Three lives, three people, three friends that I have known, from completely different backgrounds, found themselves together in Ashkelon during Operation Protective Edge.

My friend, my brother-in-arms, the man who saved my life years ago when we served together in a tank unit of the IDF, had just returned from a trip abroad with his wife and family.  They had traveled to Bulgaria.  We spoke, we caught up, and then he confided that his home in a nice part of Ashkelon did not have a safe room.  He said that I shouldn’t worry, his daughter and son-in-law lived nearby and whenever the sirens wailed, he went over there with his wife.  This is our life, now, he said, we live from siren to siren.

I had called another friend, a shop owner, whose store is in the old market area of Ashkelon.  Perhaps in a future article I will tell you how we came to know one another.  I think of his store, filled with the most wonderful spices, infinite varieties of raisins and dates and nuts and seeds, and how his store is always filled with customers who know they will get only the very best quality products there.  I asked him how he was doing and he said just fine.  He said not to worry, that he and his family were fine, and that his brother had just called from Zichron Ya’akov because the sirens had gone off there also.  I told him that I knew, because my daughter and son-in-law and grandson also lived there.  This is our life, now, he said, we live from siren to siren.

I called a colleague of mine.  She is in Ashkelon, visiting her family there. We teach together at a Hebrew School in New Jersey, and I have known her for many years.  Her son is with her, also visiting.  He was a substitute teacher at the same school.  I asked her how she was doing, and she said she was fine.  It’s a shame, I said, that your visit to your family this year has to be under these circumstances.  Yes, she agreed, it is a shame, but my husband who stayed behind in New Jersey said that I should not get an earlier return flight, that I should stay with my family because that was more important right now.  I asked her if she was able to get out of the area at all, and she said, no, we are pretty much in the apartment, close to the safe room.  This is our life, now, she said, we live from siren to siren.