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  • irissadeh

Words From Israel 3

Thank you very much for your warm comments and support. It is important for me, warms my heart and strengthens me a lot.

"What did you do for your birthday", a good friend asked me? I celebrated my birthday more than two weeks ago on November 7th. It seems like it took place in a parallel universe.

so, what did I do on your birthday?

In recent years, the family gathering on my birthday has been very important to me. My two adult children are married and the youngest also lives with her boyfriend outside the home. Family gatherings, really of all of us, have become rare and special. For several years now we've even been going for the weekend, literally all of us together. The month of November will be the month with the best weather here in Israel. When I was a child, I celebrated my birthday in the winter. Over the years the weather has warmed up, global warming, etc. and in the last decade it has been very pleasant and sometimes even warm.

But this year we are at war, the abductees are still in Gaza, the soldiers are still at the front and missiles are falling on us. I try my best to maintain my personal resilience, thinking that if I am teaching people to be more resilient than I should start myself. Despite this, I find myself listening carefully to every motorcycle that passes by on the street - is it an alarm? Do you need to run somewhere? These days the number of missiles falling on us has decreased, we go down to the shelter once every two or three days and not every day. I'm trying to get back to some kind of routine - yoga classes, business meetings, initiation of new projects and meetings with friends.

And I don't "get used" to alarms because you can't really get used to them. After two days without an alarm, I forget they existed and then this sharp siren surprises me. one day, towards the end of the yoga practice, there is an alarm. We are in a complex head position, leaning on a chair with blankets around. "There is a minute and a half to reach the shelter" I say to myself and hear the boom of a fall. One of the yoginis got scared and got out of a bad position, fell on her head. Looking to check what's going on, she's fine - we go to the protected area and hear at least 4 missiles fall - quite close. One of the practitioners was a pilot in the army explaining to us what is happening, now we hear a fighter jet now the missile interception system - this does not reassure me.

On Friday evening we prepare for the family dinner. This time my father-in-law is with us and my young daughter Naomi arrived early to help with the cooking - her boyfriend has been drafted for over a month and stays in the army on the weekend. At 6 o'clock in the evening we finished cooking, Tal is resting at 7 o'clock the guests will arrive, Tal's sister, her husband, and a good friend. We talk lazy conversation about the situation because you can't really talk about anything else these days . An alarm . The amazing Naomi gives a hand to my 82-year-old father in law and leads him gently into the protected space. I'm going to wake up Tal from his late afternoon nap. He got up from the alarm confused looking for the shoes. In the protected space smells of cooking, a strange combination of people in home clothes and some in Shabbat clothes. Sitting on the stairs with us the neighbor couple, the philharmonic musicians and their 14-year-old son, guests of the neighbors on the second floor who came for Shabbat dinner and us. I'm thinking - that's not how you should live!

People around me fight all the time. Even in places that are supposed to be friendly, reserved, protected. For example, there was a big fight among friends who were with me in the army, which led to the departure of the WhatsApp groups and thus the departure of the group in general. We have been friends for many years, when we were young, we lived together in the kibbutz, so there were quite a few value arguments. Since almost 40 years have passed, people have married, divorced, started families, magnificent careers, some of us are already grandfathers and grandmothers. Just a few days ago we were 10 friends in the cemetery at a a memorial service for the son of one of the friends who was killed on the very first day of the war. We cried together. And here we are again fighting over values - a hard and painful fight.

Another fight I witness takes place in the union I belong to. A small dispute that turns into a "world war". Slamming phones, disconnecting. "Everything is very sensitive, people are on their tips of the nerves," explains a friend - a therapist in her profession. I see more and more fights and I'm sad again - don't we have enough aggression now? How can the situation be improved?

On my birthday I get hundreds of calls and messages. Facebook enables the platform of connecting acquaintances and friends from around the world who will come this way for me to say happy birthday. I'm excited and overwhelmed and can't contain the quantities. A phone call from the girlfriends who are still in Portugal - singing happy birthday - makes me happy and brings me to tears of excitement, tears of frustration and sadness, in a normal world I would now be there now - with them. Despite the excitement, I find it difficult to collect myself. What should I celebrate on this birthday? Grieving families some of whom I know, abductees that no one has heard from for weeks? Missiles that fall on us and with great luck miss. Hostile global media? Horrible stories about rape, in addition to the kidnappings and killings, anti-Semitism that hurts in many parts of the world? What is there to celebrate?

