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Monday, October 30, 2006

Crash!



HUGE thunderstorm over Shabbat...it woke me up Saturday morning and I couldn't go back to sleep, the thunder was so loud. And there's been enough rain over these last few days to put the Kinneret back on the map. All of which is good news for a country that's always moaning about the water tables. But as I recall from my early days in the country, this is about the time that the cotton crop needs to be harvested, and if it gets wet, it's finished. As with everything else though, I guess that it's six of one and half dozen of another. And anyway, maybe the farmers got their cotton in.

Elisheva made two new designs for the shirts...the girl did it again. They're fabulous. I'm going to order some to have on hand for the birthright season and hope that those kids like shirts. Still looking for some good ways to market on internet...i guess it would help if I paid something. If only Madonna or Brittney would wear one...even for a day...

Just came back from a parent-teacher conference with margalit's teacher. I'll just say that I envy parents who get to hear "what a terrific student your child is. So studious. So polite and well-behaved". 'Nuff said. (I can't complain...i always hear that from Yochi's teachers. But I have FIVE kids!)

Here are the new graphics. Madonna, are you watching?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Lazy

Haven't posted for awhile...and the last couple posts were somewhat of a cheat, since I just posted the article that featured us. I plead guilty, though I think that I can be forgiven if life is a bit hectic. Holidays, etc.

Now I have a bit of time, especially since my work computer seems to have caught a major virus, and I'm left to work on the general computer at work where I don't have my files, Outlook, etc.

The T-shirt sales have been moving along. I'm not ready to be interviewed by Forbes yet, but during Succot when there were tourists here, we sold a couple every day, which did more for my ego than my pocketbook, but also pushed me to develop more designs (we're working on it now) and I'll soon order more.

I did learn that, while one would expect that the medium size would be the most popular, it's not....many people are simply built big, bigger, or biggest. So I'll have a lot of mediums around for quite a while.

Avishai is set to come home for a week, which will be nice. I'm trying to think of projects for him while he's at home. Maybe he can do some harvesting of the olives on our neighbor's tree, and I can pickle a can or two. Truthfully, it was mainly Yoni who used to eat our home-made olives, but it's fun to make them, and will justify the rooda (an herb) that I keep growing in the garden as a pickling spice for olives.

Changed the lock to the door, fixed the hose of the washing machine....so for now, whatever was broken has been fixed. Keeping my fingers crossed that that will be all for awhile.

Other than that, nothing much else to report. Hagai returned to school with my promise that if he behaves completely while he's in school, whenever he feels as though he won't be able to stay in class all day, he should tell me in the morning, and that day he'll have a dentist sppointment, or be sick, or need to help me, or something. He likes that solution and I haven't had any more calls from his teacher in...oh, about 4 days.

Monday, October 09, 2006

FAME III

Every time I find another link from the article, I see another part of the series, with some quotes and pictures of the Rappeports. Here's the third one that I saw:

