Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mara Made Aliyah Now she Writes About the day

Cousin Mara fell in love with Israel and Tom and made aliyah.
Last week she and I had dinner in a cafe in Jerusalem. I made sure the restaurant was, as instructed, 90 seconds from a shelter. 

This is her most recent note home. She said I could share.

Hi All - 

The first thing I did this morning was roll over and check the news to see if the names of the 13 Israeli soldiers killed yesterday were published.  I nervously skimmed the names hoping not to see my friend's brother, who was in the same unit.  And it was a strange reality because while I sighed for relief that he was not listed, I knew those names were brothers to someone else, sons to grieving mothers, someone else's father, loving husband.  

On my drive to work, only sad songs played on the radio, still interrupted by announcements of falling rockets.  Everyone in my office, along with the rest of Israel, has the news up on their computers and nervously click "refresh" in case there is something new, more soldiers down, perhaps a cease fire, terrorists found, tunnels leading from Gaza to Israel discovered.  

This is life now.  Automatic away messages reply to our emails from people called to reserve duty, not sure whey they will be back.  The 8 o'clock news is filled with heart-wrenching eulogies from 10 year-old sons saying goodbye to their fathers and clips of soldiers, now of blessed memory, playing their guitar and making their friends smile.  There was even a post on Facebook asking people to do a mitzvah and come to the funeral of a "lone" soldier from Texas who made aliyah without his family, so his parents don't fly in from America to arrive at an empty funeral.  The message went viral and there will probably be 10,000 people in attendance.  

There is always an empty pause after you ask anyone how they are doing, unsure if you give the truth.  And the woman at the grocery stores not only says "have a good evening", but she throws in, "and I hope it's a quiet one too".  The only way I can explain the atmosphere is, it just feels heavy here.  Everything.  

In the meantime, there will continue to be anti-Israel riots in France, Denmark, Chile and England, a "die-in" staged in Boston, and perhaps the scariest of all, anti-Semitic marches springing up all over Germany - the largest one planned for this Friday in Berlin.  

Oy...I wish I could send a happier note, but I suppose I'm a bit bummed out today.  I just wanted to share the atmosphere, thoughts and feelings here.  John Kerry and Ban Ki Moon came for a visit, but the Backstreet Boys and Neil Young canceled their concerts this week.  

If anyone is looking for a good website in English, to get updates, you can check out Times of Israel or YNet   

Sending lots of love from over here,