I meet with friends - colleagues, some of whom I haven't met for more than six months. Between father's hospitalization, the trip to Munich, the return to the war, months passed. The day before the birthday I go to my friend-colleague, she lives a 10-minute drive from my house. We want to think together about a workshop that is suitable for this period for organizations. At the first traffic light there is an alarm. I turn to a small street near buildings with the aim of entering one of them into a protected area. "I have a minute and a half" I say to myself, that's a lot of time the brain tells the heart. I arrive at the first building locked, in the second building the alarm has already gone off. A woman walks by and pulls me to the back of the building. "Come on, the intercom isn't working, my friend lives here, she explained to me" I go with her. I find myself for the next 15 minutes in the garbage room of the building (which turns out to be made of concrete) with a sobbing woman. It turns out that she left the house for the first time to drink coffee with a friend after a month and then she got stuck in the garbage room with me. We take relaxing breaths together and I almost die from the smell of garbage wondering between me and myself which is better. By the next alarm that day, I was already at the friends house.

I am looking for points of light to generate optimism and try to function and return to my work and life in general. I am looking for landmarks that will remind me of myself, that will remind me of the continuity of life. Everything happens now from one day to the next and I'm used to planning and preparing. On Sunday Adi, my yoga teacher calls and asks if I can give a workshop to the yoga teacher course on Wednesday. "Learn how to apply yoga in your everyday life." I find a lovely and intimate group, I'm excited. One of the participants testifies that she is "on edge" because her son is a soldier in the fighting, the other shares that her 12-year-old daughter is very anxious and is not ready to leave home at all. Th third yogini is without income since the beginning of the war, four weeks. Each of us chooses a goal from the world of yoga to work on - presence, flexibility, balance, dealing with a crisis. After choosing the value and a workshop activity, we choose a small action that will be done "tomorrow morning".I feel some happiness after I hear their answers- "Seeing news only one hour a day" decides the one who chose to improve PRESENSE . "Leaving the house for two hours and going to the nature" writes to herself in the yogini who chose "Balance". After the workshop I decide to try to devote more time to my work to improve my balance.

What am I doing on my birthday? I'm very into music shows, but the shows haven't returned yet - still too many missiles and alarms. I see on Facebook that a singer I like is performing this week. I am not lazy and write to her. "Come on, she's inviting me, I'm performing at a hotel for misplaced" On Thursday, Tal and I are going to Tel Aviv, a 20 minute drive without traffic jams. In Israel there are more than 200,000 misplaced people now whose houses have been burned, destroyed or where they live is bombed all the time. The hotel in Tel Aviv is on the beach, not one of the most luxurious but with a wonderful view of the sea. The show is at 6pm in the afternoon - because in the evening there are rockets. Sitting in the lobby, next to us is a couple glued to the phone and on the other side a family with three children dressed in pajamas - the parents look exhausted. On the other side of the lobby, a group of older women in slippers, knitting and talking. Leah Shabat, the singer tries to encourage - to sing more popular songs. The eyes are sad, the singing is moving.I feel hope and sadness at the same time.

Towards my birthday it is clear to me that I will not do anything. The date November 7th is declared a day of national remembrance - exactly one month has passed since the massacre. According to Judaism, the stages of mourning are week-month-year.After a month, the tombstone is unveiled in a memorial ceremony. During the day, memorial services are held for 1400 people who were murdered on this terrible day that will forever be remembered as one of the most terrible days in history.

These days I am extremely grateful, after many years of working with gratitude I now feel in my body this gratitude for what I have. Many people in Israel are doing good, giving voluntring. This is how I accompany the civil assistance center that was opened right in the synagogue to which we belong. On my birthday I decide to finish editing the video I shot, I send the video to our twin community in New York and share it with my community. I am grateful to belong to a country where the residents take care of each other, where human value is above all, where there is a mutual guarantee. And I am grateful to have friends around the world who help and a place in their home again and again.

On my birthday, Tal still convinces me to go out in the evening, just to meet friends to drink a glass of wine. I make an appointment with a close friend and her husband - we a set to meet at 9:30pm . At 9:00 I finish teaching - today was a lesson on resilience for organizational consultants. Five minutes before the farewell at Zoom, an alarm sound. Five out of ten live in my area and clean up - go down to the shelter again, I try to count how many times - I have no idea? We are back home after 15 minutes, we don't give up, we go out, we raise a glass of wine that next year we will celebrate a more optimistic birthday.

On Friday my children arrived and I hugged them tightly and gave a special long hug to Arbel the 8 month old grandson and I felt, for the first time in a month, that things would be fine.



1 則留言


Dear Iris, It is hard to find the words to express the meaning I find in reading your posts. Thank you for your openness in sharing. There is no way to fully and truly know what it is to be in another's shoes, but sharing your experience as you live it has a way of spreading light and understanding. I hope it is a source of solace or sustenance for you.

Wishing you a luminous , peaceful Hanukkah, in whatever way is possible. Love and shalom, Ilene

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