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061006/NATION/610060359

Mideast conflict: Picking up the pieces
Israelis left with tough questions
Was conflict justified? Was army prepared?
Gordon Trowbridge / Detroit News Washington Bureau
About this seriesHundreds of Metro Detroit residents lost homes, businesses and loved ones in the bloody 34-day conflict between Israel and Lebanon that ended in August. This week, reporters and photographers from The News have explored the impact of the conflict on the two countries and on Metro Detroiters here and abroad.
SAFED, Israel -- The bomb shelters were locked. The army's commanders couldn't decide where to send troops. And despite massive aerial bombing, a ground invasion and heavy casualties, the Israeli military failed to stop the rain of rockets coming from southern Lebanon.
For Israelis, the monthlong war against Hezbollah has brought a host of doubts about the nation's political and military leadership. This is a nation unaccustomed to ambiguous endings to its wars, and the answers to those doubts are likely to play an enormous role in guiding Israel's future course.
"There's a feeling that something is wrong," said Laurie Rappeport, who grew up in Oak Park before moving to Israel two decades ago. "We have to be prepared to look at it. We need to be ready to open some deep wounds.
"How could we be so wrong, so unprepared?"
Uri Bar-Joseph, a political scientist at Haifa University, puts the national consensus this way: "Israel was not ready for war."
That's about as harsh an accusation as can be made in a nation forged by war.
Over 34 days this July and August, Israel suffered a stunning Hezbollah raid and the kidnap of two soldiers, the impact of nearly 4,000 Hezbollah rockets, and 157 deaths, most of them military. With Israeli forces withdrawn from southern Lebanon and a U.N. peacekeeping force now in place, Israelis now must face difficult questions:
Did Ehud Olmert, a rare Israeli prime minister without a general's experience, blunder in responding to the cross-border raid by Hezbollah that sparked this summer's war?
Was the military -- perhaps Israel's most respected institution -- ready for war and competently led?
Should previous governments have acted more aggressively against Hezbollah as the militant Islamic group built its arsenal of rockets in south Lebanon?
Why were so many communities in the north so badly prepared to care for citizens when those rockets began falling?
Most support response to Hezbollah
One decision few Israelis question: attacking Hezbollah. Public opinion polls show Israelis overwhelmingly supported the choice to go on the offensive after Hezbollah's mid-July raid, in which several Israeli soldiers were killed and two kidnapped.
"There was very broad popular support for the war -- it's the first time since 1973 (the last full-scale Arab-Israeli war) when the government enjoyed such support," said Bar-Joseph, an expert on Israeli public opinion.
"I haven't heard anybody who questions whether we should have responded," said Rappeport. The question, she said, is whether the political and military authorities were prepared.
Rappeport works in Safed for Livnot U'Lehibanot, an organization that brings North American Jews to Israel for education and to help public-service projects. During the war, those volunteers were busy helping with tasks such as supplying bomb shelters -- a task many Israelis believe local and national officials failed to take on. There also was widespread criticism of government performance in evacuating the poor and elderly from northern towns under fire from Hezbollah.
Was military underprepared?
The military, too, has come under scrutiny. In Israeli society, the armed forces hold a place similar to that of the U.S. military during World War II -- an institution in which virtually all citizens play some role, even in support, and which is held in esteem reserved for national saviors.
But many now question, Bar-Joseph said, whether a military that has spent the last decade on police-style missions in the refugee camps of the Palestinian territories was prepared for the well-trained fighters of Hezbollah's militia.
"That's not good preparation, and we felt the results in this war," he said.
It's an especially poignant question for Rappeport, whose oldest son, Avishai, is an infantryman in the Israeli's Golani Brigade, one of the country's most decorated units.
Avishai Rappeport's unit was in Gaza -- searching for a fellow soldier abducted by the Palestinian militant group Hamas -- when rockets began falling in the north. Within days, the brigade was on the Lebanese border, and soon across it.
"When you go into Gaza, you have this feeling that nothing is going to happen," said the 20-year-old. "Lebanon is different. Lebanon is scary. You just want to go in with (a squad of) 20 people and get out with 20 people."
Military's weaknesses showed
Despite a punishing aerial bombing campaign and the occupation of much of southern Lebanon, the Israel Defense Forces were unable to end Hezbollah's rocket attacks. While Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has proclaimed -- with some embellishment -- that Hezbollah defeated the vaunted Israeli military, Israelis were not encouraged.
"To have gone in and fought and not win in a strong way makes everything more dangerous," said Avraham Heller, a Petoskey native who lives now in Safed. The presence of a UN peacekeeping force now moving into southern Lebanon gives little comfort to Heller, who calls previous UN involvement "a disaster for us."
Despite the unease in the Israeli public, Bar-Joseph said he expects few changes, at least right away. Commissions set up to investigate parts of the war effort may not unearth much, and Olmert has shown few signs of changing his policies or management style -- leaving many Israelis wistfully remembering past leaders.
"Perhaps if we had a leader like David Ben Gurion," Israel's first prime minister, he said, "we would have done better."

