somewhere finding fault in what we do – ignoring all that others do?

Syria is about to fire chemical weapons at its own people; Egypt is hounding demonstrators in the street. There is unease in so many places – perhaps, perhaps I’m wrong and Israel is the most normal country in the world.

At least we find islands of peace each week; at least we find ways to simulate normal. Yes, I have a bomb shelter in my house – but it’s also got a bed in there and an extra freezer, some bookshelves, tons of books. It looks like a normal room – it’s even painted pink. The only sign that it isn’t a normal room comes from the door as you enter, and the second metal window outside.

I haven’t managed to open the metal yet. Elie and his father quickly ran to slam it closed when the first siren went off and it has been closed since then. Maybe I’ll know normal is back when one of us opens those metal shutters?

Tonight, I’ll light the Shabbat candles; tomorrow we’ll begin lighting the Chanukah candles. I guess that is the normal that is Israel.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

What if the Siren Goes off When I’m Alone?

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

I’m in the office today until late. I spoke to Aliza shortly after she came home. I explained I’d be here for a while, at least. She’s home alone until my husband returns from work and some errands.

“Ima, what if the siren goes off when I’m alone?” she asked me.

“Go quickly into the bomb shelter and close the door,” I told her, my heart clenching at the thought of her in a  bomb shelter alone.

“I’ll take my phone with me,” she said, and I quickly agree.

“I’ll call you right away and you can call me,” I answer back.

“Can I take Simba in with me?” she asks. Simba is our dog.

“Of course you can. That’s wonderful. You take care of Simba and call him into the room.”

What world do we live in that a 12-year old has to consider going into a bomb shelter alone? If I could leave now, I would but Al Jazeera English contacted me and asked me to be on their show. Check out my next post on that…

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Safe Hallways

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Israeli citizens are instructed to take shelter in the hallways and stairways of their apartment buildings after warning sirens sound, signaling an incoming rocket. We in the Tel Aviv area have not experienced this kind of thing since 1990. Our animals are particularly perplexed: it looks like we’re out on a walkie, but then no walkie, we just stop at the stairs? What the heck kind of outing is this?

They say animals can tell by a sixth sense when something’s about to happen, but the fact is, once something actually happens they have no clue what’s going on.

Our cats are not the least bit disturbed by the tension around them. With brains the size of a walnut, they don’t store tension – they let go of it, to make room for new things – moth!

The fact is our hallways cannot protect us from a direct hit, God forbid, but they’re pretty solid against shrapnel. Plus you get to meet and talk to neighbors you didn’t even know you had. Did you know she had a dog? I didn’t know she had a dog. Like that…

Homefront Command : What To Do in a Rocket Attack

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Israel’s Homefront Command has revised its instructions to citizens living within rocket fire of Gaza, and publicized a video with English translation to broadcast important directives.

For those within 40 kilometers of Gaza:

  • If you hear the sound of air raid sirens, enter into a protected area immediately.
  • School has been cancelled
  • Do not convene or congregate in groups
  • If your workplace does not have a bomb shelter, do not go to work.
  • Shopping centers are to be closed

Israeli news website Walla published an image illustrating the amount of time residents of various parts of the country have to find shelter in the event of a siren.

According to the image, residents of Sderot have just 15 seconds to find shelter, residents of Ashkelon have 30 seconds, residents of Ashdod have 45 seconds, residents of Be’er Sheva have 60 seconds, resident of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and southern Samaria have a minute and a half, and residents of Netanya and Herzliya have 2 minutes.  If missiles are fired from Israel’s north, either from Hizbullah in Lebanon or Al-Qaida from Syria, residents of Tiberias, Haifa, and Gadera have 60 seconds to find cover, residents of Carmiel and Tzfat have 30 seconds, and residents of Nahriya and the Golan should find cover immediately. If at the time of a siren or emergency warning,  you are found in:

A building:

Go into a bomb shelter or safe room (if one is not available in your building, enter the innermost room of your house), closing the doors and windows.  Those living in the top floor of apartment buildings should quickly exit their apartments and enter the stairwell, descending to the middle floor of the building.

Outside:

Enter the nearest building immediately.  If there are no buildings close by, or you are in an open area, lie down on the ground and cover your head with your hands.

In the car:

Stop on the side of the road, exit the car, and enter a building or protected area immediately.  If there is no building, or you are in an open area, exit the car and lie down on the ground, covering your head with your hands.  If you cannot exit the vehicle, top on the side of the road and wait 10 minutes before continuing on your journey.

If no other instructions are given, you may leave the secure area after 10 minutes.

Homefront Command also issued specific instructions for workers in a variety of situations and job types, including government and essential workers.

