Monday, July 31, 2006

Eliyahu Hanavi Story

Have you ever heard those Eliyahu Hanavi (Elijah the Prophet) stories where someone showed up at exactly the right time and helped out and then disappeared?

One of those stories happened to me today and I'm waiting to read it in a religious newspaper or parsha pamphlet. I was walking down Jaffa Road in the direction of the Old City of Jerusalem. I had just been out for a walk to refill my Easy Park device so I wouldn't have to find change for the meters. Suddenly a car full of religious Jews honks and asks me how to get to the Western Wall. I walked into the street and explained it to them. They were refugees from the north and didn't know Jerusalem at all, they explained. I smiled at them and said I was also from the north. They had a full car, so I didn't ask for a lift, even though I was going in the same direction. I continued walking and noticed there was a lot of traffic in the direction I sent them. I walked into the old city through Jaffa Gate at the same time as they did and they again honked and asked how to get to the Western Wall. I told them where to go and where to park and how to get to the wall. The woman looks at me and said, didn't you just give us directions over there? I replied yes. She asked, how did I get here so quickly. I smiled and disappeared around the corner.

no media reports

The media has gone completely silent on any action up north since the rockets on kiryat shemona were reported false this morning.

However, we have earwitness reports that there were loud booms in both Maalot and Nahariya. It seems like either the military censor or the media have decided that this ceasefire is 2 sided.

This puts the people in the north in a bad situation because they are both getting bombed and no sympathy.

I will probably be going to work tomorrow and then up north to try and get an accurate situation report (as well as pick up some stuff that I forgot last time.)

nope. boom

There was a boom.
Apparantly, No ceasefire on their side.

spoken too soon?

I may have spoken too soon against the government decision to stop firing, as this may have been some sort of secret ceasefire agreement. I just spoke with Maalot and they haven't heard any booms yet today, though they were sent down to the bomb shelters at 10. The rockets that fell on Kiryat Shemona were reportedly false (huh?).

Lets hope that we can go home for shabbos.

Docs Wife

Shabbat was very noisy, so yesterday I took the day off and went with the doc to work and sat in an airconditioned office and heard muffled booms, after that I really did feel more relaxed.
To-day there is an eerie silence, most of the people here have left so there is not the usual traffic and people noises, it is weird. 48 house off. Do I get 48 hours off too? Or are they importing more weapons and re-grouping at my expense? Am I a sitting duck??
I am reading strange things like the building in Kfar Kana collapsed four hours AFTER the bombing. The building had disabled kids in it? It was the same building we bombed in Grapes of Wrath, do they use this place to store and fire rockets at us and put children in it? Is it possible?

stopping for 2 days?????

Israel announced today that they will not bomb Lebanon from the air for 2 days pending investigation of the Kfar Kana incident.

Does the government know we're at war? What the hell are they thinking?

This will give them time to import more weapons through Syria without having to worry that their truck might get bombed. This will endanger the ground troops because people who don't know how to fight are running the country.

The next story should be "Hizballah to weigh actions after regretting hitting Nahariya hospital.", but that's not going to happen.

On the same note, the first officer has refused to serve in Lebanon because it goes against the values he was raised with. The values he was raised with probably include walking to the gas chambers with his hands behind his back because he's Jewish. Who knew that the secular could be such Ghetto Jews.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

hospital pics

We have exclusive pictures of Nahariya hospital sent to us by our man on scene, known as the Doc.

kfar kana

We wiped out Kfar Kana. More then 60 dead Lebanese people.
We warned them to get out and stop shielding militants and they ignored us. Reminiscant of the time we warned the brits to get out of the King David and then blew it up. I guess they haven't learned the lesson that if there is even a bag on the floor that nobody claims you avoid it. Even more so when you get warned. The reason they haven't learned this is because people are not trying to randomly kill their civilians as they are to ours.

Reports are that a rocket was fired from Kfar Kana. People of Kfar Kana, you didn't stop a rocket being shot at my home and now I hope you all rot in hell. There is not an innocent among the dead. The children who were killed were being raised to kill, they were taught that Israeli blood is cheap and therefore like the ben sorer oomoreh, who didn't do anything specifically to deserve death, they are killed to prevent them from killing us in the future.

Lebanese people: We don't want you dead, we just want to return to our homes. Live with us in peace and we'll stop bombing your villages. If not, we'll throw shoes at your graves.

almost over

It looks like the spiritual and diplomatic tracks are heading in the same direction.

I just heard that R' David Abuchatzeira, a noted kabalist (a real one not from the kaballah center) in Nahariya, and Condaleeza Rice, the US secretary of state, both said that this will not go on past Wednesday (without consulting with each other). Nasralla (of Hizballah) has apparantly not he ard this report yet and he is planning on putting more Israelis into bomb shelters. We are happily considering going home either before or after shabbos, though we are going to wait until it is actually kid-friendly as opposed to the politicians and rabbis telling us it is over.

I just got confirmed reports that the katyusha did a whole lot of destruction to Nahariya hospital. Shabbos was very very loud up north this week.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

after shabbos update

Shabbos was very nice. We spent it with the entire Israeli family and my parents who are visiting.

I haven't seen it reported yet, but I heard that the Nahariya hospital was hit over the weekend. Nothing critical and all their main operations are under ground. I then heard a second report that it was not the Nahariya hospital but the Acco hospital. I didn't know that Acco had a hospital. I haven't spoken to the doc yet, but I think we're talking about the Nahariya hospital.

A resident of the north was caught speeding at 198 KMPH in a 90 zone. They probably would have let him off but he already had 18 tickets against him recently.

The T-shirt sales are starting. I will try to put our designs on other products as I have time.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Docs Wife

Went to check on Tookey after its unfortunate experience with the window, the cat and fridge. Tookey appeared to have lost his head and one leg, I called "Tookey" and its head rotated like something from the Excorcist then its leg came out of somewhere. Do birds do Yoga? I hear they are doing Yoga and getting their nails done in Beirut goo for them....Shabbat Shalom

refugee update

We had to evacuate the apartment we were in until now because the people who live there came back. Until The end of the month we are located in the Jewish Quarter in the Old City in a place my parents rented. It is a small apartment right in the big square across from the Churva shul (under construction). This has got to be the noisiest place in Jerusalem, the noise generally stops around 3:30 AM and starts again at 5. At the end of the month we are moving into a place in the Baka neighborhood, from which we will hopefully be able to return home.

Docs Wife

The last blog was too serious. MY LAST TEN MINUTES:
I am making zatar sweet potatoes for Shabbat, turn on the oven, get the potatoes, Boom Boom Boom run to the miklat, get ANGRY I am cooking how dare they attack me just now...I came back upstairs and wondered why is it so hot? Oh yes the potatoes, put them in the oven. There is an announcement on the P.A. system he says :Shabbat Shalom, BOOM! gooooo toooo the rest is lost after he takes off at 80 kms an hour. The bird was tweeting loudly during all this and I looked at him,her, it and realized that I had changed its cage for Shabbat and not closed the door properly and it is sitting on top of its cage, the cat licks her lips and attacks, the bird wedges itself down the side of the fridge, I hear myself yelling at the cat "don't eat the bird" I move the cat and pick up the bird UGH and stuff it back in the cage. Why am I so stressed! Time for a whole bar of chocolate, Bye Shabbat Shalom and Shechet (Quiet).

Docs Wife

We are being katushya'd again, time for a break. Yesterday someone called up and told me her husband is going "up" and could I make come cookies? well, two hours and a big shoe box later I had enough cookies to feed an army.
I am cooking for Shabbat, just the two of us unless someone else turns up. I put up a huge flag facing North just to say "up yours" Hetzballah. Doc just called to see how I am and told me to keep my" head up and chin down".
U.N. is yelling about having some of their people killed but remember these are the guys who FILMED the last abduction and kept quiet for a year about it while the parents of the men worried. U.N. used to have bunkers just north of us and after Hetzballah shot rockets at us sheltered them, now they are being used as sheilds..go figure. While I am at it they are also using Christian Arabs as sheilds in the villages that have amunition storage so I am very sorry but if it comes to my soldiers having to in to "clean out" the area I think they should flatten the lot first so my kids don't have to worry about booby traps and stuff like that. I have no sense of humour to-day, sorry.
The birds are fine, trying to teach Tookey "Scotland the Brave" be he, she, it is really stupid and just tweets,

Thursday, July 27, 2006

the government hates us

We thought the government only hated West Bank and Gaza Strip settlers. Ynet is reporting that the cabinet has voted no to a massive ground offensive designed to wipe Hizballah off the map. The army came up with a plan to allow us to go home and the government decided that that was a bad idea. After all Galileans are settlers too.
I spoke with a soldier yesterday and he feels that there was a media bias against the ground offensive from the beginning. The media was against sending in ground troops and that was how they slanted their stories. Once we were in Lebanon already they made it seem like we had already won, to get the public against the idea of staying there. I don't know what their agenda is here, but the only way to win a war (as everyone knows) is to send in ground troops. Without that we'll start getting shellacked again in another 6 months.

If the government would support our troops the way the people support the troops, this would be a much happier country.

T Shirts are ready

Thanks to Two Ares for most of the t-shirt design. She put in a magnificent effort and we can now continue to support the Galilean Refugees buy buying t-shirts.

