words from Israel 2 November 5th 2023
Updated: Nov 25
Thank you very much for your warm comments and support. It is important for me, warms my heart and strengthens me a lot.
After I sent the first letter, I received a lot of responses. Among other things, a friend asked me to add her to the "mailing list" honestly until then I didn't know such a list even existed. So here I am writing again - writing helps me, allows me to share with you what is happening to me and give words to the feelings that exist in me.
3 weeks since I returned to Israel from Munich, I feel like a year has passed, the days are very intense and strange. We entered a time of "emergency routine" this week. This pair of words doesn't connect to me at all - how can a routine be an emergency? And how can an emergency be routine? Nothing here now is out of the ordinary! But I know that a (certain) routine needs to continue for physical and mental health.
The first alarm that was heard in my area after I returned (which intercepts less missiles than other areas) was at the beginning of last week. After motivational talks with my son, I prepared an "emergency bag" that I am supposed to go down to the shelter with (or leave there) in this bag there is water, canned food for one day and a book. There should also be a portable charger and a radio without power in case the power system collapses. The goal is to prepare for a prolonged stay in the shelter. It hasn't happened here yet, but in other places in Israel it exists daily. The arrival time at our shelter = a minute and a half are considered generous. When the siren started, I checked if I could get to the shelter at that time and it was fine. In the shelter, I found two neighbors sitting on chairs, each with a dog on his lap (the dogs are a little scared and shaking), other neighbors with their 14-year-old son, and a neighbor who seemed to be on his way to a soccer game. Before I entered the shelter, I wrote on the family network that I was fine for fear of not being absorbed in the concrete.
There were at least three loud explosions that sounded quite close, and we waited a few more minutes before getting out of the shelter. The descent to the shelter was at a "convenient" time in the afternoon in the middle of a Zoom call which symbolized in a certain way a return to normalcy. But what if there is an siren at night? So, I will be less agile and focused. So that night I slept with my clothes on, in case there was a siren, but I got up with them on in the morning. The next day I gave up the clothes and put a dressing gown near me in case of a night sirens.
One of the problems with war is that the challenges that are created do not eliminate other problems that in any case exist in the world such as diseases and accidents. So, my father is still hospitalized - I come to visit him in the hospital, nothing has changed, maybe the situation has gotten a little worse. He is unaware of the fact that there is now a war and that we may at any moment try to carry the hospital bed to the shelter. (Where is the shelter there anyway??)
On Monday I am organizing, with a few other organizational consultants, a "How are you?" Zoom session to the members of the association. I have been in the management of the Association for the Promotion of Organizational Consulting in Israel for two years and our goal is to provide a professional response to organizational consultants. The conversation is very open and brave, people are confused, sad, grieving and very worried about their income. At the beginning of the war, the economy functions in a survival mode and many services are offered as donations by civilian voluntary bodies. On the other hand, there is an apology and feelings of guilt for the thought of making a living at such a difficult time. One of the things that helps for me and probably for others too is to simply give these concerns a place and talk them out.
On Tuesday evening I teach a yoga class. Before we flew to Munich I taught some yoga and now teaching yoga feels like a call to help people maintain balance and healing. I am joined by a young man who plays the guitar during the lesson. The group completely devotes itself to the process - me too. After class I get a hug from two women I don't know. I helped them breathe again after two weeks!
On Wednesday I join two meetings of organizational consultants, almost three weeks have passed since the start of the war - the economy is shut down - no energy, no mood, people don't sleep at night, lots of anxiety, physical effects of stress and deep worry. What will be next? says my friend, a known consultant with a full diary. This is our peak period! Lots of workshops, management support, mergers. On October 7, everything stopped! How will we make a living?
On Thursday I am going to Jerusalem. My daughter is still in the reserves (and we don't really see the end) and her wife works full time. Arbel, the 7-month-old grandson, is happy and laughing. I pray that the situation will not affect him and that he will be able to maintain innocence and joy.
On Friday they are setting up an exhibit in front of my house with the aim of raising awareness for the return of the abductees. The exhibit is a long table ready for Friday night dinner and next to it empty chairs for the 220 abductees. Next to the table are empty baby chairs and a children's table - all of these are waiting for the abductees to arrive. As some of you know, my husband and I belong to an egalitarian conservative community, and we hold a family dinner every Friday evening in honor of Shabbat. There are many people in Israel who are completely secular and yet the family meal on Friday is a kind of consensus. The abductees did not attend three family meals.
On Shabbat at the synagogue, they added a prayer for the return of the abductees, I devote many of the actions I do to raising awareness of one of the abductees who is a distant relative. The kibbutzim where the terrorists arrived today are peaceful places. A friend tell about his best friend who was kidnapped to Gaza. A 72-year-old woman who moved to southern Israel 30 years ago to help Palestinians with transportation for medical treatment in Israel. He says that he spoke to her while she was hiding in a shelter and heard the kidnapping live over the phone. Since then, he has not slept at night - three weeks.
On Thursday, some friends from the folk-dance meet. We have been dancing together every week for 30 years. Dancing makes us happy, empowers and protects us. This time I don't feel like dancing, it's not the time yet. I find myself facilitating a mini-workshop and asking each of the members what helps to maintain resilience these days? The friends talk about concern for the children who are now fighting in the army, anxiety to leave the house, smells and sights that come up in the night from previous wars. What helps me stay resilient now? It seems to me that first and foremost friendship, yoga is also to teach and learn. And sometimes I break down.
The weather didn't hear that there was a war here. The air is pleasant, the waters in the sea are warm and there are no waves. Revital and I go to swim trying to make some sense. I to Kimberly, my friend who was one of the first corona patients. I remember Kimberly sharing with us her thoughts while feeling bad. This gives me inspiration to continue writing and sharing my life now.
Please don’t feel you need to write me or respond.
Love to all
(picture- NEOM uplash)