Monday, January 12, 2009


by Netivotgirl

Finally back home. A whirlwind of buses are going through my brain. I feel like my 4 year old grandson going "vroom, vroom, vroom" while holding a toy truck. Within 5 days I have traveled throughout more cities than I care to count including: Maale Adumim; Yerushalayim; Petach Tikva; Modiin; Nof Ayalon; Lod; and finally today, moshav Tzafaria to get to Ulpanat Tzfira (which is hosting our tenth, eleventh and twelfth grade classes.)

Our girls and I feel overwhelmed. Everywhere we go and everyone we speak to has the same reaction. "From the south? How are you managing? Is there anything I can do to help you?" Despite exhaustion from transit, I return home revitalized. I have seen and heard parts of the great mosaic of our nation, and I like what I see.

I like the fact that the girls (around 1000 I was told,) were so warm and accepting of our pupils today at Tzfira. I adore the fact that everywhere we see people saying Tehillim (Psalms) or praying in their own words for our boys at the front. Not only that, a chocolate brigade (with cookies; cakes; bisli; bamba-- you name it; it's there) is on its way to the front with letters scrawled by children barely able to scribble along with packages brought by men like my neighbor, Avraham --a very special Jew. American, I don't think he likes to be categorized either as Dati Leuimi or Charedi. He is simply a remarkably sensitive religious man with Ahavat Yisrael beyond measure. Retired, this gentleman traveled DAILY for weeks to Chevron from southern Israel to pray against implementation of the expulsion from Gush Katif. These days, he's never home. He's either at the Tze'elim army base, or somewhere else on the war front, praying with the boys; talking with them and spoiling them silly with treats.

Then, take Oshrat. She is from Nof Ayalon and spends a full day working with pupils as her Sherut Le'umi post demands. Come evening, rather than relax and unwind, she spends hours at her keyboard implementing Rav Kook of Rechovot's initiative: sending people one name of one soldier they should pray for until the fighting ends. (Interested? Write a note to

Then there's the retired elderly woman who used to teach at a Charedi Seminary in Jerusalem. She saw busloads of soldiers waiting to leave Bar Illan Street for the front. She ran into the nearest grocery store and came rushing out with arms laden with sweets. Climbing aboard each bus, before the driver could tell her, "Lady, this isn't the bus going to the Kotel...." she said, "Dear men! Please know that we here in Israel all love you and appreciate what you are doing for our people! We will pray daily until your safe return home!" (My daughter witnessed this story which was published in this week's Hebrew newspaper, "Mishpacha.")

Still, one question keeps niggling at my conscience. Yes, these days are heady with the glow of unity in the air not felt since Nachshon Waxman's kidnapping. I can't help feeling sorrow however for the fact that it took a WAR to make us quit squabbling like a rowdy band of children! If we could only capture this aura, this delicious feeling of "us against the world," that reminds me of why so many of us made aliya and bottle it with a cork. Anxious for the madness of these days to end, we all await the return to normalcy. Nevertheless, I fear that come victory (I won't consider the alternative!) this addictive fusion of our people with evaporate. Perhaps either politics; religion; fashion; people with alternative lifestyles or dress, will ignite another wildfire to divide us into opposing camps or ghettos.

In the meantime it is quiet here in Netivot. This is a time for home and hearth away from open spaces. A time for prayer, reckoning and hope.


Netivotgirl said...

I posted this blog-post too quickly. Exhausted from my travels,a "spell check" was fogotten, and a lovely post is RIDDEN with mistakes! Mea Culpa!

rickismom said...

I always enjoy the unity in wartime and wish it could be in peace-time as well. Sometimes I think that's why HaShem does this to us....