As an aside, we get a commission if you buy anything from zazzle after clicking on our link.

The back of the t-shirt sayd Galilean Refugee and then the blog address.

Be proud and support the Israeli defensive war effort.

pikiin is rocking

I just got a call from a lady in Pikiin who is trying to find a place to stay with her 6 children. Apparantly, the katyushas have been falling all around her house. One of them was so close that her son screamed shema yisrael and prepared to meet his creator. While Pikiin has not been in the news at all, that is because it is a small village and it gets included when they say a bunch hit open fields.

I amy have a place for them, I am going to call a lady who volunteered an empty apartment as soon as it is morning there.

Pikiin has a very rich jewish history, there has been a continuous Jewish presence there since the time of the second bais hamikdash (temple). Recently one of my co-workers fathers passed away and she told me that he was from the pikiin families. Recently, there has been only one Jewish lady living there and there has been a large effort to try and rebuild the community. A number of families from our village have bought houses and moved in. The population of the city is mostly Druze, and they are very friendly to the Jewish people.

A local legend is that the cave that R. Shimon Bar Yochai lived in when he was hiding from the romans is in Pikiin and people go there and light candles on a regular basis.

a trip to the front lines

I had planned on blogging on scene, but I was put under a lot of pressure to leave as quickly as I could by a woman suffering from panic.

I had a very nice trip up, my camera was on with the telephoto lens at maximum so that I could get a good picture of a missile streaking through the sky. I was actually hoping that they wouldn't shoot anymore missiles, but if they did, I wanted to get a picture of it. I was well prepared after a day at the office with 4 air raid sirens. It was a quiet trip up, I didn't see a missile or hear anything until I got home. I drove around the city a little bit first, it looked like a ghost town. The supermarket parking lot that was hit has already been patched. The flower shop that was destroyed is still destroyed. There was a metal fence with a hole in it, though that looks like it was from shrapnel, not an actual missile.
I went home and everything was normal. I took pictures of the kids rooms, so that they could see that they were still there.
The entire time I was there, there were constant booms. From what I understand most of them were our booms hitting them, but there were a number of louder booms which was them hitting us. From what I understand we got hit with another 30 yesterday. Compare this with the 66 missiles that hit Israel during the Gulf War. We have already absorbed over 1000 in this war.
I went for dinner with doc, his wife, and their son in law, the nurse's husband (Excellent lasagna with chocalte pudding cake for dessert, worth coming up just for that).

The welfare office asked me to take a single guy with me to Jerusalem and then they called and asked if I could bring a woman who was suffering from panic attacks and her two sons. They told me that her situation was serious, so I said I would make room. Then my cell phone stopped working and I lost everyone's phone number. It would still ring and show me who was calling, just none of the buttons were working.
The paniccy lady kept calling to ask when I was leaving already. I told her I had a number of things to do, and we would leave as soon as we could. But she kept calling and was completely paniced so I felt under pressure. I forgot a bunch of stuff, including bringing the chocolate to the docs wife :-(. I'll buy or borrow a pump for the air mattresses that we need in the next apartment we're moving to. Someone already said they would give us pillows.

I also didn't feel I had time to walk around handing out money to people in bomb shelters, so I called the local chesed organization and gave them a wad of cash and told them that it was donations from people in America that was supposed to go help people with extra expenses during this situation. He said he would make sure that it all got given out. (The chesed organization is 100% volunteer, so all the donations do go to the people who need it, without administrative commissions taken out).

I couldn't get in touch with the guy I had promised to take out because I couldn't get his phone number, so then I spoke with the welfare agency a couple more times while they tried to find him until I finally said "Die" ("Die" in Hebrew means Enough, so if you hear Israeli children yelling "Die" at you, they don't mean it in a death way.)

The trip home was unenventful. The paniced woman calmed down when we were out of firing range, or at least we were out of range of the farthest missile they've shot at us so far. I arrived at the apartment here around midnight and collapsed in bed.

After an afternoon back home, I've decided the booms don't really bother me at all, I iognored them, but it is impossible to have children living in that situation.
I also didn't find any good shrapnel or exploded missiles to bring home. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Two more hits

We were sent down to the bunker 2 more times today. It is amazing that I (or anybody else, for that matter) am getting any work done today. I guess you just get used to it.

When I get to Maalot later on today, I plan on handing out the donations that I have received so far, and I'll let you know how that goes. My plan is just to hand out cash to families with children and let them figure out what they want to do with it. Our living expenses have gone way up since we left home, and I know that others have as well.

I'm hearing plenty of stories about other refugee families. As an example there is a family of 8 (6 children) who are staying in a dormitory that has been opened up to refugees. They don't have any cooking facility so for a hot meal they have to go out to eat. They have gotten invitations at families in the community that they are staying in, but not every day. It is also very difficult for a self-providing family to completely give up their independence and rely on other people.

back at work going home

Yesterday was very strange for me, I didn't even see the computer. Picked my folks up at the airport and then we hung out with them for the better part of the day.

Today I came in to work in Haifa to take care of things that need my actual physical presence. It's amazing what can pile up while you are gone for a week. So far we've only been down to the bomb shelter once and the rockets hit North Haifa, though I didn't see the hit.

One of the guys from the office got pictures of the attacks a couple days ago, but he only has pictures of the smoke billowing up afterwards, none of the rocket in the sky.

This afternoon I'm going home to get some stuff, hopefully there will be quiet. I will continue to blog the situation throughout the day in Haifa.

Someone sent me a message that there is a get together for our community in Tel Aviv at the ganey Yehoshua in Tel Aviv. The message was bring food and children and have fun. Anyone from our community is invited.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

... a thought during todays attack on haifa

Israel cannot and has not come out and said to salaried workers residing in the areas near the Lebanese border that they will be renumerated for days they have missed at work. So what about salaried workers who have temporarily relocated? We are discussing half a month's salary by now and it gets bigger every day hostilities continue. My great hope that a new consensus will rise out of the ashes becomes illusionary when we have to be rich enough to shoulder our own personal burdens. This reminds me of an experience I had trying to earn a living in Jerusalem after I was released after a year's army duty. One of my jobs was working in the library/archives of the State Magistrate's Office and some distinguished veteran legal eagle told me he wished he could afford the luxury to do the job I was doing. In just the same vein I salute not the army and not the country but all somehow directly touched and related to current events who are doing their best without the slightest idea who will foot the expense. I would venture a guess that our beloved Finance Ministry would sooner give us free points and reduce our taxes than something responsible like say the equivalent of $500 per week for each employee without reference to his/her salary level. Since our country pays more per citizen than any other country for security, it seems logical to comprehend that we citizens within damage range have turned from being periphery residents into objects of war. The hard fact the government may or may not have asked itself is how much is each of us worth. Bunkerites of the North, unite.

Docs Wife

Had a great nights sleep last night, feel really good. I looked after my Grandaughter yesterday, we got pounded about four and I grabbed her and ran a few steps to the bomb shelter where she looked at me and said "Chocolate???"
Traintalk asked me to look after someones birds, they were outside his house unattended and I told him I really do not like birds but last night my dear husband went and kidnapped (Chicknapped) the birds and brought them here three are still alive and one laid an egg..I know how that feels.
Sunday I was really depressed what is battle fatigue? Do I have it? Yesterday I was busy with beautiful grandchild, to-day I am rested and ready to start a new day. Strange things are happening, I was checking the birds outside and an army truck pulled up and a big soldier came out with a cup and asked for milk. I gave him milk and offered him bread, breakfast cerial, anything? but he just wanted milk and off he went. May they go in peace and safetey.
The hospital has opened outpatients, I guess they need the money. Some people who live in Naharya in the top floors of apartments and work in the hospital have moved in to the hospital, it is much safer there.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Northern Nurse

Greetings from the front lines!

First report: the rock and rollings house is SECURELY locked. All you need to worry about is your milk trying to break out.

Ma'alot update: from 3 this afternoon until about 6 it's been rocking. Shelomi and Nahariya were attacked, so we were reminded to get to where we should have been. Ten minutes before four Ma'alot was hit 3 times, (rechov maale habanim, keren hayeson...or maybe kayemet... the first house on the right as you go to the mercaz from the shuk.) Cherfish...Hurfish... was hit, next to the kupat cholim..... according to ynet, one person lightly injured... according to eyewitness accounts, lots of blood and people freaking out. Guess it's the same thing, if you translate perspectives....

Kupat Cholim Meuhedet was work as normal for nowadays, the only difference being the staff hanging around the miklat area as much as possible....

Since all that excitement it has been, Thank G-d, quiet. My baby is sleeping in the miklat and I'm about to go pack up for yet another drive to the mercaz of the land to be reunited with my big, stoic, brave, beautiful, wonderful, darling daughters.

On that note, Major, Major kudos to the sister-in-law who is watching and taking care of my daughters, despite the fact that her husband got an emergecy call up to the army a few hours before shabbat.... REAL reports from what we hope is not the front line involve the fact that it's sunny and everything else is classified.

Hoping for a peaceful night......
the (current) northerners.

Northern Nurse

Greetings from the front lines!

First report: the rock and rollings house is SECURELY locked. All you need to worry about is your milk trying to break out.

