I’m not there now.
I’m not home on Kibbutz Nirim, where the Red Alerts are blaring. I’m visiting family abroad, dealing with complex situations here of loved ones growing old; of dear ones dying. Of trying to give of my time and patience in mega-doses. The price paid by those of us who made Aliya so many years ago, without the understanding that down the road, when those who brought us up, the ones who loved and nurtured us, they, themselves will need more help than we can provide when they become old and frail. We didn’t understand the significance of not being close enough to share in the reciprocal labor of love which our older relatives deserve.
And even now, I’m here but not totally. I’m here, but, with one eye on the reports and messages coming over from home. Watching closely as the fire arson and violent Friday demonstrations escalate into reciprocal retaliations of rocket attacks-targeting of tunnels-rocket attacks-bombing of Hamas strongholds…. 31 rockets were shot into Israel while citizens were in sleep-mode, 6 of which were downed due to their estimated target of exploding in highly populated areas. The rest exploding in unpopulated areas, causing no physical damage for triggering trauma to one extent or another for all those who hear the reverberations of the explosions.
I sat here, across the world at dinner, as one after another of the Red Alerts sounded on my phone. I stewed here, thousands of miles away, knowing that my friends, my neighbors, my home were under attack. As my family ran for their safety in the Gaza Envelope, I kept darting out of the communal dining room of this assisted living community I am visiting, to check the different news channels, the whatsapps: witnessing from afar and helpless as my daughter and grandbabies back home on the border, are having a sleepless night. As if my vigilance could somehow protect them.
I went to the Friday night services, eventually shutting down the phone completely, since the Red Alert incoming rocket warning app overrides “silent mode” on the phone. Towards the end of the service, after the congregation said blessings of healing for the ill, the rabbi asked if anyone else had any requests. I raised my hand and stood amongst the elderly crowd, some of whom are no longer capable of navigating their own surroundings, while others are still sharp as a whip and try to stay up to date with current events. Although I’m not much of a believer in religion in a traditional sense, I asked him to please say a prayer for the people and children in Israel who live on the border, and are under rocket attack, having a sleepless night. And as he immediately had everyone turn to the prayer for the safety of Israel, the congregants following in response, I wept. I wept out of worry for my family, friends, home…but I wept sitting in a room of people so far away from our realities, who care and pray for us. And love the people of Israel
Even now, with the early morning east-coast urban American Saturday morning sounds floating up to my window, the other part of my being is at home, where I know that the noises they are hearing are so very different: explosions from more attacks on Gaza and getting messages to remain close to their saferooms in expectation of more rocket fire…. and now… more Red Alerts.
I’m not there now, but part of me is.
Life on the Border. Just thought you would want to know.