- Day 1, Thursday night, November 15: Philippe and I met our friends Amy and Viktor, who live about 45 minutes away, at a midway point, Jem’s Brewery, in Petach Tikwa. The only reason we were able to reserve a table was because they had 100 cancellations due to “The Situation”. From 8:30 to 11pm, the four of us sat, talked, ate, drank. At one point, Philippe asked if we feel or should be feeling guilty for being out socializing while people in the south were being bombed. Amy checked her phone and showed us a text from her friend saying she was watching the Iron Dome interceptors from their hometown in Modiin. Other than our conversation and that text, we saw no evil, heard no evil, spoke no evil.
- Day 2, Friday, November 16: Philippe and his brother Yvan organized a 24-hour getaway while their parents are in the country to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. We left the house at 2pm on Friday and headed southwest toward a moshav with guest rooms. We were 6 adults and 9 kids, ranging in age from 8 to 19. That night in bed and into the next day, we each reported hearing the loud roar of planes flying overhead and the thunderous boom of the Iron Domes meeting their targets.
- Day 3, Saturday, November 17: As soon as Shabbat ended and before saying our goodbyes and heading home, the five older kids stood around with their heads bowed, each checking their phones for news in English and Hebrew of rockets, missiles, targets, soldiers, attacks.
- As soon as we turned left off the highway and onto Raanana’s main street of Ahuzza on our way home that night, I noticed the normalcy of life. Every Saturday night after Shabbat ends is the same. People are out walking, restaurants and stores are starting to open for the evening and cars and buses are filling the roads.
- On the car ride home, I got an email from Tehila, the Israeli woman who spent two weeks with us 2 1/2 years ago in NY, telling me that she was in Raanana until Sunday. Residents of a religious moshav in the Negev, she lives a few kilometers from Gaza with her husband and four boys. On Wednesday night, they were told no school until further notice. Tehila’s husband is a PE teacher in public schools in the area, while she is a social worker, helping victims of terror. Everyone, she told me, sticks close to home, but she is in her car, driving to and from work, to and from people’s houses on the different moshavim in the area. Before coming to escape for the weekend in Raanana, the boys slept in the “safe” room with the parents on a bed outside the door. Alarms sound at all hours of the day/night so they cannot go far. She told me that while the rest of the country hears sirens, they don’t have time and only hear “Red light”, which means go to the safe room. They have 15 seconds…
- Speaking of 15 seconds, stress and talk of war have triggered Benjamin’s creative juices. Check out his latest at: http://
- Day 4, Sunday, November 18: My yoga students start filing in the door minutes before class this morning. My most loyal student, A., who comes 3 to 4 times a week, stops to update me on her family’s situation. Friday night, the phone rang. Her Israeli husband, in his late 40s and already well beyond the age of being called up to reserve duty, was asked to come to the border. Flat on his back for the last two weeks from chronic pain, he didn’t hesitate, got up, called a doctor and asked for pain medication. The doctor agreed to give him whatever he wanted. Meanwhile, he couldn’t even bend down to tie his boots; Saturday morning, he was gone.
- A. brought a friend visiting Israel for her first time to yoga class. This woman spent Saturday in Tel Aviv, exploring and enjoying the beautiful fall weather. While walking, a siren sounded and before she knew it, a nearby restaurant opened its doors and a waiter called everyone from the street in and down to the bomb shelter. The strangers huddled together as one.
- One of my neighbors showed up for yoga this morning with her daughter. When I asked her why she was home, she said “biglal hamatsav” or “The Situation” as Israeli’s call it. A college student at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, which is situated in the city of Beersheva, she told me the school closed its doors, telling students it would alert them on a daily basis as to when classes would resume.
- The principal of the girls’ school emailed all the parents today to tell us our kids were fine, practicing evacuating and heading into shelters, calmly. He asked us to please alert school if they are feeling anxious or having trouble sleeping or eating. And, like everybody in this country, religious and secular, old and young, he signed off asking us to pray for quieter days.
Thank you to everyone who emailed and called and Facebooked me throughout the weekend to check in. It is so, so good to know you are there.