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

FAME II






Here's the full article

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061003/NATION/610030392

It's actually pretty nice, though a bit fluffy. I should be relieved though -- reporters can do pretty much anything they want with the material that they collect, and it wouldn't have taken a genius to make us immigrants to Tzfat look like a bunch of militaristic psychopaths. But we came off as fairly...dare I say it? Normal?

Don't know how long the article will stay up on-line, but I'm going to paste it here below and put up the photos that they showed of our family, since it's a good bet that the webpage won't be there for long.

Gallery: Israel now home for some Metro Detroit Jews
The sunset begins the celebration of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, in Safed on Sept. 22. For 34 days, this city was under fire. Transplanted Michiganians found themselves in the middle of a war. See full image
Robin Buckson / The Detroit News
Laurie Rappeport, who grew up in Oak Park, prepares food in Safed, Israel, last month. Despite the July-August bombings, she says she "came here for a reason. I feel very connected to America, but this is what I've chosen." See full image


SAFED, Israel -- On the first day, the rockets set fire to the mountain. And as the residents of this hill town watched the forest burn across the valley on Mount Meron, even then they didn't know quite what was coming.
It was only the next evening, as the men were walking home from the synagogues, that the first rockets rained down on the town and the people of Safed understood they were in a war.
Hundreds of Americans, many of them from Michigan, have come over the decades to Safed, a quiet, artsy town of about 20,000 in the mountains between the Sea of Galilee and the Lebanese border that one resident describes as "the Berkeley of Israel."
One day in July, it became a battle zone.
It's an Israeli jet fighter, thought Laurie Rappeport, a mother of five who grew up in Oak Park. She had grown accustomed to Israeli air force jets flying low so close to Lebanon.
Then came the explosion, and the sprint to the front porch, and the sight of her youngest daughter, stunned but unharmed, tossed from the tree she was climbing by the blast of a Hezbollah rocket.
Just a day before, the Lebanese militant group had ambushed an Israeli army patrol, killing several soldiers and kidnapping two.
"It was such a shock," Rappeport said. "In the past when there's been a war, there's been this period of people yelling back and forth at one another, and then the hostilities start. Here, it was Wednesday afternoon when they kidnapped the soldiers, and Thursday we had rockets.
"It's a strange feeling, not knowing what to do and having to make all these decisions."
For 34 days in July and August, nearly 4,000 rockets fired by the militant group Hezbollah fell on northern Israel, hundreds of them in and around Safed. Transplanted Michiganians found themselves in the middle of a war.
The artist
The rockets had shattered the peace Avraham Loewenthal came to Safed to find.
Slender, quiet and meditative, the Southfield native found himself sprinting to the sound of sirens, worried about his wife, Rebecca, and their baby daughter.
"There were ambulances in the street," he said. One man, he learned, had been killed just up the hillside. "We didn't know if we should stay or leave." Soon, though, the choice became clear: protect their young daughter.
"We grabbed a couple things, as many friends as we could, and basically we took off under rocket fire," he said.
The art gallery Loewenthal left behind links the two disciplines for which Safed has become famous: the Jewish mysticism known as kabbalah, and art.
The first has been centered here for more than 500 years, when Jews fleeing persecution in Spain settled here -- including some of the most respected scholars of kabballah.
The second dates to the aftermath of Israel's war of independence in 1948. The Arabs of what had been a mixed Jewish-Arab city fled or were forced out. Israel's fledgling government took control of Safed's Muslim quarter. Painters, sculptors and other artists took advantage of the cheap real estate and made Safed Israel's art capital.
Loewenthal was a young art student more than 13 years ago, thinking of beginning a study of Eastern meditation practices, when he learned a similar discipline existed in his own religion. He wanted to study kabbalah, and decided Safed was the perfect place to do so.
His art focuses on his religious study: One set of works is an abstract portrayal of the notes traditionally played on the shofar, a ram's horn, at Rosh Hashana.
He came to Safed for peace, he said.
"I don't know so much about politics. I just want peace for everybody. We've come here hoping to spread peace, and here people are throwing rockets down on you."
The scholar
Avraham Heller is one of Judaism's meticulous men.
He spends long hours carefully crafting mezuzahs -- scrolls of Hebrew calligraphy inscribed with passages of Scripture, which are rolled up and encased in a small box to be placed on a Jewish home's doorpost. The work is exacting -- even minor mistakes can require him to start again from the beginning.
This work -- and careful religious scholarship -- are what brought him to Safed in 1990. His family comes from Detroit, but he grew up in Petoskey, along the northern Lake Michigan shore.
"I told him, 'It's so friendly here,' said his wife, Susan, a writer. " 'You've finally found your Jewish Petoskey.' "
When the Hezbollah attacks began, the decision to leave was especially difficult. There was a strong urge to stay and not be frightened from their homes, an urge encouraged by their rabbi. But their six children, from 11 months to 19 years old, were at risk, as was his 86-year-old mother.
After a difficult, sleepless night, the decision came: We're leaving for Netanya, near Tel Aviv. As they drove down the hillside out of town, hundreds of people lined the streets, waiting for evacuation buses.
For a man who describes himself as a onetime "leftist pacifist," the temporary displacement has been political as well.
"Our situation has definitely changed," he said. "Before, there was this lack of belief in reality. This was basically a massive terrorist attack. We have neighbor countries who are absolutely hostile to us."
The ones who stayed
As the rockets fell, Ted and Moreen Greenberg, and whomever else could fit, sheltered in the basement of their small Internet cafe in the city's artists quarter. With business in Safed dried up, Ted during the conflict landed a job with a telecommunications company in Jerusalem. But Moreen, who grew up in the Detroit area, stayed behind.
She was returning by bus with a friend from a nearby town when the rockets started to fall. The fear and confusion she saw made no sense.
"You wonder, 'What are all these people doing in the shelters?' " she said. "Until you get your first taste of it."
Weeks after the attacks, they're closing up the Internet shop. Ted's job has become full time, and they're setting up an apartment in Jerusalem. But they plan to keep their house in Safed, where Moreen works as an art instructor.
"It's our home," she said.
Nor will Sarah Miriam leave, though she is not sure why she remained throughout the war.
At one point, the Highland Park native was ready to get on a bus out of Safed. A friend had invited her to Spain. Get out of there, said the friend. And yet she didn't get on the bus.
It certainly wasn't for fun. Safed was nearly a ghost town. She vividly recalls arriving back home one day from the store, sweating from the hurry and the stress. She closed the door, she says, collapsed face-down on the concrete floor, and wept.
She almost decided not to speak to a reporter at all -- she has told very few people, she says, of her feelings. Eventually, she decided to talk, if only in the hope that what Safed has endured might bring someone who reads it closer to their Jewish roots.
"Light the (sabbath) candles," she said. "It's important. It's who you are. Light the candles."

