A Dangerous Routine

My day started with what should be a routine. Sandwiches. Sweatshirts on the boys because it was cool. Brilliant blue sky containing the crisp air after plentiful rains.

I dropped my sons off at gan and turned on the radio as I drove to the supermarket. That’s when my “regular” routine stopped and the routine I fear most began.

Terrorists. Synagogue. Four Dead. Ax. Shooting. Morning Prayer. Several critically injured.  I had indulged in an hour of routine, and I had missed all of this. Because I had tuned in in the middle of the broadcast I didn’t know where the massacre had taken place.

I expected people in the supermarket to be talking only about that. I assumed I would quickly learn more details. Yet, the supermarket was unusually quiet this morning. I got out in record time.

It was only on my drive back that I heard the dreaded words uttered by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat:  “return to routine” חזרה לשגרה.

In Israel, the concept of “routine” is an oxymoron. It’s meant (rightfully) to reassure and encourage us. Routine is how we remain resilient, how we survive the endless wars and terrorism.

For me, that loaded word has the opposite effect. It means things are really bad. If we have to make an effort to keep our routine, it means we must change our routine.

Barkat’s words brought me back more than 10 years to my first years in Israel when the next terror attack loomed around every corner.

It means I will start avoiding public transport and malls again. It means everything and everyone is suspicious. It means that I must meticulously weigh and plan every move and outing.

And so it starts again.

The media have been warning us for a while that we are on the brink of a third Intifada, a Palestinian uprising.  We know. We have been bracing ourselves.

Back at home, the sun still shines, and the puddles dry up. We will continue our routines, because we have no choice, but it will be an altered routine, a fearful routine, a dangerous routine.

About the Author
Born in Canada and living in Israel since 2003, Melanie Takefman writes about life in Israel, herstory and cross-cultural identity. She is currently working on a book about women and migration.
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