I think it’s impossible for anyone who doesn’t live in Israel to understand what our days look like right now. And today has been a particularly schizophrenic one.
The streets are completely empty – completely. At least in our area, the regional council doesn’t want people out. So we are all working from home and there is no school. Keep in mind that the kids have been home on Sukkot vacation for two weeks, so this is now a third week of taking care of them while juggling the emotions of current events, work from home schedules etc.
We awake after another pretty sleepless night and check the news, of course. We check and answer many messages from concerned people around the world (and appreciate the support).
We then go to shul where our 17 year old benches gomel. This is a blessing of thanks that is said by a person when they were in a life-threatening situation and survived.
Within two minutes of gomel, we receive a message from son #2. He’s out there fighting and it’s the first message we’ve received in close to two days. He is fine.
But he wants us to know, as well, that one of his commanders from the beginning of his training has fallen in the battles from the first day.
This dear, dear soldier was one of our 1st son’s best friends. And we’ve known him for a decade.
More tears. Agonizing tears of loss and anger.
We call son #1 and speak through the tears. There is nothing to say.
Returning home with the four younger kids, we work from home and spend the morning raising money for army units together with family abroad. The reserve units don’t have enough supplies. Keep in mind that, in a country of less than 10 million people, 300,000 people showed up for reserve duties within 24-48 hours. That’s a lot of people to outfit with supplies and equip with necessary items.
We visit a friend to give a hug and to hear about the tragic losses in her son’s unit.
We visit one of our kid’s best friends who was injured on day 1 of the fighting and is now recovering at home. They are supposed to be marrying off their daughter in two days. The groom was called up to fight but now he’s out. They are now planning a very modified, 50 person wedding for Wednesday.
Son #3 leaves the house to bake cookies all day for distribution to the many homes where one parent has been called up for reserves.
Son #4 leaves the house loaded with massive amounts of food that various people had delivered to our house today. He and a friend are driving to a base an hour away where they heard there was a need and delivering the food. They also get to pop in and quickly visit son #1. The picture of them together makes me cry.
Son #5 goes to school, where they are having a bit of learning and davening.
Son #6 leaves to an activity put on by the community, which has been doing a fantastic job of trying to keep the kids busy and safe.
We remembered to eat at about 1:30. And to work.
Then our neighbors call. Can we use your oven for some of the food we are making for soldiers? Sure
Sirens! First sirens of the day. We run to the shelter, but none of the kids are home. And I realize that I’ve just given permission for my 15 year old to walk two blocks to his friends. Whatsapp messages all around. Where are you? Where are you? Everyone is ok. Check. Breathe.
Neighbor writes that she made too much food (they are cooking for soldiers and also stress cooking). Would we like leftovers. She sends her 21 year old daughter over to deliver the food. Her daughter, whose husband is also out fighting.
More people check in from overseas. Messages answered.
Supplies delivered for army unit – by an 18 year old in the community who has made it his mission to get army equipment and supplies delivered. How? From where? We don’t know. We smile together and thank him for arranging everything.
We get ready to get on the road to deliver the first of the supplies. There will be more in the coming days.
And, of course, throughout the day we read about more bodies that have been found, more people identified, more horror stories from that first day of terror and kidnapping. We try to stay away from the worst stories and to focus on the heroic stories, the good deeds being done, the places of light.
And tomorrow will be another day of irregular work schedules, attempts to find meaningful and productive ways to help and keep the kids busy, more scrolling, more opportunities to help those in need, etc.
Or it will be the start of a war.
We just don’t know, yet.