Monday, October 02, 2006

Fame

http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060930/NATION/609300417/1020
Right before Rosh Hashana, two reporters arrived from the Detroit News to write about locals, originally from Michigan, who had made their home in Tzfat. They spent a lot of time in our house, and we feature in their upcoming article. Here's what's up in the meantime, (check out the link on the top of this post) but the reporter who is writing the story sent me a draft of the longer version, so there will be something more extensive written. Kind of fun. Glad I lost that weight last year, since my photo is obviously going to be seen by a lot of people!
Yom Kippur went well. We had a call from some high school girls a few days before the holiday....friends of a friend of a friend of Ariella....who were going to be in Tzfat with their school over Shabbat and wanted to stay on for Yom Kippur. Four girls. So Margalit moved out of her room for 2 nights and we basically let them move in. It was very sweet, and by the time we had our break-the-fast dinner, they and Hagai and Yochi were chatting away like old friends. It's the kind of message that I want to imbue to my kids...that we are an open home for guests, friends, and drop-ins. After the girls left, we talked a little about having guests for Shabbat, which traditionally the kids have shied away from. They admitted that they "don't mind" having guests (OK, I take it to extremes sometime), and I think that they also like the idea that someone can call us at the last minute (as Ascent did for last Shabbat's lunch and another friend of Ariella's did for erev Yom Kippur) and we always have plenty to serve and are happy to host. Certainly, having guests their own ages this Yom Kippur helped bring that message home (usually they're older).
Now on to Succot. I promised that we'd make chili for Friday night (thank GOODNESS Succot comes out together with Shabbat), and I'll make "mukpatz" -- chinese vegetables/chicken; tofu and veggies for the vegetarians) for Shabbat day, which Avishai likes.
It's interesting how a Shabbat or holiday can be made or broken according to the food. I mean, the food definitely makes or breaks the day. Vow for the new year...that's a lesson that must never be forgotten!
Here's the article, preserved here forever so when the Detroit New's webpage disappears, we'll always remember our 5 minutes....

