Who has time to think about war?

My family moved here August 1990. Sadam was threatening war, our family in Canada was begging us to leave Jerusalem very soon after we arrived. And we stayed. We experienced pooping in a bucket (OK, maybe just me – uch), wearing gas masks with plastic bags (OK, maybe just me – uch – I cut the bag off after a few days/weeks) and waiting every night for the siren to go sit in the sealed room which happened to be my parents’ bedroom.

We’d sit there, sometimes fall asleep (especially the first night when we spent hours there) and just wait for the clear siren to sound.

I recently met someone who was in charge of the sirens then. Talk about an interesting job.

I went to the supermarket with my sisters a few days into the war before we knew the drill; the sirens happened every night and only at night. We’d wait up for them and then go to sleep. So my mother told us that if the siren sounded – we walked right by it between our home and the store – we should drop the groceries and run.

Not a fun experience!

Well, until it was.

Being in Jerusalem was a huge bonus during the Gulf War. We knew very quickly that almost definitely nothing would fall in Jerusalem (of course the horrible Intifada was to follow which hit Jerusalem hard but let’s not cloud the issue with facts). So once we figured that out, we actually had a lot of fun. Frequented empty restaurants. Walked the tourist-free streets which was a little sad but also nice and quiet. And we missed school. I was 11 years old. Is there anything better?

It was our first year in Israel and for some slightly crazy reason, my parents stayed around. Crazy because idealism leads to seemingly crazy decisions.

Today a picture is going around online that shows how threatened we currently are here in Israel by all our neighbours, near and far.

My sister Devora just wrote all of us sibs and parents asking us if we weren’t concerned about war, considering it seemed the country was in a buzz over this possibility. And one after the other we all replied the exact same way. We were subconsciously ignoring it, very focused on our own day-to-day lives, not actually thinking about the fact that this might matter.

But with enough stimulation of this thought online, we were each starting to think about it a bit.

For example, it did cross my mind that maybe I should:

  1. Shower
  2. Poo (don’t want another one of those experiences)
  3. Buy water
  4. Move in with my parents

I already have a gas mask since I drove to Bat Yam many a moons ago with my mom and around 10 teudot zehut (ID cards) and picked up around 20 masks for the whole family.

So what now? Back to work? Off to the grocery store for water?

I guess back to work for now. Hopefully our friendly neighbours can wait.

About the Author
Deena writes about life, relationships and her beloved Jerusalem. She organizes "Jerusalem Encounters" and shares hand-picked cultural events in her online calendar, Things to do in Jerusalem.
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