Ma'alot update: from 3 this afternoon until about 6 it's been rocking. Shelomi and Nahariya were attacked, so we were reminded to get to where we should have been. Ten minutes before four Ma'alot was hit 3 times, (rechov maale habanim, keren hayeson...or maybe kayemet... the first house on the right as you go to the mercaz from the shuk.) Cherfish...Hurfish... was hit, next to the kupat cholim..... according to ynet, one person lightly injured... according to eyewitness accounts, lots of blood and people freaking out. Guess it's the same thing, if you translate perspectives....

Kupat Cholim Meuhedet was work as normal for nowadays, the only difference being the staff hanging around the miklat area as much as possible....

Since all that excitement it has been, Thank G-d, quiet. My baby is sleeping in the miklat and I'm about to go pack up for yet another drive to the mercaz of the land to be reunited with my big, stoic, brave, beautiful, wonderful, darling daughters.

On that note, Major, Major kudos to the sister-in-law who is watching and taking care of my daughters, despite the fact that her husband got an emergecy call up to the army a few hours before shabbat.... REAL reports from what we hope is not the front line involve the fact that it's sunny and everything else is classified.

Hoping for a peaceful night......
the (current) northerners.

Back to Work

traintalk's wife again.
Well as you will have gathered traintalk, myself and our kids moved to the Holy City. We are very fortunate in that we have an empty apartment to ourselves. Empty is the operative word - mattresses on the floor a garden table and chairs and the essential electric stuff. No television, no computer.
Today I decided to travel to Tel Aviv where I work. I decided it was time to do something "normal". It was fine in theory. I almost threw up on the way. Guess my nerves are more shattered than I thought. Maybe, it was hearing about the bedroom windows.
Our daughter has gone down south today for a meeting about her national service next year. So as well as worrying about friends at home and katyushas I can also worry about her and kassamim.
It's been a strange week. We are in Jerusalem but don't feel like doing anything. We've been out to buy the things we need but aren't in the mood for sight seeing. It's like being in a different world. I feel like I am walking around in a fog a bit like a zombie. I keep feeling like I am going to start crying. I feel safer in Jerusalem but feel guilty for having run away. I am supposed to be going to England in a couple of weeks to visit my parents. They are both in their late 80s and not in the best of health. I am beginning to feel guilty about that as well.
I guess I am not too coherent today but then I think that is just a refelction of the way things are.
May G. protect our soldiers and bring an end to our present war.

metulla evacuated

The residents of Metulla were ordered to evacuate for fear of major strikes by Hizballah. The mayor doesn't understand why.

people returning

Last night a couple people returned to the battle front to settle things. Water the grass, feed the birds, get new clothes,...

You heard from Train Talk, but he didn't mention that his windows had imploded due to a hit right nearby. He also said that daving (prayers) is being held in the bomb shelter now.

Moshe also returned and said it was like a ghost town. Nobody was on the road, nobody was on the streets. You can still hear the regular firing of katyusha rockets and the bang of our artillery.

I just heard a live report that Tzfat is pretty quiet at night. That might mean no direct hits instead of actual quiet. I heard in our village it started getting louder after 5. It could be that our village was the afternoon shift and Tzfat got the morning run.

I'm heading up Wednesday for a day of work and then to get some stuff from the house. It looks like we might be here for a while, so it is time to get a move on it. Hopefully I'm going to be meeting with some people this week on some business ideas I have been working on. I guess that's one of the advantages of being in the center of the country. The poeple I need to meet with are here.

iran resupplies Lebanon

The reports said that we could almost go home as Hizballah has already used up more then half of their supply. They didn't count on what we all knew would happen. Iran is replenishing their supply, according to Debka, by flying planes loaded with arms into Syria and then trucking them across the border.

It looks like Iran is trying to soften up the border first and then starting with Syria before actually launching any rockets themselves.

The reprots say that around 1 million north Israelis are in the bomb shelters now.

by: linguist in maalot

Saturday night I came back home to Ma'alot after a week of wandering from friends to friends, no more than two nights in one place. We are trying to organize teams of young people to clean up the shelters. Anyone interested please call 04 957 3706

Sunday, July 23, 2006

sirens and the muse

Left our new temporary dwelling at 5:45am and arrived in downtown Haifa around 8:30 for a day's work, first time since a week ago Thursday. Experienced three sirens and heard blasts and ambulances from our internal sheltered space. Later on this evening I plan on coming back to the bunker to take care of vital business including feeding our bachelor parakeet "MM" (full name protected) and maybe hooking up a radio to the timer along with a light for repelling unwanted guests and trying to keep MM happy. The major difference of course is the sirens and I wonder if the muse helps create the right atmosphere. Sometimes there's too much atmosphere as I discovered in a controversial "liberal" "modern orthodox" minyan for shabbat shachrit where the sexes seem to become android and I come to appreciate the creativity of Leonard Cohen and other raspy or otherwise "unbeautiful" shelichai zibur. It was like a Rod Serling Twilight Zone where the beginning is real nice and then the mendacity cuts in. Over and out until later and possible editing.

A time to live and a time to die...

I was reading koheles (kohelet (ecclisiatics)) yesterday. It is one of my favorite Jewish books because it gives such perspective into life. There were 2 parts that I focused on yesterday. The first part says, "There is nothing new under the sun." He goes on, you might think that something is new, but you are wrong, it always was here and it will live on after you.


The second part that I focused on was the part where he says there is a time for everything and then lists, a time to live and a time to die, a time to uproot and a time to plant... a time for war and a time for peace.
And as I read it a couple times and noticed the strange way it was actually written (in the original hebrew of course) I realized that he is saying that every time is the time for every thing. Right now, it is both the time for was and the time for peace, the time to kill and the time to heal. You may be able to choose only one of them, but it doesn't really matter. Sometimes you will be successful and sometimes you will fail. That is not as much dependent on the choice you make as much as the way you go about trying to accomplish it.
Right now we are choosing war but only for the sake of peace. Because when Lebanon isn't there anymore, there will be no more Hizballah shooting rockets at my children. The IDf went into som Lebanese village and either wounded or found a wounded woman (that is unclear). They took the woman and her son to Tzfat hospital to help heal her. On a mission where the goal is to kill, they also took the time to heal.

I feel that using all of these concepts together and seeing a single time for each one and making the correct choice is what ultimately gives fulfillment in life. I'm proud of our soldiers.

rockets rockets and more rockets

A lot of people who fled from their houses in the Haifa area are returning to their homes.

Haifa just got pummeled. I was in the middle of talking to a coworker on the phone when the air raid siren went off. I just checked the news and one person was killed in the assault.

Binyamina/Zichron Yaakov just had air raid sirens go off for the first time since the war started, though there were no reports of hits. Currently the train is only going as far north as Binyamina, they will probably cancel that train as well if there is a rocket in the area.

It looks like this will be going on for a bit longer then we had planned. My friend's brother was just called up in the reserves. I don't have a lot of experience with this, but I would expect that they generally don't call up the reserves for this type of incident if it is supposed to end in a couple days.

My brother's brother-in-law is a paratrooper on the front lines. As far as we know he hasn't been sent in yet.

Olmert says he thinks the government should help the northern residents. I'm fine with that.
I also think the government should help the southern residents who are getting the raw end of the PR deal right now even though they still have rockets crashing down in their communities from the Gaza strip.

We had a nice shabbos in jerusalem.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

two wounded

Immediately after shabbos, a coworker called and told me 2 people
were wonded in my town.
I couldn't find that report on the Internet, and it looks like 2 people
were wounded in the northern communities.
Not that that is any better, but thank god it wasn't in our village.

We had a relaxing shabbos in Jerusalem. I'll write more tomorrow.


I just spoke to my coworker again and she said it was definitely 2 people from our village. She heard from her brother who knows someone in intelligence (the same way that all news gets around Israel). I hope the wounds are light.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Docs Wife

I am still fine, actually getting used to this situation. We are going away for Shabbat so I changed the birds cage and since I had a newspaper I lined it with a picture from the front page, what a pity! it is Hassan Nasrallah, no political comments....
They just made an announcement, Announcers have to go to announcers school where they are told to put a bag over their heads before they make an announcment to make it completely inaudable. The announcement was MMMMMMPh.
Maybe we can go shopping. BOOM!, time for a chocolate break in the miklat.
I think the announcement was to go to the miklat! All quiet again. B"H. I am saying the Tehillim (Psalms) for the day then some extra when I am upset or scared, I am up to next Tuesday. Well I am off when to see the Ramat Beit Shemesh grandchildren and their parents when Doc gets back. Bye be well and safe....Shabbat Shalom

Docs Wife

Hi yesterday I had to fill my car with gas, usually it is an easy thing to do, I go to the gas bar and the attendant chats to me and fills my car for me. It was different yesterday, the place was empty, no attendant, how much money would YOU pay someone to sit at a gas station here just now. What do I do? I don't read Hebrew very quickly and all the instructions were written on the pump, as I was trying to read them a guy in a uniform came and helped me, behind him another sweaty looking man pulled up, as Mr Uniform was helping me Mr Anxious was telling us to "get a move on"..there are two groups here (me) I want a full tank because my Scottish blood tells me (a) there may not be any gas available tomorrow (b) It will be more expensive. The other group is Mr Anxious who wants a liter of gas to last for one day incase his car gets hit and blows up. Well Mr Anxious was finished well before us and started honking his horn, I was done but there was a pile of newspapers at the door so I picked one up, Mr Uniform told me they were yesterdays and what did I want it for, I told him a newspaper is the best thing to clean windows with and my house is CLEAN just now, Mt Anxious is now hysterical! I don't think he has found the calming effect of chocolate yet.