SAFED, Israel -- Metro Detroit's large and active Jewish community has sent millions of dollars in donations over decades to support Israel.

But an even deeper tie resides not in dollars, but in people: Jewish families who have left Michigan and "made aliya" -- emigrated to Israel.
More than a half-dozen such families live in Safed, a small town high in the hills above the Sea of Galilee, a center of art and Jewish spiritualism -- and, for 34 days this July and August, a target of rockets fired from just a few miles to the north in Lebanon by the militant group Hezbollah.
For many of these families, the rain of Katyusha rockets was a vivid and all-too-personal reminder that the peace of their quaint mountain town is easily shattered.
"We live in a tough neighborhood," said Laurie Rappaport, who grew up in Oak Park but has lived in Israel for more than 20 years. A single mother, she and her children hurried south, along with hundreds of thousands of others from across Israel's north, when the war began in mid-July.
Certainly, Metro Detroit's ties are more than familial. The Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit has raised more than $13 million to aid families affected by the war; several thousand Metro Detroiters attended a July rally in support of Israel's campaign against Hezbollah, a militant Islamic group which most Americans consider a terrorist organization.
The local Jewish federation has for several years supported educational and other programs in communities near Nazareth in central Galilee, communities at the southern edge of the area struck by rockets from Lebanon.
But among the many former Michiganians living among the North American emigrant community in Safed's artists' quarter, the connections are to parents, friends and extended families back in Metro Detroit.
"I'll always think of myself as from Detroit," said Sarah Miriam, sitting in the kitchen of the small home in which she rode out the 34-day conflict. Born in Highland Park, she spent most of her childhood in New York and lived around the country before coming to Israel permanently several years ago. "I always say, it's Aretha, Madonna and me."
The families of Safed endured hundreds of rocket strikes; their town was one of the hardest hit in northern Israel. In all, the Israeli government estimates that 4,000 Hezbollah rockets struck Israel, hitting as far south as Haifa on the Mediterranean coast and Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee.
And while their families back home worry, none of these immigrants say they have considered returning to Michigan.
The worries over Hezbollah rocket attacks aren't really much different than the worries of parents in the United States, said Avraham Heller, who grew up in Petoskey and now lives in Safed with his wife and children.
"You get used to the kinds of fears that you have to get used to," he said

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

His Royal Majesty

His Royal Majesty Bagheera, sometimes known in the neighborhood as "Uncle Fred" (because he moves like an Uncle Fred) just came to honor us with a visit. Uncle Fred is a cat, half-ours and half Moshe Tov's, our neighbors...depending on where his majesty wishes to dine that day. We have, formally, three cats, though two spend a lot of time at Moshe Tov's (I'm sure that it's the food there) and the third, Miranda, has a bad habit of peeing around the house. Give me a good dog any day of the week...one who looks at you adoringly (have you ever seen a cat look at you adoringly?), rolls on its back to have its tummy scratched (ever seen a cat do that?) and basically knows that YOU are the mistress/master and IT is the creature. I have a problem with an animal who behaves as though you're lucky to be allowed to feed it.

