Shev Zacks

So what’s it like, beginning a marriage in a war zone?

Our wedding was exactly two weeks ago, as of this Sunday.

First week of marriage – sheva brachot in the bomb shelter.

We move into our apartment – quickly meet the neighbors while hanging out in the rocket-safe stairwell.

Turn our computers back on – slowly realize we might just be in the middle of a war.

So what’s it like, beginning a marriage in a war zone?

I’ve never felt so lucky.

It goes like this. We laugh and we decorate and we set up our kitchen and build our bookcases, and when the siren comes we drop everything and run to the shelter. We drive back and forth from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, and play “Where Will We Run If We Hear The Siren”. We laugh as it rings out at the most inopportune times – like at 8am, or when one of us is in the shower, or when I cannot find a mitpachat (hair covering) for the life of me.

I can’t imagine a better way to start off our lives together. Very quickly, we have learned how the other reacts in a tense, dramatic situation. Very quickly, we have learned how to comfort and distract each other. Very quickly, we have learned that our ideals are matched up perfectly, that the thought of being anywhere else right now isn’t even comprehensible.

This is where I want to live forever. It’s where I want to raise my children. We have chosen Israel, for all of its beauty and all of its pain.

 A family member commented that once you make aliyah, you are no longer a spectator of Jewish History – you become a player, right in the field. I love that idea.

I wish we didn’t have to be afraid, wish that peace would come sooner, wish that I would never again have to hear the pulse-quickening sound of the siren. But if this has to happen, I do not wish to be anywhere else. I want to be here, with my people, with my nation, fighting back.

When friends of mine tell me they’re waiting to make aliyah until after they get married, or finish college, I never understand. Why not begin your life in the place you want to live it? Where better to find a guy, or have the optimal education, then the place you want to be married and working?

This is the beginning of our lives together. Each day brings a new first. The first time he said Kiddush for me. The first time we had to clean out the sink drain. The first time we made potato kugel. The first time we heard the tzeva adom siren and ran all the way downstairs, not realizing our hallway was safe too.

The firsts are what create the beginning of a lifetime. I am so grateful to be living here, in the land of Am Yisrael, singing Shabbat songs in the stairwell of our apartment building. There’s nowhere else I’d want to be.

May our soldiers bring peace to our country, and come home safely.

About the Author
Shev Zacks made aliyah in 2009 from Detroit, Mi. She is currently studying in Bar Ilan University.