2 helicopters collide

Two apache helicopters collided in mid-air last night on their way to help the fighting near Kfar Bloom. Kfar Bloom has "separate" kayaking on the Jordan River, for religious people who don't want to see members of the other gender (un)dressed in bathing suits. They have different days/hours for men and women. Interesting concept.

4 soldiers have been killed in the fighting at Avivim and 8 wounded. The wounded were evacuated to the Ziv hospital in Tzfat. I found out that the Rambam hospital in Haifa was not hit as I reported a couple days ago. Another report was that the Ziv hospital was hit then, but apparantly it is still in working order.

Don't forget this is still a war on 2 fronts. While Hizballah is getting most of the publicity, the Gaza strip is still hopping. Kasam (primitive) missiles are being constantly shot at the people in southern Israel. The community of Sderot hasn't been able to safely leave their bomb shelter for about a month now. Keep them in your prayers as well.

In other (bad/ good...not sure) news the head of the mossad promised the arabs that he would release a large number of prisoners in exchange for Shalit, the soldier kidnapped in Gaza that started this whole incident. Negotiating under fire is a bad idea, but we do need to do anyting we can to bring our boys home. Will this cause more kidnapping attempts? Probably. We can only pray.

I don't think I will get back to the computer before Saturday night/sunday. (one of the problems being in exile).

Keep safe and be well.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

trying to infiltrate

There is heavy exchange of fire between hizballah and Israeli Defense forces on the northern border right now right by moshav Avivim. Generally when this happens, they are trying to cause a diversion so they can get some people to sneak across the border at a quiet spot. The IDF is well aware of this method and currently has soldiers constantly scanning the length of border trying to catch the infiltrators. While it is still possible for them to sneak in, we are hoping that they get blown away before that happens again.

Moshav Avivim is right on the border with Lebanon and it is a very interesting town. It is settled mostly by religious sefardim, but they don't have any religious services in the area so the kids go to non-religious schools and dress like secular Israelis.

We stayed there when we went away for an evening without the children and were very surprised to see all the adults dressed in the national religious, while the children were wearing belly shirts with multiple piercings and without covering their heads. I was really confused until a friend who works in the area explained the situation.

Now we see how important the education system really is.

the nurse friend adds her two cents from central israel

...just wanted to confirm to all concerned that the bakery is still standing. In the name of honest reporting we buzzed by on the drive out of Ma'alot to check out the reports. The flower shop across the street has been demolished, part of the bituach leumi building has scorch marks on it, and upstairs has a few holes going through. The bakery appeared untouched.

We'll be heading back up north on Sunday, with or without our kids depending on what's going on then.... Hopefully all will be quiet, calm, and back to normal routine.

donating to refugees

There are a lot of families who are now refugees because of the tragedy that has befallen northern Israel. We appreciate the donations that we have gotten and are encouraging people to continue to donate to this very worthy cause.

We are not a charity organization, and there is no tax benefit, but I guarantee that 100% of your donation will go to directly to refugees (and not only to us, there are people much worse off). I am looking into selling "Rock of Galilee" tee-shirts (This was doc wife's idea), as a fund raiser for this noble cause. Leave a comment if you are interested. The more people interested the sooner it will be set up.

meeting refugees

I just spoke with train talk and his wife (we're getting together for a bbq tonight) and they told me that their teenage daughter met her entire youth group (Bnei Akiva) in the center of Jerusalem last night. A boy pulled out a guitar and a girl pulled out a flute they put out a box that said help the Galilean refugees and raised money to help the victims. Kudos to them.
My wife ran into a bunch of people today from our village. One lady said she had put the kids outside in a little swimming pool when she heard a missile incoming. She grabbed the kids and ran inside and the boom was so loud she was sure it has hit the house. It had actually hit the neighbor's house. Too close for comfort, she finally evacuated with her family. She saw another lady whose husband works for the police in Haifa. I didn't see this on the news, but she said the main police station got hit, and now her husband has a few days off. I thought he worked in the courthouse, so it could be the main courthouse got hit and my wife misunderstood. It seems like our neighborhood is sustaining a lot of damage right now.

It is so important to continue talking to people who are refugees and encourage them. Be friendly, they are happy to talk. Don't shut them out because you think they want to be alone. They don't. And if you know of a family with kids, send toys over for them to play with.

meeting refugees

I just spoke with train talk and his wife (we're getting together for a bbq tonight) and they told me that their teenage daughter met her entire youth group (Bnei Akiva) in the center of Jerusalem last night. A boy pulled out a guitar and a girl pulled out a flute they put out a box that said help the Galilean refugees and raised money to help the victims. Kudos to them.
My wife ran into a bunch of people today from our village. One lady said she had put the kids outside in a little swimming pool when she heard a missile incoming. She grabbed the kids and ran inside and the boom was so loud she was sure it has hit the house. It had actually hit the neighbor's house. Too close for comfort, she finally evacuated with her family. She saw another lady whose husband works for the police in Haifa. I didn't see this on the news, but she said the main police station got hit, and now her husband has a few days off. I thought he worked in the courthouse, so it could be the main courthouse got hit and my wife misunderstood. It seems like our neighborhood is sustaining a lot of damage right now.

It is so important to continue talking to people who are refugees and encourage them. Be friendly, they are happy to talk. Don't shut them out because you think they want to be alone. They don't. And if you know of a family with kids, send toys over for them to play with.

video of hit

Thanks to the nurse and docs wife for their live on the ground updates from the bunkers. We have a special video taken right after the katyusha hit in an open field right outside of our village.

The doctor got this live coverage as he left to go to work at the hospital.

For some reason, I am feeling survivors guilt, or something similar, as I feel like I should be there in my house braving the missiles. But family comes first and we are very lucky to have a great setup in Jerusalem.

God is great and so are his people.

Late night part 2

I forgot to write what part of yesterday was a late night.

So after the meeting with the social worker we went back to the kotel (western wall) because my wife hadn't been there yet. We had a baby sitter until 12:30, who was recommended by our friends. We found the old city with little difficulty and met my sister in the square in front.

I went to the mens side and my wife and sister went to the women's side. I find the perek of tehillim (chapter of psalms) that I was looking for last time, the third one is how King David felt as he fled from his son Avshalom. Number 23 also seemed extra appropriate and as I uttered the ancient words "also when I walk through the shadow of the valley of death I feel no fear for you are with me" I had a greater understanding of the feeling that God is protecting us. Finally I read through the portion of Haazinu, the second to last in the Torah where Moshe appoints the heavens and earth as witnesses as he tells the good and the bad that can happen to the Jews.

They have redone a lot of the prayer area in front of the wall and you can look all the way down to the original base of the wall. The sense of history and emotion that overcomes you as you think of all that this wall has been through is almost unbearable. God has kept it here for us as a remembrance of what we once had. Touching those ancient stones causes a shiver to run down my spine.

When I got back, my wife was in tears. She was sitting there and heard someone else talking about what was going on in our village and how this person has relatives there who can't live. She was talking about all the things that were destroyed and the scary stories that people were going through. She couldn't listen anymore and walked away.

We then got very lost trying to find our way back home and got home exactly at the 12:30 time that the babysitter was supposed to be home.

late night

Yesterday afternoon we sent my children to a social worker to see how they were dealing with being refugees. She said that they all seemed mostly ok but she was very concerned about my son. They were talking about what happened and he told her a bunch of exciting stories which included a bomb hitting our house and destroying everything in his room. He was able to graphically desc ribe specific objects that were not in the drawer and they got blown up.

Part of that was because we had a number of loud house rattling blasts and we didn't let them upstairs for 4 days, while they slept in our room on the main floor. Part of it is because I encourage the children to have an active imagination and do not stop them when they make up stories about events. After every tiyul we go on to a historic site, my son goes back to his nursery and tells the whole class how he was part of the historic battle at the site we went and visited and that it happened that day and not in history. My son is fully emersed in the alternate reality that I posted about before the bombing started.

Last night they had a session for adults to talk about the situation. There were only 4 other people who showed up, all from the Jerusalem region. They had concerns about what to tell their children and how to deal with histyerical people from out of the country telling them the entire country is being attacked.
She asked how I deal with the stress, and I told her I normally didn't get stressed out until this happened. She asked how I dealt with this stress and I told her that I spent the morning with a big headache and throwing up, but now I am fine. She didn't seem to think that was a good way of relieving stress.

She did recommend that we don't get addicted to the news, which is a cute thought.

Today the family went to the Israel museum, which is free for children of the north and adults get a 50% discount.

Docs Wife

I think I am the only person left here, my daughter, the nurse left for a quieter place and I am staying because the Doc needs looking after. I am putting on weight, everytime I hear a boom and woosh I have something chocolate....send me chocolate....Last night was a bit loud, I made the mistake of getting up at 3;00 to look at the net and it told us that they were fighting at Rosh Haniqra, I lay in bed and listened for it to get closer. Time for a chocolate break...Ahhhh!
I am looking after a bird called Tookey he/it does not like carrots, I also feed the cats outside, this morning a dog walked passed the hissing cats to eat cat food, no pride when hungry I guess, it is not even chocolate covered cat food!

