I’m a young wife and mother living in Southern Israel. And I #storied being attacked by Gazian rockets.
This March, Israel got hit pretty badly by some 750 rockets from Gaza.
I live close to the Iron Dome operative, so on that Saturday night I went outside to film all the activity. The Iron Dome was blowing up Hamas rockets mid-flight. I sent the video to my family Whatsapp group when my first siren went off. My daughter was sleeping in her bed, and I had no idea where my husband was. I bolted to get her, not realizing my camera was still on. I grabbed my daughter, went to the bomb shelter and felt her body clench as we stepped outside and heard the siren in full volume.
I tried to calm myself down so I could focus on keeping her calm,
and waited for it to be over so I could put her back to sleep safely in her bed. My biggest fear with all of this, thanks to the Iron Dome, is no longer our physical safety. We feel pretty safe once we are in a shelter. What makes me afraid, is the psychological trauma my daughter may develop from the sirens, the hysterics, and the anticipation. As a parent, my focus has been on training both she and I, to feel safe and calm during the sirens, and to never panic. I don’t call the bomb shelter a bomb shelter, we call it a safe place. When I run with her I sing an upbeat tune with it. Most importantly, that no matter what, she knows she is safe with me.
That first night, my husband Daniel came running right behind me and we got into the shelter together. My daughter once awakened, was exhausted, and asked to go back to sleep. I told her that we have to stay in this safe place for a few more minutes, and then I’ll put her back in her bed. She nodded and stayed calm on my lap. When the first boom came she sat up very stiff and then said: “Mummy, it’s the big wind.” We giggled to ourselves and agreed with her.
We've started calling the explosions – wind. Sometimes you need humor to be in the bomb shelter.
The danger passed and we headed back home. Once she was again sleeping, I realized I had a bit of a video from the first seconds of the siren, and I posted it along with my thoughts. As she fell asleep another siren went off. This time I recorded the whole operation, of waking her up, running to the shelter, and making sure we were safe. She was calm during the whole experience. At some point when she saw I was worried and she held my face in her hands and said, “It’s scary Mummy, but I’m not scared” in the cute singsong tune I use with her. I snapped out of my head, and joined her in this calm place until the siren ended. The sirens kept on coming at us that night, until at 3am they stopped, and I was able to fall asleep.
When I checked my phone the next morning I was surprised to see hundreds of messages from people I never met. People from all over the world wishing me safety and prayers, and mainly thanking me for taking them with them on this crazy experience. And I realized that my experience had been a portal to others who have never experienced this, as normal.
For a few seconds, through a few Instagram stories, thousands of people were able to understand what it is like to live, with terror raining down on your family.
As the responses continued to pour in, people kept asking me what they could do to help. An idea struck. In Israel on Yom Haatzmaut, Israeli Independence day (which is tomorrow) is a huge celebration for Israelis, and Jews all over the world. One of the popular ways to celebrate is by joining with friends and family and having a BBQ. I have no idea why! The beaches and parks are filled with Israelis enjoying the national holiday and grilling together in the relaxed and joyful atmosphere. Due to the severity of the security situation here, there are a lot of soldiers who are stuck in bases down south, and they aren’t going to be able to participate in the day’s festivities.
So we figured if they can't go to a BBQ, why don’t we bring the fun to them?
I posted a few more stories, and we received an outpouring of love and donations from all over the world, of people who want to help participate in this beautiful mitzvah, of being there for those, who are there to protect us. As I was able to show them what Israel can feel like during a time of war, they were able to show 100 Israeli soldiers that they stand and support them, all away from abroad. With my followers help and donations, we were able to pull off #thegreatestbbq