The view from my veranda

Day 5

Day 5

11th October 2023

It seems like time stood still. Can it really be 5 days since that morning, when the white-faced news reader had to break the news to all of us? Are we really going about our daily business, albeit in a cloud of disbelief? The answer is yes, and I took a photograph of the sunrise over Jerusalem this morning as if to prove to myself that the sun actually rose despite it all.

Yesterday, after seeing our senior newswoman, Geula Saar, wife of Member of Knesset Gidon Saar, burst into tears while interviewing a father who had lost his wife and children, hostages in Gaza, I made the decision that sitting at home, watching the television 24/7 is not healthy and I headed off to the local bakery, just because. Actually, most of all I needed to see normal people going about normal activities to reassure me that we will somehow come through this.

While I was out, I received a WhatsApp from my women friends in my Music Movement group, right here in our area. Should we meet? Would it be appropriate? How can we dance when our world has fallen apart? We did, six of us met in our community hall, having first checked that it has a safe room, and the relief of seeing each other, of hugging each other, of personal contact, was tangible. At first, we just sat in a circle, each of us quietly expressing our emotions and our fears, then our teacher put on some gentle music and just said the words “When you are ready, just stand up and see what your body tells you to do” We did. Slowly the gentle music took over and as we moved, we held out our hands to each other, finally even smiling to each other, finally releasing all the pent-up tensions, losing our sense of guilt at leaving that TV screen for a couple of hours. We hugged as we left, deeply grateful for our unity, our ability to ease our pain through the music.

Volunteers are taking on the saddest of tasks, Zaka in identifying bodies, young and old helping to dig graves for the fallen, ordinary folk collecting food parcels for soldiers and residents of the South alike, collecting clothing and utensils for those who lost everything and have no home to return to, paramedics to relieve the medical staff in Soroka and Barzilay hospitals, children collecting toys for the children who left them all behind in their burning homes. We are not a people that is capable of sitting back and keening in our chairs, we are a people of action, Jew, Moslem and Christian as one.

The political chaos that contributed to our current situation continues despite the best efforts of General Benny Gantz who could bring enormous expertise to any emergency cabinet, war cabinet, together with his colleague General Gadi Eizenkot, both former Chiefs of Staff, but politics, dirty narcissistic politics have prevented the formation of a relevant, logical government to deal with a national emergency. I have no words, none whatsoever.

Dear friends, I find it hard to express the level of our gratitude for your concern, your outpourings of love for Israel, your understanding that we, Israel, are the front line but we are in this together. Every line of comfort that you write warms my heart. To those of you who wrote asking to whom to send donations, I have written to you personally, each of us must choose according to his or her choice. I will try my best to help.

This is my country, this is our country, we can never abandon her, we must not show our fear nor can we bend to the insane cruelty of our enemies. After all, Ain li Eretz Acheret- I have no other country.

With much love from Jerusalem, Sheila