Now we have to watch for infiltrators, terrorists who walk over the border to get us, my house is locked up well, in the meantime the garbage is being picked heroes!!
Bye for now.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

the nurse friend reports....

The rumours aren't of the bakery itself being hit, rather, the kikar next to the bakery, and sorry Buchbut, the idol in the center of the kikar being destroyed. (....take out your wrath on the nations that don't know You... etc, etc,). There have been three reported ketyushot hits in maalot since three this afternoon. That one, another in the Sigaliot neighbourhood and some Matnas destroyed? All unconfirmed rumours, except for the sigaliot one, which landed by my co-workers house. She saw the shrapnel fly by, and is now gathering up her children and running to Lod. Smart person...
As are we, in another fifteen minutes, when I can close Kupat Cholim for the night. (Unless people start coming. Please don't!) We're planning on going to join our kids who are hanging out having the time of their lives in Modi'in.

Reports of a quiet night last night are false. There were booms all night, they just got a bit louder about five in the morning. Those of us on sleeping pills are oblivious.....

There's smoke in the air. Reports from 106 (we call hourly for updates) claim no injured, and light damage in ma'alot. Fire has been sighted in the wadi just after the gas station on the left as you drive from Nahariya to Ma'alot. Galildoc has a cool movie of it..... Now there's lots of small planes overhead... guess they're scouting out the damage. (or maybe it's hizbullah looking for more targets?)

....that's the update from the front lines, reporting live from Kupat Cholim Meuhedet.

bakery wiped out

The rumor in our village right now is that our bakery was hit.

bakery gone

The unconfirmed rumor in our villaghe right now is the bakery was wiped out.
I'll let you know as soon as its confimred or denied.

hopefully live updates by tonight

My wife just spoke with our nurse friend working in the field and she said that she couldn't get into blogger yesterday. Hopefully I'll be able to walk her through it tonight and we'll start getting live updates again. The electricity is back on in Haifa and I walked someone through getting the Internet connection working, so I'm back working also.

I sent my kids to a social worker today to discuss the trauma that they have been going through. They drew pictures and played some games, and she said it seemed like they were dealing fairly well. She was a little bit concerned about one of the boys who has a very overactive imagination, but I haven't gotten the details yet.

We were told not to go home yet, though we are both ready to sleep in our own beds. So far from what I've heard, the bombing stopped for the night at around 11 and started again this morning at 5. From 5-7 it was a constant barrage and then it stopped for a little bit and started up again. There are currently loud booms going on.

The community here is being very nice to us. One of my friends neighbors heard we are here and brought over a bag full of toys for the kids to play with. They were so excited and it kept them busy for a good amount of time this morning.

The guy who got hit in Nahariya yesterday was caught taking his family down to the shelter. It is impossible to stay in the shelter all the time or you'll go mad, so people generally wait until it stops being so loud and then resurace. They go down again at the next air raid siren or announcement. That is what he was caught in the middle of. He was not just walking around outside wondering what the fuss was all about.

minor power outage in Haifa

I don't know if this is connected to an attack, but the power just went off on the Technion campus for a couple minutes. My office connection suddenly went dead and when I called my secretary, she didn't answer and I didn't get any voicemail.
My assumption was that the building was hit.
I finally got through to someone who said that the power was back on and they didn't have any details of what was going on.

At the moment our Internet connection is still dead. Unfortuantely, I can't work if the Internet connection doesn;t and I am the guy in charge of making sure the Internet is working, which means that I might have to go into work tomorrow.

I'll keep you updated if the story continues.

whooosh -- boom

whoosh -- 1,2,3,4,5,6,7, -- boom
That one hit Haifa.
I was just talking to a neighbor whose husband is a doctor in Nahariya hospital (the one who hasn't posted). She said that you can tell the different kinds of rockets that are shot and where they hit by counting the seconds from the whoosh until the boom.
We heard a bunch of whooshes while we were there under fire and weren't exactly sure what they were. Apparantly, a whoosh means that it will not be hitting our community.

A missile landed in our neighbohood, a little bit lower down the mountain, in between 2 houses and caused all the windows of the houses and cars to shatter.

Doctors are not allowed to leave the north by military order. They are hoping to get special permission to go away for shabbos.

I hate telecommuting

I am sitting at a desk right now in Jerusalem in my friend's basement. It is completely quiet, there is nobody else around and I think I am going to go crazy. When my boss told me I could work from home every once in a while, I told him I couldn't stand working at home and now I am actually feeling the pressure of a second day working in an isolated environment.
While some people thrive in this type of environment, I like to have interuptions and talk to people around work.

This is better for my family. :-)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

haifa back in the bunkers

I just got a message from someone at our main office in Haifa that they were back in the bomb shelters. The air raid siren just started wailing and then its a calm walk down 5 flights of stairs in nervous anticipation. They are hoping to see the rockets go into the bay as they walk past the windows, though that didn't happen this time.

Interview with a border soldier

We were talking with a soldier in the Golani Brigades, who is currently protecting the northern front. This soldier wants to remain anonymous because he is officially not allowed to make political comments. He is a commander of a special forces unit, who's job it is to go deep into Lebanon and complete missions.
We spoke to him via cell phone from our Jerusalem refugee office.

(This interview is translated from the original Hebrew)
RockofGalilee: Can you tell us a little bit about what is going on there on the border?
Soldier: The soldiers are sitting around drinking tea and playing backgammon.
Rock: Are they enterring Lebanon and engaging the enemy?
Soldier: No. Our orders are to not do anything, only the airforce is doing missions right now and we are making sure that nobody sneaks over the border.
Rock: Do you think that we should be going in with the ground troops?
Soldier: I think that if we want to stop the rocket attacks, ground troops must be used. The air force is very powerful, but they can't prevent terrorists from running out of a barn with a mobile launcher and then running back in 30 seconds later when the missile is in the air.
Rock: Why aren't the ground troops going in?
Soldier: The government, especially the prime minister and defense minister, are weak, spineless cowards. They don't know what it takes to win a war.
Rock: Aren't the generals supposed to educate them on what needs to be done?
Soldier: Technically that is true, but since the disengagement from Gaza it seems like the politicians tell the army what they want to hear and then the army parrots it back. When security officials disagreed with the disengagement from Gaza, they got fired and completely bashed in the media. Career officers are afraid to disagree.
Rock: So what are you going to do about it?
Soldier: I am already the backgammon champion of my unit and I would like to compete among the best of the platoon.
Rock: So in other words, nothing?
Soldier: There is nothing I can do. In the army we follow orders, and when we protest the orders that would only be in not doing what we consider an immoral mission. It would be very dangerous for us and everyone else if we didn't follow orders and went and did a mission.

Rock: Thank you very much for your comments. Good Luck, Be Safew and may God be with you.


With all that is going on it is unbelievable that another tragedy could occur at the same time. No, another front has not been opened in the war against Israel. This time it was nature hurling her full force aginst the coast of Java in Indonesia. So far 327 have been counted dead as a result of the tsunami.
At the same, Indonesia promised 450 soldiers to Lebanon if an international force is required there.

While I am against the idea of an international force, look at the diddly-squat that the UN is doing there now, I have to give kudos and recognition to Indonesia for looking at other people's suffering while still dealing with their own tragedy.

meeting with God

Last night after the kids were asleep and my wife was settled I went to the western wall for a personal meeting with God.
I think I have been in denial (and still mostly am) about this whole situation and the fact that we actually fled our house and left all our stuff behind because bad guys were shooting rockets at us. I have been laughing and calling ourselves refugees, b ut that was when I planned on going back home yesterday. Until yesterday afternoon, I still planned on going home last night. Last night, as we neared Jerusalem, it suddenly hit me that we really are refugees and we are now living on the goodwill of other people. Thank God for friends and good people who just want to open their homes and their hearts to us.
I started getting really depressed and a feeling swelled up inside me that we are in a lot of trouble. I thought that when I got to the wall I would be one of those people who yell, "WHY???!!!" or "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU THINKING?????!!!?" I thought about it for a second and grabbed onto a fleeting thought that everything that God does is for the best, whether we understand it or not. Instead of asking questions of God and leaving the wall very unsatisfied, I focused on the truth of God and read the shemona esrei, the 19 blessings that we say every day praising God and asking him to help us with our daily lives. I focused on the absoulte power and holiness of God in the first section and then during the section where you request from God I asked him (in the preordained order) to:
  • give me the knowledge and intuition to deal with the family in this siutuation.
  • Return us to the Torah study, which is even less then usual while we are in exile
  • Forgive our sins which have definitely brought about this tragedy
  • That he should look at our suffering and redeem us, both on a persoanl level to bring us home and on a national level that he should redeem us and bring us home.
  • That he should heal us, on a very personal level, from the stress symptoms that my kids and wife have been experiencing since this situation started as well as for my brother in law who is messed up and also for all the people of Israel
  • That he should help the businesses I am working on to get started and actually work so I can help provide a living for the people who I am trying to help out.
  • That the people of Israel should come home to the land of israel.
  • That he should fix the supreme court so that they are not trying to remove the Jewishness of Israel, and that the courts shouldn't tie Israels hands in their battle
  • That the wicked people who oppress us, specifically the Hizballah, Hamas and anyone else who is intent on destroying us should be smashed and battered and beaten to a grand pulp.
  • That God should have mercy on us, even though we may not be among the most righteous or pious or the elders of tribe.
  • That he should rebuild Jerusalem.
  • That the kingdom of David should be refounded and we should have a strong leadership that is dedicated to the service of God.

