As we approach end of year 5774
wishing all a Shabbat Shalom.
Last night as the sun was setting,
traffic around the Old City was heavy and slow.
Mamilla Mall was crowded with people.
The usually deserted Artists’ Colony was alive for
Hutzot Hayotzer, the annual international arts festival.
Security was tight for this mega rip-off, but hugely popular
international fair of merchandise and food.
This man was taking advantage of the crowds,
hoping to raise money for sick people.
I walked through Teddy Park,
across from the Walls of the Old City, this former No Man’s Land,
packed with people.
I imagine the designer of the special water fountain
thought of it as a place where people would come together,
but this corner as a place for afternoon prayer services?
Jaffa Gate was unusually quiet, the Arab vendors were not around,
and one of the major gifts shops was closed.
Israelis were out to enjoy the last of summer evenings,
but tourists have been scared away this summer.
Too bad they are missing the sights,
like the beauty of Hurva Synagogue as the sun sets,
the Old City views,
and seeing the majesty of the Kotel, the Western Wall, up close.
But my favorite scene was nearby on the Kotel plaza.
A soldier just back from reserve duty, still wearing his gun,
had come to the Kotel with his young family.
He was surrounded by young admirers.
All was calm.
Hamas broke a cease-fire for the 11th time,
and for the second day in a row southern Israel
was pounded by rockets and mortars from Gaza.
last night the warning siren went off
as we were on way home from the Old City.
We had to get out of the car
and run to stand near a wall with no glass windows.
We then heard a boom in the distance.
It was a quiet street, with nothing special to photograph.
But the family members who were at the Kotel,
had to first go up against the wall,
then were sent into the tunnels to wait out the ten minutes.
Hamas was trying to hit Jerusalem, Israel,
with their rockets…again.
100 rockets launched at southern Israel since midnight
and 30 targets attacked in Strip overnight,
for way too many sleepless nights.
Rocket sirens now in Beer Sheva,
too many places to list.
How did so many thousands of rockets get into Gaza?
How did so little else get accomplished by Hamas?
Another crazy week trying to keep everything going.
Signs supporting Golani soldiers are appearing
and Israeli flags are flying, with more out every day.
Israel is under threat.
Those tunnels from Gaza into Israel have proven deadly,
and last night five young soldiers were killed in Israel
by terrorists emerging from the ground near a kibbutz.
The tunnels have to be destroyed.
Meanwhile, countless missions, private and public,
are driving south to give food and personal items to
reserve soldiers who are on duty.
Family members have gone to visit my son-in-law more than once.
Even an unexpected call from a soldier can take a few minutes to appreciate,
after the ‘what is wrong’ feeling is over.
Everyone wants to do something, give money, bake, cook,
but there was one unusual “war effort” I had to go check out and share.
Morah Roc is a professional story teller.
She offered to entertain children one afternoon,
with all the donations going to a good cause
to support those affected by the situation.
Signs are up for the annual International Puppet Festival in August
and we continue to plan for our August wedding.
This evening there is a funeral at Mount Herzl Military Cemetery
for a soldier from our synagogue,
and at the same time, the Great Synagogue is holding
the shloshim (30 days of mourning) observance for Eyal, Gilad and Naftali.
At this roller coaster time, we often think of words of Golda Meir.
If only they cared for their children as much as we do.
Two soldiers on reserve duty get engaged,
and there is another wedding to plan.
It’s good to have good news to share,
even as more rockets are fired at southern civilians.