Rocket Attack from Gaza (Video)

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

This is the beautiful city of Shderot – it’s a quiet town filled with people who want the quieter life. They have been under attack for 12 years and counting. When they hear either an air raid siren or the announcement “Color Red” – they know they have 15 seconds to get to safety.

On Friday, it took us at least 15 seconds to move everyone from the dining room to the bomb shelter. 15 seconds. It’s taken you longer to read to this point in the post.

This is a video, taken yesterday by someone who was not very smart. I don’t want others to do the same and yet, it’s a wonderful opportunity to let you feel what it is like. Imagine your eyes were like the camera – searching the skies, looking, waiting. You know it is coming…and then the BOOM…that is so loud, the shock knocks the person down and we lose the picture – and then it comes back…look at two things at the end of the short clip.

First, look at how close it is to this person and second, notice that it is in the middle of a city. There is no military installation there – just a city, just people, who want to live in a quiet city that because of Gaza, hasn’t been really quiet in 12 years.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Rockets on Gush Etzion – A Personal Story

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

On Friday night, I was walking to shul with my kids when the air-raid siren went off. I quickly had to debate which was closer, my home or the shul, because there wasn’t much of a particularly safe place in between the two.

To digress for a second, on Friday, Hamas claimed they were going to hit the Knesset in Jerusalem with a rocket. Personally, I didn’t take that threat very seriously, mostly because they were just as likely to hit an Arab village or Al Aqsa, so why would they take that chance?

And out here, in Gush Etzion. Not likely at all. Right?

But still, before hockey practice in the afternoon, the coach made a point of telling all the kids where the closest bomb shelter was. You know… just in case.

Like every Shabbat, I had my security walkie-talkie with me. And when the sirens went off, it started shouting too about the incoming rocket.

This was real.

I decided we were going to try to run home. My wife was there with the newborn along with my mother, and they would need help too.

But little kids can only run so fast, and when it became clear we weren’t going to make it home in a reasonable time, I hid us under a semi-enclosed garage (the building the garage was attached to was unfortunately locked). I wasn’t going to keep us out in the open for much longer. It wasn’t safe.

We got there, as did a few other people, and we waited. And a minute later – “Boom”.

I’ve been through rocket attacks in Lebanon, and during the Gulf War too, so I knew what to expect. But I didn’t know how my kids would react.

My kids couldn’t stop laughing when they heard the explosion in the not far enough away distance!

They apparently practice running to the bomb shelter all the time in school, so they knew what to do, and were excited they could finally do it for real.

We waited another minute, and then rather stupidly, we ran the rest of the way home. Then there was a second, and perhaps fainter boom.

Turns out you are supposed to wait 10 minutes in your safe area, because they fire them in groups. Who knew.

I went back to shul. Alone this time.

Anyway, the parks were pretty empty on Shabbat afternoon, and we kept our kids inside for the rest of the day.

The kids have been making siren sounds all day long and building Lego rockets.

Go figure.

 

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The following was posted on Facebook by Eli Birnbaum

Surreal story from Eli Birnbaum in Tekoa:

Erev Shabbat in Tekoa (like most places) is a contradiction of tension and relief. This time the arrival of Shabbat was accompanied by warning sirens for a missile attack. Surprise and unbelief “Missiles here in the Judean desert?” Before we can really grasp what was happening, there came the resounding boom of an explosion echoing in the hills reflecting the shock in our faces. The security van careens through the streets calling people to find shelter. Within minutes another siren warning. This time prayers are halted . “Quickly under the shul,” someone commands. Within the confusion we grab our children and grandchildren in our arms and climb down to the open area under the synagogue which affords more protection. We all move quickly in the darkening evening finding space on the floor . I hold one of my grandchildren talking to him softly . He thinks it is a great game. We begin to sing and wait for the next boom.

It was at that moment that my son Pinny’s cell phone rings. As a member of a search and rescue team it is not uncommon for him to get calls even on Shabbat. But this call was different “Shabbat Shalom” . It is a familiar voice with a very distinct accent. “ Pinny, its Muhammad, what do I do? What’s happening? I heard your sirens”. There is real panic in his voice.

At first this may not appear to be an abnormal situation, but Muhammad is an acquaintance/friend who happens to live in the Arab village of Tuqua which the army will only enter in large numbers. Pinny quietly explains that we were being rocketed from Gaza and the best thing he could do is to remain in doors and stay away from windows. Muhammad thanks Pinny profusely apologizes for calling on Shabbat “ Shabbat Shalom Pinny – B’Emet todah!”. So this Friday night , a “Palestinian Arab” called a “Jewish Settler” for help regarding a rocket attack from Gaza – Surreal!

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/special-features/israel-at-war-operation-amud-anan/rockets-on-gush-etzion-a-personal-story/2012/11/17/

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