Then I thanked God for helping us out through our trials and tribulations. He is always with us and we feel his presence.

Finally I asked for peace.

I walked away from the wall feeling much better about myself and about our current situation.

Now I'm going to go find some lunch.


First of all I want to thank train talk and his wife for keeping you updated. Thank God they got out of the region safely today. I spoke with them this morning and they will be arriving in Jerusalem very soon.

It looks like the doctor who I asked to guest post has not had the opportunity yet, he is probably very (crazy) busy keeping things going at the hospital.

I have asked a nurse who has just arrived in the region from her vacation in Eilat to start guest blogging. She will be visiting wounded people in their homes and will definitely have a great perspective. Her posts probably won't start to cvome on until the evening when she comes home from work, unless she is drop dead tired. Her husband, who works near Karmiel, might also post now and again.

As for us, we arrived in Jerusalem last night. We have an apartment (donated by a friend) to stay in for about a week and a half. Our children will acclimate to the situation in the next day or so and hopefully their stress symtoms will go away. I also have an office in Jerusalem (donated by a friend) from where I can telecommute, so that I do not have to take vacation days because of this situation. The wife and children are out shopping for new clothes now (if you would like to contribute to that effort or the new bunker effort see the side bar). Aside from that if you want to donate to poor people in the north or to any other northern cause please leave a comment with your donation as to where you want it to go and I will make sure that the right people get the donations.

Remember if you're not in Israel, you should donate to Israel. We're here for you.

Monday, July 17, 2006

daft questions

Hi, it's traintalk's wife again.
well the booming continues bit there are some very funny moments inbetween. yesterday I got a phone call from a female soldier who wanted to ask me some questions. They were to help the army understand how the civilains were feeling and how they were coping with the situation. So, here I am with 2 kids down in the shelter and me answering questions like "Has the situation changed my daily routine?" " Has the situation changed my work habits?" and lots of others in a similar vein. But the best one of all was "Was I enjoying life over the last few days?" I couldn't even answer that one. I assume it was written by a dumb psychologist in Tel Aviv who has never had the pleasure of spending time in a bomb shelter or hearing missiles go over his head. This is one crazy country that we live in.

3 story building collapes

A 3 story building close by collapsed from a direct hit. 6 people were wounded and none killed. The police say that no one was trapped inside.

I also heard an uncomfirmed report that Rambam hospital was struck.

Going on the road...

Wish me luck.

rockets at work

We arrived at work today in Haifa without incident, or rather without security incident. Apparantly, my children are a bit sensitive to the security situation. Each one of them has a stomacheache. Aside from that one of them got a bad ear infection and another has a fever.

The first order of business is the new rock of galilee underground bunker. We are currently looking for donations that will allow us to build a fully equiped underground bunker so that we can live with peace of mind during rocket attacks.

Last night's stay at the muqata was an enjoyable event. Jameel certainly knows how to grill those franks and burgers.

Update from the front.....

My building in Haifa was just sent down to the shelters for the second time. This time the whole building shook and some people watched the Katyushas land. 2 in the bay and one on land.

...End of update

My kids don't seem to be handling this very well, so we are heading down to jerusalem. I can work from there and everything should be fine.

This is the third time my report was interupted by an air raid siren.
What a day.

Unfortunately when we left Maalot, we left with only one day's worth of clothing because our plan was to return home after the army vanquished our enemies. Unfortunately that has not happened and since the situation has intensified we are not returning home to get clothes.

If anyone can donate even $1.00 (or more) for new clothing for the children and us, through our paypal account (you can even use credit cards) it would be muchly appreciated. Any money left over after we buy clothing it will be dedicated to the new bunker fund.
Thank You.

(The name on the paypal account is shiva call, which is a business that I have been working on)
I'll post an update when we land in Jerusalem.
God willing.

Good Morning Israel Part II

When the booms and the whooshes become an obsession, you know your life is changing. When you are waiting for the go-ahead to stock up on food for the next couple days, you know your quality of life is different than it was a short time ago. When you start playing out unusual what-if scenarios in your head, you know your daily routine has taken a direct hit. When you worry about the safety of your kids going to and from the shelter and you think not about the concerted series of bombings but about connecting with the first of a series, you know you have been in this for a few days now and you have gotten used to it. The Question that seems to be in the air is What is Part III and where .

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Muqata/Rock Joint post

Exactly one year ago, we hosted friends of ours after they were evicted from their homes in Gush Katif. Having nowhere to go, we put them up for a bit, till they figured out which way to wander.

Today, we're very pleased to be hosting blogger friends of ours -- the Rock of Galilee family from up North. In this historic use of the JBlogosphere to connect Jews from around the world (well, from a Northern Settlement to the Muqatan Shomron Stronghold) -- we're pleased to present this dual hosted blog post. Over to you rock...

Watching a missile land on Haifa this morning as we fled from the constant bombardment of rockets on our galilean homeland I got to thinking about how fragile the situation can be no matter where you are living. When we lived in Michigan, we were concerned when the two airplanes hit the world trade center. My wife was very concerned about the threat of terrorism in the entire US and I explained to her that we were safest in Michigan. Michigan, for those who don't know, is the home to the largest arab population outside the middle east. My wife was positive that that meant that we were in more danger then anywhere else in the country. I explained to her that being in the Lion's den (quite literally in football terms) was actually beneficial to us because the FBI had most of their resources concentrated in our neighborhood. They wouldn't dare to do anything that would bring the full weight of countersurveillance into their living rooms.

In a similar vein we decided that the safest place during a Lebanese missile crisis would be in the Muqatan heartland, surrounded by hostile arabs. What better place to hide out and give our children a much deserved and needed rest without waking up every 5 minutes by the whoosh and the boom.

Back to you Jameel.

Jameel here. Wow...that was pretty inspiring to read (as it was being typed here in our Muqata bomb shelter)...and I just wanted to write how much we're enjoying the Rock of Galilee family's company -- we had a BBQ, and now the kids are nodding off to sleep. Granted the occasional shooting in the distance can be slight disconcerting, but it's nothing comapred to the whooosh and the boom. (And hopefully, we won't hear those either).

Well...I hope we can get together under slightly calmer circumstances next time, but overall, I think this is working out just fine.

A good night to all from the Muqata and Rock of Galilee (updates will be posted tonight as neccessary).

Jameel (The Muqata)
Rock of Galilee (Galilee Refugee)

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


I believe we can hear the bigger rockets whooshing overhead on trajectories further south. It took two minutes from time I heard to a media statement of actual landings.

We're Clear

We are out of range right now but we watched a missile land in haifa.
Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

The Other Half

This is traintalk's wife.
The so called quiet night was very noisy. Booming all night long. Same thing now. But, that isn't what I wanted to talk about. On the last occasion that we spent prolonged time in the shelters our kids were little now they are teenagers and technology has come a long way. So the girls sat in the shelter watching movies on a litttle DVD player. Now, my 16 year old can express how she feels. She is under pressure and says that her "heart is hurting". That means she jumps every time she hears a loud explosion that is close by and is totally panicked. She is very concerned that we choose not to sleep in the bomb shelter. There are good reasons for that. Hubby is asthmatic and has an allergy to dust he would stop breathing before the katyushas hit. I just hate the feeling of being in a small room underground. The girls made sure that they have prayer books and psalms with them. In between movies they pray and read psalms. Crazy huh? But that is what life is all about here.

Good Morning Israel - "quiet"

One of the early morning news stations called last night "quiet" for northern residents. This can mean one of several things: 1) The military censor has kicked into play and we are not going to give away any more free intelligence to the enemy; 2) The opposite, but from a casualty or injury point of view no new statistics were created. Hopefully every rocket landing was monitored and there are no unknowns to the authorities, for whatever reason; 3) the barrages have so hardened us that now that over 1000 (I am approximating but not exaggerating) have landed , we can say no matter what happens that it is "quiet", read: under control i.e. Give us your best punch you crackheads - to borrow a Rock label - because tomorrow you will be history.
I would like to think that "quiet" will mean that there is a new national consensus in the making and now (as though we forgot) that we have a clear and certain foe there will be no need to continue unraveling ourselves in that proxy reality show we call Israel. All that is needed are some new facts on the ground we can all be proud of.

we're off

I have asked 2 people on the front to guest blog while we're away.
I told them they can post whatever they want, including politics, situation updates or whatever they want.
You will hopefully hear from galileedoc who is in the loop about the mdical situation in the northincluding people in the hospital etc.. and traintalk who has a unique perspective about everything.

May God be with you.

a loud night

The booming was loud at midnight and louder at 5 AM.
My children are very excited about going to a place where there are less booms.
Our neighbors are in Eilat right now, they'll probably be returning today at sometime because she is a nurse and has to open the medical center in case of emergency. He told his daughter that they were going somewhere where there would be no booms. The next morning, someone in the building slammed a daughter and their daughter looked at him accusingly and said, "You said there would be no booms."