Downloaded some recent pictures into my work computer (the disc that I get from the developer's won't let me save pictures into my computer, only send them via e-mail/Outlook, so I have to send the pictures to myself at work, because that's where I have Outlook, then download each one separately into the computer there, and THEN send them to myself at home, where I can send them on or post them. The camera isn't great so they're not really good pictures, but they do bear likenesses to the people that I photographed (my children) so I'll post some.

Time to put up the succa. Last year we bought a plastic tarp and roll-up schach, and life has been much easier since then -- no wooden boards, window, doors, branches, etc. It's definitely not as nice or warm, but it serves the purpose. I'm trying to simply keep the house from turning into a dump until the kids grow up and I can put some money into fixing things properly -- stop-gap actions in the meantime. Sigh. I pray every night that nothing serious breaks.

Pictures later.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Toot toot toot

This year, there was only one day of shofer-blowing, because the first day was on Shabbat -- no shofer then.

So I didn't push myself to get to shul on Saturday, but sat around and read, talked to the kids, and just relaxed. A bit of rationalization that strengthening my relationship with my offspring is a worthy project for Rosh Hashana, but hey, if you can't rationalize once in awhile, what's life all about?

Anyway, yesterday, Sunday, since I was able to get four out of five of my children out of the house to hear shofer-blowing in the morning, I felt a bit compelled to go myself, and landed at my neighbor's house, where they have a kind of Jewish-Renewal-type service. It's a bit risky for Tzfat, and sometimes a bit too New Age-y for me too, but most of the time, I like the atmosphere. The people are all very laid-back and accepting, and I figure that if I am looking for more traditional prayer, I can sit alone in my house (or go to any one of dozens of shuls in the area). This group, when they have a service, combine meditation, movement, drama, discussions, and various other ingredients to bring more meaning to the service and somehow it touches something in my search for a connection to Someone Above.

Before the shofer-blowing, someone had the idea of standing in a circle and making the sounds of blowing a shofer, as though each of us is trying to "bring out of our bodies" the things that are disturbing us, keeping us back, or interferring with our search for personal advancement. It was, to be honest, a bit weird -- kind of like what I've read about therapy through primal screaming (or whatever it's called). But it was also, after a certain point of feeling a bit foolish, neat, and cathartic, and I spent a few moments thinking about what I want to get out of my life this year and what I want to bring into my life.

One of the decisions that I made was that I want to come to a point where I stop trying to control my children's lives and find ways to GUIDE them. It's a fine line, and I have no doubt that I'll be making lots of mistakes, but I think that at least, I've identified where my own frustration lies in my relationship with them. And, I suspect, their frustration as well.

It doesn't mean that I'm going to be backing off on setting limits and guidelines in our lives. But just trying to grow together with them, and instead of always telling everyone what they should be doing, trying to step back and offer thoughts and guidance without giving them my recipie for how to live their lives.

We'll see where we stand next year.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Dull. HA!

If there's one thing that my life isn't, it's dull. When I think about everything that we've gone through during the past month, since returning from the south, I find myself amazed that I'm still standing.

Work, of course, has been pretty interesting. Livnot is coordinating volunteers who are coming to work in Tzfat, rebuilding and renovating bomb shelters to be used as public spaces...no one says it out loud, but everyone is aware that ultimately, the possibility is that they will need to be used again.

So I am the first contact that most new volunteers have, both initially by phone or e-mail, and then when they come. Interesting people, and very nice. We have volunteers almost every week for Shabbat lunch, and that's fun...I feel as though they're my window to the outside world sometimes, giving me the opportunity to see what's "off the mountain".

I did my biopsy too...I guess that I should be pleased that it's over, though I don't have the results yet. But at least whatever the question is here is now on its way to resolution, one way or another, and I'll deal with it.

