Alissa Burstein

Every Time I Take a Shower

It has been 100 days since October 7 and I am trying to put words to my daily thoughts; below are 18 of them. It has been 100 days of war and captivity – pain, worry, shock, fear, concern, sadness, confusion, and yes, anger.

  1. Every time I take a shower I feel guilty, wondering when the hostages last felt the purifying sensation of warm water flowing over scalp and shoulders. When they last felt clean.
  2. Every time I put on my glasses I wonder how many hostages have lost theirs, and cannot even see clearly, one of our most basic human needs.
  3. Every time I talk to my children I think of the parents who cannot.
  4. Every time after a siren or terrorist attack, and I am asked, “How are you,” I feel guilty for saying, “Fine thank you.” But really, am I? Are we?
  5. Every time I do housework and am tempted to complain, I say, “Thank God I am physically capable, and in my own house, cleaning my own mess.”
  6. Every time I do laundry I am thankful that I have clean clothes, and shudder to think what the hostages are wearing.
  7. Every time I am able to tend to my personal hygiene, I think of those who are deprived of this basic necessity, and my thoughts go to the hostages.
  8. Every time I buy something new, I wish I could buy something new for those being held hostage, and get it to them. Anything. From us.
  9. Every time I turn on the radio I wonder if maybe, just maybe, the hostages hear us, from where they are being held, in Gaza.
  10. Every time I get into bed I pray the hostages have blankets like we do.
  11. Every time I eat pita bread, I am reminded that pita may be the only thing the hostages are eating, and it just doesn’t taste the same anymore. And water, never again to be taken for granted…
  12. Every time I have a headache and take a painkiller, I realize how such a simple action is impossible for the hostages.
  13. Every time I decide what to read, have the ability to decide, I feel for the hostages who cannot make even the simplest decisions such as what to read.
  14. Every time I cut my nails I realize how even this we take for granted – and wonder what hostages do about overgrown nails after 100 days.
  15. Every time I plan, I feel grateful for the ability to plan, and ask – will the freed hostages ever re-gain that skill?
  16. Every time I snuggle my pets I pray there are friendly animals in the vicinity of the hostages, perhaps granting them a few seconds of joy and comfort, albeit ephemeral.
  17. Every time I choose in the morning what shoes to wear, I feel ashamed by how many pairs I have accumulated, and pray the hostages have even just one comfortable, dry, warm pair for the day.
  18. Every time I wipe away a tear I ask myself if the hostages are still capable of crying.

When there is a lull in my day, I find myself thinking about the hostages, the injured, the families of the victims. And I wonder how many hostages will ultimately be able to read this post, from home, and when that will occur.

About the Author
Alissa Burstein is a mother, wife and cat lover living in the center of Israel. With a PhD in education, she currently works at the Bar-Ilan University Azrieli Faculty of Medicine in an administrative capacity. Yoga and good coffee (and cats!) keep her somewhat sane.
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