I need to find an "I'm a refugee" shirt to alert everyone of our status while we are on vacation. I thought about wearing my US fatigues shirt, which is what I wore when I was homeless (when my house was sold and we were living at my parents for 3 weeks before we moved here).

I will try and find a guest blogger who can keep you updated on a regular basis.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Day 3

We're currently getting bombed, and we're going to sleep.
We haven't decided where we're sleeping tomorrow night, but it probably won't be here.

I'll update in the morning.

Booms in the morning, Booms in the evening - Day 3 of the 3 weeks.

what good can come out of this

I was just reading about the Lebanese people who are quite pissed off at the Hizballah terrorists who are causing their country to be destroyed. I was thinking that if we could get a peace treaty with Lebanon out of this that would be awesome. Lebanon is a country that I would actually visit. There is so much Jewish history there. We used to do major trading in the ports of Tzur and Sidon.
If we could just hop on the train for an hour of visiting the Friday souk right over the border, I would be there.

what good can come out of this

I was just reading about the Lebanese people who are quite pissed off at the Hizballah terrorists who are causing their country to be destroyed. I was thinking that if we could get a peace treaty with Lebanon out of this that would be awesome. Lebanon is a country that I would actually visit. There is so much Jewish history there. We used to do major trading in the ports of Tzur and Sidon.
If we could just hop on the train for an hour of visiting the Friday souk right over the border, I would be there.

bombing update

You know how you feel when a car with a lot of bass is playing down the block and you can actually feel the vibrations.
The is how I feel right now as every 30 seconds for the past 10 minutes a rocket has slammed down somewhere in the vicinity. It's not that close wecause we're not hearing a boooooooooooom. But we're feeling it.

Shaboos under fire

Shabbos is over and what a shabbos it was.
I got home from shul (prayers) on friday evening and sat down for an enjoyable meal. My eldest daughter was still awake, so she got to join us at the table. We were disturbed my an announcement on the loud speakers that said,
"all residents go down to your bomb shelters." My daughter and wife jumped and I calmed them down and explained that we will now when it is time to go down and if we go down every time they announce it then we would never come up.We didn't hear any close booms for the rest of the night, so that was goos. I also explained a little bit of Physics to them and in order for a rocket to actually land in our room where we are all sleeping,it would first have to destroy the neighbor's house. Since our neighbor just became a rabbi, we are certain that God will not let his house be destroyed and therefore we are fairly safe. They didn'tfully understand the physics involved, but my daighter at least believed me.
We look at the anouncement to go to the shelters as a warning that it might get loud soon. and when it gets loud we will go on down to the shelters.

In the morning there were a number of close booms and when I got back from shul (prayers) the wife and kids were in the shelter. In the middle of lunch the house started shaking again after a loud boom and we ran downstairs. It was ok, because the food wasn't that great. We have learned that food made with love is a lot better then food made under duress. even my cookies came out not so great and that is weird.
We went down to the shelters a bunch of times, but mostly we just relaxed. I let the kids go outside to play on the swing set for a little bit. The first time I let them outside they were too nervous to acually leave the porch. A couple hours later they actually went down the slide a couple times.

It looks like we will probably be taking a little vacation for a coupledays. We were thinking about camping at the kinerret but then we found out th Tiberias was heavily hit over shabbos. Now we're not quite sure what to do. I have heard that if we leave the house we have the official status of refugees, but don't know what the ramifications of that are.

I'll post again if something happens or before we go to sleep.
God bless and we thank you for your prayers.

Friday, July 14, 2006

day 2

have a great shabbos.
We'll let you know what's going on in another 25 hours.


blogging from the bunker

I finally got my computer set up in the bunker so I can do live reports without freaking out my children. There was just another announcement of additional information and please go down to the bunkers. So I set up the system with Internet access and I turned on a country music station and my daughters said to me, "can you put on happier music?"

There have been no booms since the announcement, so we'll probably go upstairs again soon. Since the house shook, it has been very easy to convince them to go on down.
but the kids can't handle being in such a tight space for so long.

life under fire

My brother from America just called and reminded me of a far side where there is a guy and his wife in his bomb shelter undeground and the world above him is destroyed and his bomb shelter is filled with canned food and his wife is yelling at him: "Idiot, I told you not to forget the can opener."

I moved the computer downstairs and the kids are watching a movie right now. They were brought upstairs one at a time to shower and bathe for shabbos. We are planning a normal shabbos with contingencies. My wife didn't make a chulent this week because its possible that the electricity will go out. We're going to keep the lights on in th basement and we have a mattress in the bomb shelter.

The neighborhood next to us, named after Yitchak Rabin the prime minister who brought us Oslo (we call it the Russian quarter) was hit and there were wounded people reported. There is the constant drone of the helicopters and we have the Internet on to keep us updated.

On shabbos, starting in 2 hours, we will go into shabbos blogging mode, which means that there will be no updates until shabbos ends, no matter what the situation. Our computers will all be turned off and if we hear booms we will know that something happened and not know exactly what.

A Texan who I have a business relationship with told me, "The country of Texas is friends with Israel."
Let us hope and pray that God is with the people of Israel this week.

I think we were hit

It's a good thing I was inside. There was a bunch of loud booms and suddenly the house shook. We made it safely into the bomb shelter in the basement with no injuries. After we were in the bomb shelter, I tried walking out and stepped on my son's hand. He know thins he is injured.

early afternoon in the galil

I can't even clear the weeds in peace. We let the kids watch a movie this afternoon since we aren't letting them run freely outside. Our village hasn't been hit yet, Thank God, and I am fairly confident that the angles aren't good for them because shooting at us puts Tarshicha, Jatt Yanuach, and a bunch of other arab/druze towns right on the target.

So I went outside to continue to remove the huge weed bushes that have grown up for the past number of years. I am making serious headway and pretty soon we'll actualy be able to walk all the way around the house. Suddenly I heard Boom. and I ignored it because it wasn't too close. Then I heard Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom. 5 booms in all. I believe Nahariya was hit again and maybe Kibbutz Kabri. My wife doesn't like to me to be pulling weeds during missile atacks, so I came back inside to let y'all know what's happening.

The good news is that we are still hearing counter booms at regular intervals so we know that the Israeli army is working hard to protect our homes.

We were invited to a number of places in the center of the country, which is quieter, but we really felt that we wanted to be in our home. We also got invited to a bunch of settlements over the green line and we turned them down as well.We really appreciate the offers and next week if this is still continuing and my family is stressed out, we will probably go visiting for shabbos.

My sister wanted to come up this weekend and show support, but I asked her not to come. I don't feel that there is a reason to go missile chasing around the country, though she feels that showing support in endangered communities is not missile chasing. This is not the gaza strip or west bank, which need(ed) all the public support they could get. This is the Galilee and the entire country pretty much supports us.

fun morning at the park

We just spent an enjoyable hour at the pirate ship park. It is so good for them to get outside and just run around after being locked up inside for a whole day yesterday.

Yesterday I was talking to a guy in texas who said to me, "I hope you guys know how to take care of this problem like we should be taking care of our problems." We are a little close to the border for the nuclear option to be good for us, so it isn't even a good deterrent right now.

While we were at the par there were a couple loud booms, but since we were on our 3 hour free time, we decided it couldn't be that bad and continued playing.

all clear

We were given an all clear until 12 PM. The stores will all be open and the children will be able to dance in the street. Last night went by pretty quietly with one very strange occurrence. At about 9:30 PM there was an announcement that due to additional information we should go down to the shelters immediately. About 5 minutes later there was a loud boom. I didn't find any boom after 9:30 on the news, so we don't know where it hit. But I'm very curious to know what got hit. It may have fallen into an empty field or something, but they should really let us know.

Last night I skipped basketball because of the security situation. I wasn't concerned that our game would be hit but I decided to remain with the family.

After 12PM, I suppose they will give hizballah the all clear to start shooting again.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

special for northern residents

I left work early today to go and be home with my family. They were a bit stressed out from the constant barrage of rocket fire that could be heard from our living room.
On the way to work someone told me I could probably take my kids to the safari for free while this was going on as well as other specials.
While I was on the way home, I was talking to Jameel and he told me that the army had issued "hanachiot" for everyone north of tzfat. I was a bit excited and I asked him what we get. He replied with a long list of rules, which I was unhappy to hear. I asked him about the discounts and he said what discounts. I said aren't hanachiyot discounts? He laughed at me and said, hanachot are discounts, hanachiot are instructions.


Anyways, I heard the road to Nahariya was closed and my wife was worried about how I was going to get home. So we agreed to meet in Karmiel and then we could go shopping before they closed all the stores in the region. (The stores here and in Nahariya are already closed). So we got full shopping done for our war rations and now we are good for a couple weeks.

Day 1 - 3 weeks

The children all slept in our bedroom last night. It wasn't much of an exciting experience for them because they were sleeping when I moved them, but better safe then sorry. Our bomb shelter is not big enough to fit all of the children lying down. We definitely need a bigger one. I was thinking something along the lines of a rec room bomb shelter, with a ping pong table, toys and a computer. That probably won't happen for another couple years though.

Central Nahariya got hit this morning by a number of katyushas on my way to work. The train station in Nahariya is closed so I took a sherut into Haifa. It was my wife's turn at the camp that she is doing with the other mothers and she cancelled it. Most of the other mothers thought that was a very good idea.

