July 18, 2014


Marriage proposal on the Gazan border.
Hamas has been firing rockets at the Israeli civilian population for eleven days now. Over 1,000 rockets have been launched into Israel to date. The sirens blare and people run for their lives. Sderot, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Be'er Sheva and many other communities in southern Israel are on constant alert with Red Alerts going off every few minutes.

Miraculously, there has been just one fatality and a few injuries. With over three million Israelis in range of Hamas rockets, this is nothing short of a miracle.  

Just yesterday, as Amir and I were on Ahuza doing errands, the Tzeva Adom blared. We did not know where the nearest safe room was so we tucked down a stairwell below street level. Looking around, we foolishly realized that the opening was southward-the exact direction of incoming rockets. But with 90 seconds to hide, there was no time to find another secure spot. A woman, who had been out jogging, joined us. And then an old man in his undershirt came down. A moment later, his elderly wife tried to make her way down the steps.

“Careful,” we all said. Most of the injuries from these rockets have been a result of elderly people falling as they run.

“Hamas timed it for the six o’clock news,” the woman in the work-out gear commented, glancing at her Garmin watch.

The siren stopped and an eerie silence followed. We nervously eyed each other and craned our necks upward to a soft blue sky. Then we heard it. Boom. Boom. Boom.  My heart raced. It was very close, somewhere up there right above us. After a few seconds, the old man in the white undershirt laughed and said, “Who wants to come to my house?” He left and we all followed, eyes to the sky. I saw nothing.

Within a few seconds, the pace on Ahuza Street picked up. Cars zoomed, trucks honked and women pushed their babies in strollers. Customers were already in line to pay at SuperPharm. Where were they just now, I wondered, imagining them strolling down the diaper aisle deciding between Pampers and Huggies as the siren blared outside.

I walked into the wine store and saw thousands of glass bottles crowding the shelves from floor to ceiling. A chill went down my spine. This would not be a good place to run for cover.

The owner of the wine store waxed eloquent. “Why are most Israelis not saying tehillim (psalms) after each rocket lands without harming anyone? This is the work of G-d. It is obvious.”

And true. The fact that we are able to calmly incorporate this into our daily routine is also a miracle. Where else in the world would people manage to live like this day in and out? 

Love conquers all, or so it was at the Gaza border a few days ago. A creative man from B'nai Brak decided to propose marriage right at the Gazan border. Excited soldiers cooperated with the idea and even helped him make a sign. He got down on his knees, and to the delight of all, she said "Yes!"

Some people are acutely aware of the daily miracles in this country. A friend of mine emailed me a miracle list she collected over the week:

Kibbutz Sufa - An IDF spokeperson reported that on Thursday at 4:30 am, thirteen terrorists emerged from a tunnel 250 meters inside Israel. They were crawling on the ground, headed to the sleeping inhabitants of Kibbutz Sufa when they were spotted by the army.

Ashdod - A rocket fell in a gas station that held 35, 000 liters of gasoline. No explosion.

Gaza - Israel has been supplying Gazans with water and electricity for years. As Israel has a heart and would not cut off the supply even though Hamas does not pay its bills, Gaza’s own rocket hit an Israeli power station, plunging some 70,000 houses into darkness from damage by their own rocket.

Be'er Sheva - Kids were playing in a football court , and a rocket fell right there right after they left. Not far from there, another rocket fell by a gas balloon and it didn't explode.

Eshkol - A rocket fell in a kitchen right before the family went in.  Nothing happened. 

Negev - Young girls went outside and a rocket fell in their room right after they left.

Near Jerusalem - A rocket fell on a balcony of a family and did not explode.

Holon - A rocket "missed" a child by a split second.

Nes Tziona - A rocket fell on a highway full of cars. No one was hurt.

More then 1,000 rockets have been launched at us in the last 11 days. The Iron Dome (Kipat Barzel) shot down 150 of them. The rest (around 850 rockets) miraculously did not hurt us.

I told a friend of mine about our encounter with the Tzeva Adom and he shared another recent miracle. 

A packed bus left Tsfat for Jerusalem last motzei Shabbat. As the bus passed an Arab village, it was stoned. Windows shattered and a Molotov cocktail landed right beside a baby. There was a thud but no explosion. The driver sped off to safety and when all was safe, he stopped the bus. The Chasidim jumped off and formed a circle, dancing and singing to Hashem for delivering a miracle.

When times get rough, true kindness is revealed. A young couple was supposed to get married in Sderot on Wednesday night. Due to the situation, the wedding was cancelled. When the rabbi of a local Hesder yeshiva heard the news, he made it happen. Much to the couple’s surprise and joy, the wedding took  place in the yeshiva’s bomb shelter. You can see the video in this article.

Said one guest, “This shows the great power of the Jewish people – while outside everything is gloomy and dark – we continue on and this is what builds the people and the land.”

We will continue to bring light to the world. My son is at sleepover camp in Israel with a few hundred other Israelis. Are they going to be denied a fun summer? Have a peek at this video that was made by the camp. I watched it and cried tears of happiness. 

Our children refuse to be brought down. They will sing, they will dance and they will be strong. They will love life to its fullest as they are the future of the Jewish people.

Rockets are still flying and now the IDF ground troops are in Gaza. We are filled with trepidation. My son’s best friends are in there right now; cute, sometimes goofy boys who played board games at our house on Shabbat and whipped about on scooters and joked and played basketball. They are now fighting to secure our future so we can continue to live meaningful lives in this most remarkable, miraculous land.  

Let’s not get used to the miracles or take them for granted. And let’s pray that our boys come home safely so we can live in peace.

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