Then, there's Ariella's dog, Lucy. (see previous eye-rolling posts). I told Ariella that, before she headed down to Tel Aviv for her National Service, she had to do something about Lucy, since I was unwilling to take on the care and feeding of a cat-killing Alsatian/German Shepard/Rotweiller. Not that Lucy isn't a fairly nice dog...she is. But I have enough on my plate. Anyway, Ariella gave Lucy to an Arab worker who promised her faithfully that he'd bring Lucy for visits, etc., and drove away with her, only to tell her subsequently that Lucy had "flown the coop".

Ariella was furious, but instead of shrugging her shoulders and figuring that the dog would have to make her own luck, Ariella spent several afternoons wandering around Nazareth and Nazareth Ilit, posting signs and talking to people. I was sorry to see her putting out so much effort, only to fail, but....she didn't fail! Last week, she got a call that Lucy was at the pound in Nazareth Ilit, and she headed up there to spring the mutt. Wednesday night at 3:00a.m., the two of them arrived at our door, hungry and relieved to be back together.

Then, the story gets even stranger. For the first time ever, I saw an ad on the local Tzfat e-newsletter from a woman whose neighbor had lost a GERMAN SHEPARD and was LOOKING FOR ANOTHER ONE! Can you believe it? Ariella wasn't thrilled about another separation, but I stuck to my original statement...Lucy couldn't stay here....so Thursday afternoon, we took the dog to this lady who was enthralled with Lucy and took to her with all her heart.

Now I have to hope that she's not tied up (Ariella was worried that the woman was going to keep her tied because of her other experience with having a dog stolen out of her yard) because that will cancel the entire deal. But for now....as everyone who hears the story has noted, that dog must have some sort of special gilgul! (reincarnation).

I'm taking bets that Hagai will be doing home-schooling before the year is out. It would be good for him, I think...he's an independent learner, and he finds it hard to sit for so long in the classroom, especially 4 hours of Gemorah every day. WHY do they have to make the religious school system so rigid? They end up alienating so many kids...I suggested to the Rav that he let Hagai learn independently, but from what Hagai says, he's not willing to take him out of the "framework". So I let Hagai know that the option is open, and when he's ready, he can let me know.

Went to Yochi's school yesterday for a parents meeting. I had to leave the house at 7:45p.m., just after Margalit got home from playing at her friends' house, and didn't want to come home later than 9:00p.m. so that I could put her to sleep...otherwise, she'd be awake all night. It gets wearing, doing everything. But I've noticed that the kids have become very protective of me...they see that I'm doing everything, and they try to compensate in many ways. Still, I feel like Cinderella sometimes...don't get out much.

Yochi's teacher mentioned that they had a drill at the school last week where the girls were supposed to go into the shelter. They told the girls several times that there would be a drill, that a siren would be sounded, and they told them exactly when the drill would take place. But still and all, when the sirin sounded, several girls simply went to pieces. The trauma of the war is going to be with us for years to come.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Getting back to "normal"

I walked into the Livnot campus on Thursday morning to find 8 huge bags of clothes and toys. American donors had bagged up tons of stuff and just blindly sent it, knowing that somehow, it would get to the right people, and sure enough, it will. If you think about it, it's pretty amazing. Some people went out and spent several hundred (probably thousand) dollars to send bags of nice toys and childrens' clothes to some kids in the North that they had never met. They sent the bags with other people whom they didn't know -- they made contact with them through internet and just knew that they were travelling to Israel. Once those messengers got to Israel, they sent it on to the LIvnot campus, trusting totally that the unknown people at the Livnot campus would get it to the right place. Then, the Jerusalem Livnot people put it on a bus that was coming to Tzfat, it arrived at the Tzfat campus, and within a few days, we will insure that it's distributed to kids who need the lift that new clothes and toys will give them.

There have been some suprising developments in many people's lives since the war, most noticably the number of people who are leaving Tzfat. There are several families who were planning to leave anyway for various reasons -- jobs, schooling, etc. But I also know people who spent the time while in the south looking around to see what other opportunities there are there, and now they're leaving. It's not a flood, but it's still significant, and many of these people are my friends, so it'll be hard to see them leave.

