Monday, August 07, 2006

my day up north

Sorry it took me so long to post this, I don't have Internet in the apartment where I am staying.

Uncle Mike came in from the US with a suitcase full of gifts, clothes and money for northern families. Also, the teddy bears that my sister and her friends made for her bat mitzva 3 years ago for Israeli children finally arrived. We decided to go to Maalot and distribute the items to kids in bomb shelters. I also got cash donations from a couple other people to bring up and had some new donations from the blog donors to hand out.

My dad, Uncle Mike and I left early Sunday afternoon to head on up.
We were taking a rental car up so we didn't want to go on highway 6, because it is a lot of extra money and the thought of going through Tel Aviv was very unappealing at that time, so we took the 90 (Kvish Gandhi, named after the assassinated tourism minister) on the way up and then cut across after we hit Tiberias. It was a pleasent drive up, Tiberias was a ghost town, there was absolutely no traffic and the beaches were completely empty. There was one boat on the Kineret (Sea of Galilee). My first thought was, what a perfect time for camping.

It was a quiet ride, until we arrived in Maalot. I explained that the rules were that if the siren goes off you get out of your car immediately and wait on the side. You have within 20-30 seconds from the moment the siren goes off until they land and you don't want to be in your car if it hits nearby. As we entered Maalot, the siren went off and we weren't 20 seconds from anything, so we got out and sat in an open field. The security people came by to ask what we were doing and then thought about it and told us to just stay there for 10 minutes. We heard the katyushas land (we didn't see them) and then got up and got into the car and the siren went off again. So we waited for another little bit and and after it was quiet we headed on to the house. We got into the house, I got the stuff I needed (I had left my shaver because it was the 3 weeks) and the siren went off again. We went down to our little bomb shelter and there was a pretty close boom. The whole shelter shook. After it was quiet I went outside to check the damages. The air smelled burnt, but our house and the neighbors houses were all ok, it probably hit the open mountainside, on our side of the mountain.

We then went to visit Doc's Wife for a little. We got to sit in her bomb shelter as well. Their grapes are almost ripe and they have a great view from their roof, so we looked over and saw the smoke from one of the hits.

After that we got together with the head of our local charity organization who took us to the public bomb shelters. We went to 5 shelters and met with approximately 40 children, who were very excited to get the gifts. The money and the clothes went directly to the organization who will give them out in an appropriate manner. The kids got to pick from the barbies and crayons and puzzles, aside from each kid getting a teddy bear. When we walked in we announced that people from the US had brought gifts for children in the shelters, so nobody was embarrassed about taking. The kids were so excited and the parents gave us lots of blessings and thanked us for coming.
One family from the US had sent an envelope that was addressed to any Israeli child. As we walked out of the shul (synagogue) I saw a family that I knew with young kids, so I gave it to their 8 year old. I thought he would be perfect to get this gift. The letter was in Hebrew, it said "We know that you are sad and we hope that this will make you a little happier" and it included $15. The kid smiled like you've never seen a smile before.

It is very hard not to be home during this time to be a part of the community, but it is impossible to stay with little kids. At least we got to participate in making them smile, at least for a little bit. During the next sirens, they can hug their teddy bears and know that people out there love them and care about them.

5 comments:

Safranit said...

Thanks for all your work...I'm organizing craft donations. I'll keep you notified when we have something to send.

Veev said...

Sniffle....

BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

My husband and I are leaving for Israel in a couple of days. Can you please post on my blog how we can help, and what, if anything we can do now? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

One thing that people can do is get up close and personal with the truth ... because we see where believing in fairy tales and the lies of our enemies have gotten us!

www.thetruthaboutisrael.org

Eli said...

This made me cry.