Avi Ganz

The War Chronicles #6: Haiku

I am not sure why

Haiku exists but so what?

I can blog with it

Picnic table at Sajme’ Spring, Gush Etzion – where would we find shelter?

Head to the North front
Leave my wife and seven kids
Who have been displaced

Early this morning, I drove to my daughter’s highschool to deliver some clean laundry…..because I had accidentally given her a bag of cigarettes and chocolate that was designated for soldiers. I guess things like that can happen these days. As I headed home, I saw a man in uniform who seemed to be in his high thirties. I offered him a ride to his bus stop. He told me that he is not from around here but he and his family had been evacuated from the South. Now that they are settled somewhat (an entire elementary school has been set up and is functioning for the children of these sixty families!!!), he is reporting for duty in The North…..while his wife and seven children stay in their new temporary dwellings in Gush Etzion.  

The hug I received
Was as warm as what I gave:
Thermal underwear

Before he stepped out of the car, I asked him if he could use some thermal underwear, he said yes. I found the right size in the back of the car. I thanked him for his service. He thanked me for the thermals. We hugged. He left…..and I started my day….

Good morning, heroes!
I brought you some hot coffee
You are OUR hero

I realized I had a few minutes before shul after dropping off my new friend and the weather has started to get a little chilly so I got a few coffees for some soldiers on the road. I asked if anyone wanted coffee: they all pointed to each other saying “he wants – he should get it”. But their were four of them and four coffees. All good.

Wartime is painful
We are in this together
It will be ok

This one is just a recurring theme. All parts of it. Over and over and over again…..

Where would I go if
I have ninety seconds to
Avoid a rocket?

We often spend Friday afternoons at natural pools. And when it gets too cold for that……we go anyway and see how long we can stay in . Of course, we haven’t been spending too much time away from home or at least civilization since the war began. But the kids (well, at least one of them) have been begging and unlike some of their other requests, time outdoors in nature is really a healthy outlet. So we ventured out with a few kids and told them that we may have to cut the visit short and that I would stay out of the water to be more aware of surroundings and we parked very close to the spring so we could take cover in case of a siren…..and the kids had a good time and made hot cocoa and the trip was uneventful and so welcome…..

At Ein Sajme. Photo: Courtesy

Shelves slightly empty
We have everything we need
But does everyone?

Shopping is different because the supply chain has been affected: fewer Jewish workers because of the war. Fewer Palestinian workers because of the war. Families mourning lost loved ones. People relocated and not able to be at their places of work or, in the case of one family we met, their place of employment (the fire department near Ashkelon – but for someone else it could be the Sderot Police Department) has been completely destroyed. We really do have everything we need and then some – it’s just that the stores aren’t open for as many hours and sometimes the products aren’t arranged as well as we are used to (which could be because there are teens and even pre-teens stocking the shelves these days….but maybe not….) or perhaps the logistics of storage and ordering and stocking have been thrown off so some of our shopping list isn’t available all of the time……but we are really fine and have more than we need. But it’s hard not to think about those who don’t….those who are lacking even on a good day. This definitely hurts them more…..

Local kids stock shelves at supermarket. Courtesy

Pooling our winnings
For a Good Cause in Israel
Who needs catered lunch?

A friend who is a Rebbe in New York told me that his elementary school students participate in a monthly halacha Test and that the childdren who score above a 90 receive a cash prize. They typically pool their prize money and order in for lunch from a restaurant. This month, the kids decided that they don’t need to splurge on the treat and would, instead, like to contribute the funds to a family from the South who was affected by the October 7th massacre. The firefighter whose whole team was murdered is tragically suffering their loss as well as financial instability as he has moved with his family to Jerusalem where they are being hosted by a gracious family there. We were able to purchase a laptop for the family (esepecially important as their children had Zoom Classes) as well as groceries for the week and beyond. A beautiful gesture with real impact. Thank you Rabbi R and his class!

This can’t be normal!
It isn’t normal and yet…
It is normal now

It is all somehow becoming normal….at least from this angle. Maybe that is a sign of resilience. Maybe it is a sign of hope. Maybe it is a sign of the subconscious instinct to survive – it is a coping mechanism. None of us can handle this much intensity and since we can’t control it, we temper our own response and feelings. Maybe it is some of all of those things at the same time and/or also not at the same time. Your guess is at least as good as mine….

About the Author
Avi Ganz is the program Director of Ohr Torah Stone's Yeshivat Darkaynu. He lives with his wife and five children in Gush Etzion where he plays the blues on his Hohner, and reminisces fondly of his days playing tackle football with the IFL.
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