Our village hasn't been hit yet, Thank God. That might mean it is a very safe place to be or not. I don't know. I really don't have any experience with these sort of things.

The 3 weeks are starting and it looks like we're going to have a 3 weeks kind of 3 weeks.

It boomed all day and boomed all night. Day 1 of the War on the northern border.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

its raining

I want to start with a funny story. If you're sensitive about security situations don't read after the story.
We went to the klezmerfest last night in Tzfat. The city was closed to non-residents and we drove past the city and parked in the parking lot. Then a bus too us to where the festival was. The parking lot cost 25 shekel. The bus cost another 3.80. We were sitting on the bus waiting for it to fill up when one of the parking lot workers walked over to the bus with a policeman and pointed at someone. The cop said to the guy, do you want your car towed? The guy yelled back, "either let me into the parking lot for free or I'm not moving." The cop repeated himself asking if he wanted his car towed. The guy said that there was no sign and no reason why he shouldn't park there. The cop said, if you leave your car there it will be towed. The guy laughed and said, that either they let him into the parking lot for free or he is leaving the car there because there is no signthat says he can't park there and therefore he is not moving it. The policeman walked away and the bus left. The entire way to the festival this guy was talking loudly about how they can't tow his car because there was no sign. I was thinking, "what a stupid person." When we got back to the parking lot at 11, his car was not there. I don't know if they towed it or if he came back before us, but I assume it was towed. I can just imagine this guy comingback to the parking lot at 12:30 AM after the festival ended and saying, where's my car.

"Mommy, if there are no bombs tomorrow can my friend sleepover" my oldest daughter asked my wife today. It started at about 8:30AM, or at least that was when I got the first call from my wife. It is now 11:30 Pm and the booms have not stopped yet. Most of the booms are us hitting them, you can tell the difference if you take the time to listen.
Today was a very rough day for Israel. A second front was forecably opened up by the Lebanese as they started shooting rockets over the border. 5 people were injured in Shlomi, which is just north of us. 2 more soldiers were kidnapped. I heard that they were Druze, which could make it very rough on the prisoners. A tank was blown up by a mine and the 4 soldiers in there were killed.
May we merit the coming of mashiach speedily in our days.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tanach Festival

Last night was the annual tanach (bible) festival in our village. I got there a bit late, but the kids were having a great time. There were about 10 people from the community dressed up as:
King David,
Ben Sorer oo Moreh,
Og melekh haBashan and more.

There was a large variety of activities, and presentations. The kids got to make various Jewish themed arts and craft projects, including a mezuza cover and bencher holder. There was a Bikurim parade, including flutists. There were songs about eretz yisrael, biblically oriented.

There were also different raffles for different age groups. My kids had to run around finding the different characters and then they had to say something specific to them. If they said the right thing they got a sticker on their sheet. Everyone who had a full sheet was entered in the raffle. (my kids didn't win and they were sad).

There was even a little animal petting corner, including rabits and snakes and other fun creatures.

The mayor spoke and gave a bracha that our neighbor, Gilad Shalit (he's from the next village over), should return home safely as should all the soldiers fighting for us in gaza. A rabbi then spoke and had the kids all say shema out loud and hashem melekh.

It was a very enjoyable evening.

Tonight we are thinking about going to the klezmer festival in Tzfat. We've tried to go each year since we've been here and it hasn't worked out yet.

Monday, July 10, 2006

the religous american's place in Israel

In Washington DC a Jewish boy was killed yesterday by thugs who were interested in rape and robbery. The boy was an activist in the Israeli scene and will be missed by the Jewish people. He was found by a policeman named Joe Gentile. No, really. I assumed Ynetnews had made a mistaken so I did a google search for Joe Gentile. I came up with a ton of people with that name.
Suprised, I did a google search for Joe Settler and Joe Camel and only found only one each.

Yesterday we went to Tiverya to eat in honor of our anniversary (my MIL treated and even stayed home to babysit so it was a full treat). We decided to go to the Pagoda instead of Decks because we were at Decks the last couple times we ate in the area and wanted to try something different. My wife thought the service was horrible, but I didn't think it was so bad. We got a great table, in the corner facing the Kinneret and had a very enjoyable evening.

After dinner, we visited with a former rebbe of mine and his wife who were staying in the area. We spoke about aliyah and the place for Americans in Israeli society today. I think the problem is that Americans don't want to look at the broad picture and are too concerned with the titles and stereotypes that those titles bring to an American religious family. In America, Dati Leumi is associated with modern orthodoxy, which religious dati leumiers call "dati lite." In Israel, they have their own yeshiva world with all the same type of politics etc. that are inherent in the American yeshiva world. If you look at a product of the dati leumi yeshiva system, you will not see much difference from an American yeshiva guy who went to college and got a job. The only difference is hashkafically, how they look at the State of Israel. But if you discuss it with them and how absurd their beliefs are, you will realize that it is 99% semantics. We believe this is the end of the exile and they believe that it is the beginning of the redemption. However, we are both looking forward towards a better reality. The end of an era and the beginning of another era are generally fuzzy enough that we won't know exactly how to define this time period for another couple hundred years as we look back and reflect on history.

Most of the more yeshivishe Americans don't necessarily fit in hashkafically with the Israeli chareidim, but they don't fit in at all with the dati leumis or with the Americans who left yeshiva to go to college and work. They would probably fit in well in a chareidi community and just be considered a bit modern.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


My older brother made aliyah with his family this past Thursday. I'm probably the last blogger to write about it because I haven't been around until now. Wednesday night we slept in Tel Aviv at a friends house after visiting my BIL in the hospital (he seems to be doing better now, thanks for the tehillim. Keep them up he's not all fixed up yet.). Thursday morning, bright and early we headed down to the airport. We waited with hundreds of other people at the tarmac for their historic flight to arrive. Then we listened to a ton of speeches about what a great thing it is for Americans to make aliyah.

We are now 4 siblings of 7 in Israel. One is planning on coming with Mashiach and the other 2 will probably end up here on their own if he doesn't hurry up. God promised us this country, he gave us this country and then he took it away. Some bloggers feel that it was probably just bad politics that caused nebekenezer (sp?) to destroy the temple and exile the Jews, but we know better. Now that God has started letting us come back, this is the place to be. You can even get a job here As the 2 good spies said "the land is very very good." It takes some getting used to - the people here are of a different mindset, the language is hard and the pay doesn't compare. But once you overcome that, it is very rewarding and even enjoyable living here.

My aliyah advice is not to get too caught up in the politics. It's generally good to pick one side, but when things don't go your way don't get too worked up about it. There's nothing you can do about it anythng.

After the aliyah ceremony we went to the safari in ramat gan. We really enjoyed it, especially the ostriches. After you drive through the safari part, you can stop and go to the zoo before continuing on to the lions section and finishing the rest of the safari. We spent about 4 hours there and the kids had a wonderful time.

Friday morning we spent in the Chula - no there were no birds and we didn't even get to see a kosher water bufallo - it was an enjoyable walk.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

alternate realities

This morning on the train I had a conversation with Train Talk about alternate realities. Not surprisingly, he completely disagreed with me and insists that there are no alternate realities, at least not in the way that I explained them.

In general I don't like telling personal stories about my wife, but I think this is pretty important so I will anyways. Also our anniversary is this week, so its nice to mention stories about your wife in honor.
A number of years ago, shortly after we got married, my wife was reading Roots by Alex Haley. Somewhere in the middle of the book, the little girl (I forget her name) was getting raped. My wife couldn't handle the book anymore and put it away to never read it again. I was aghast. What kind of person would let a poor girl be raped for eternity just because she couldn't handle the end of the story. After arguing with my wife about it for a couple days and pleading with her to at least finish the rape part of the book and put an end to her suffering, I finally picked up the book and read it through cover to cover and put an end to the story.

Train Talk, like my wife and a number of other people, feels that the little girl was not actually being raped even while she was in the middle of reading the story. Putting the book away doesn't force a continuum, it is merely stopping reading which is supposed to be an enjoyable or educational pursuit.

These people simply can't see out of the narrow confines of their box and may not even realize that they are in a box to begin with. When you read a book or watch a movie or invest any part of yourself in something, that forms a new reality. That story or action now exists in your sphere of existence and influences you and can even have a strong impact. In each person lies a number of actual realities. This is what forms the uniqueness of an individual. There is no such thing as hot or cold as a global definition, merely as a concept, because your personal reality defines whether something is hot or cold, not an arbitrary temperature.

When you read a book with Ted Nash as the enemy, to take a DeMille book for example, he becomes your personal enemy. He has the ability to harm you in ways that you can't even begin to imagine. It is only a person's reckless irresponsibility to understand the consequences that allows him to accept an occurrence without being able to place the blame on the root cause of the problem. This was one of the purposes of the choose your own adventure books that were popular in the 80s. each person had the power to determine how the book was going to end and therefore be able to actually compete on an even playing field.

The problem is that there really is no reality and everything that surrounds you is an alternate reality. The issue becomes whether you focus on one reality so intently that you not only ignore the other realities surrounding you, but are completely unaware of their existence.

People must open their eyes and accept that life is a prism and not simply a ray of light.