Sunday, November 18, 2012

Shabbat Siren

Shabbat Siren

Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:27 pm (PST) . Posted by:

"judy" judybalint

From: Stuart Pilichowski, Mevasseret TzionFriday. It was 4:45PM. We had already begun Shabbat services in our quaint little trailer / synagogue in Mevaseret Zion. We're a small town of 30,000 people just north of Jerusalem.Then it came. The Siren. The Warning. We're a caravan in the midst of an open, not yet developed field. No bomb shelter. We left the services immediately and proceeded outside. This memory will live with me forever. Forever. It was chilling.We all lay down on the ground. We had no shelter. The siren was still sounding. I realized I had just followed "those in the know." The veterans. Although I listened to countless radio and television interviews with the Israeli Home Front Defense on how to proceed during an attack - yes, an attack – a missile or rocket attack - that's what the siren signals – for me it was always meant for the population in the South, nearest to Gaza, not for me, in Mevaseret Zion, bordering Jerusalem, Israel's capital. I didn't realize I didn't check if my friend Bob was ok until I saw him lying next to me. Yes, the rules of evacuation to a shelter say specifically to go directly to the shelter – others will follow, do not risk delay by assisting others. They'll get to shelter on their own as well. But I still felt strange.Lying on the ground those few minutes I thought of my mother-in-law, may she rest in peace. She, upon the start of the SCUD War in 1991, immediately took a leave of absence from teaching (in NJ) and flew to Israel and sat in a sealed room as the SCUDS fell on Ramat Gan.After a few endless, eternal minutes, the siren ended. We all rose and went back inside to continue the Shabbat prayer services. "Prayer is boring." I've been hearing that for years. Well Friday evening's prayers were anything but boring.I still can't put my finger on it. But I simply can't understand this whole situation. I spend 5 days a week, from 6:00AM to 3:00PM with Palestinians and Israeli-Arabs. We work together, schmooze together, exchange a piece of fruit or a piece of gum, and talk about our families. Hakol B'seder. Everything's great. I teach them a word or two of English and they teach me a word or two of Arabic. I'm nice to them and they're nice to me. I don't believe they want to harm me, much less kill me. And I've been doing this ever since I moved to Israel 13 years ago – in Jordan, Egypt, and Turkey as well.Some think I'm naïve. Some think I'm a bleeding-heart liberal.Maybe. MaybeSo why do Arabs (generally speaking) want me (Israelis) dead? They don't even know me (us). To make a long story or intellectual discourse short: WHY THIS HATRED?Why do people bring up their children with rage rather than tolerance, understanding and love? Do you have an answer? Any ideas?I'd love to know the answer to the question I've been asking all my life.I am, by the way, not oblivious to the Hand of God in all this.There's a message in what's happening in the world as we create history here, in the State of Israel. And there's no better place to be than Israel for history in the making.A peaceful week to all. Shavuah tov.Stuart PilichowskiMevaseret Zion

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