Michelle Orrelle
Live & Learn

You asked

How am I?

Shaken to my core. Horrified. Heartbroken.

But I am one of the lucky ones.

I have my family near me. I am relatively safe in the center of the country. We have a mamad (safe room) that I can afford to stock, and I have more than one passport.

But I am staying here, and I am in it. Not what a girl who grew up in beautiful Sydney expected, where the biggest threat was being dumped in the surf, coming across a redback spider in the garden or getting too sunburned at the beach.

And so far the only balm to the pain in my heart and the fear in my gut was to volunteer today packing boxes alongside other mothers with children in the army, and community members – old, young and middle-aged – with family and friends who have been called for reserve duty. Basically everyone. Together we placed tons of donated supplies into boxes and added notes of love and support handwritten by local children who’d glued on glitter and beads and lollipops to boost morale. The boxes were taken to cars standing by to drive north or south to families and soldiers who need them.

They will drive through cities and towns that are so quiet because everyone is away fighting or staying inside close to shelters. They will pass through roadblocks and checkpoints on the way and when they hear a siren announcing incoming rockets, they’ll dash out of the car, lie flat on the road with hands over their heads waiting for the boom of the iron dome interception.

And while I was packing, I got a call from a woman I don’t know at my synagogue who wants to bring me a cake on Friday. When I asked why, she said she’d signed up to bring baked goods to families with soldiers doing their mandatory service now, to show their love and support as well. Wow. Just wow.

What can you do?

We are in this together and every email, text and call we get from family and friends around the world is a well-placed hug. Every donation lets us put something else in the box to send.

Let’s keep going.

Am Yisrael Chai.

About the Author
Michelle is an Australian Jew who moved to Israel in 2004 with her three US born sons, and British-born, Israeli-raised husband. She is the co-founder of Crew 972 animation production company, Director, Arizona-Israel Trade and investment Office, Residence Event Manager for Australian Ambassador to Israel, and guides at ANU Museum of the Jewish People.
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