Nice Shabbat. Great food. I cooked it. I ate too much of it though. Ah well.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

YALLAH

OK, we're all going to be sorry that I ever learned how to make a website! (Never mind that it's a site that allows you to create your webpage by walking you through it while holding your hand).

Ta DA! www.tzfat.bravehost.com!

Check it out!

I also saw Elisheva today, the graphic artist who designed the Tzfatshirt, and she was really pleased, and is going to start on some more designs.

So there's no choice...we have to make this thing go.

Elisheva is one of the people who has left Tzfat as a result of the "situation". She's incredibly talented, but there was just never any work in Tzfat for her, and she was getting frustrated, so she used the opportunity to try and see what is available for her in Jerusalem. It's not easy there either -- on the one hand, there are a lot more opportunities there. On the other hand, this summer there have been SEVEN planeloads of American olim (immigrants) who have come to Israel, and you can assume that most of them are looking for jobs too. So she's struggling, and I hope that this will work out for her.

Woke up last night about 3:00a.m. with Margalit, who has taken to sleeping in my bed. Margalit, Jenny, and I (Jenny is the 4-legged one with fur -- small, as dogs go, but she still wiggles a lot) in one not-so-huge bed doesn't give me much of a good night's sleep, but it's nice chatting with Margalit a bit before she goes to sleep...makes me feel like I'm giving her some attention. Oh well, the time will come when she doesn't want to be seen with me, so I might as well give her the attention now.

At any rate, she woke up with a roaring headache, and until the Optigin took affect, she was miserable and I was beside myself -- tired and worried. At any rate, it lessened, and she returned to sleep, but by the time I did, it was quite a bit later. I had a lot of trouble sleeping last night, just feeling sorry for someone who I know who looks like he's sinking, but can't seem to understand how to start floating again. I shouldn't let it bother me so much, but it does.

We set aside this afternoon to get some school supplies, so I'd better go.

If Avishai ever brings back my camera from the army, I might be able to post some more pictures.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Finding Ourselves


First Tzfatshirt design: caption is from R' Nachman of Breslav saying "Kol HaOlam Kulo, Gesher Tzar Meod" -- "All the World is a Narrow Bridge, Cross it with Courage". Orders at laurierappeport@gmail.com me!

Last night I suddenly remembered that Hagai had mentioned to me last week that he couldn't find his tefillin, but he had another pair, and that I'd never followed up on it. Considering that a pair of good tefillin costs 2500 shekels (about $600) you would think that I would have jumped, but at the time, I just assumed that Avishai had accidently taken them with him when he returned to the army (Hagai said that he thought that they'd been in his bag) or he'd swapped them by mistake with a friends' tefillin when he camped out with his friends. All of a sudden, I realized that I hadn't yet heard the end of this story.

Turns out that the pair that he thought that he did have were just an empty box , Avishai doesn't have Hagai's tefillin, and in the meantime, Hagai just hasn't been putting on tefillin.

I called the family that we stayed with in Bat Ayin, and sure enough, they're there. Thank goodness. But Hagai and I didn't go to bed last night very happy with each other.

Next group of items to take care of: my breast biopsy, yearly dental visits, school supplies, trying to promote my tshirt business and get it going a bit, and, the biggie....getting my windows replaced. Frankly, I'd be happy to get some glass in them and forget the American glass-Low E-double-panes-hotsy totsy stuff, but everyone is pushing me to get estimates for the BEST (OK, they're they best windows), and pressure the compensation authorities to order me the correct glass, if not new windows. I have NO IDEA of what I'm doing! I don't even know enough about the damned things to tell the estimator what I'm demanding. AND I JUST DON'T CARE! Ah well, it's on the list.....

Thank God I have enough money to finish the month. I'm honestly not sure how, because there were no room rentals during the past 5 weeks (though the room will be rented for Shabbat!) and I had a ton of unexpected expenses. But I see that when all the bills are paid, I'm doing OK. Don't understand it, but I do believe that there is something to the saying that everyone will have exactly as much money as God wants them to have (though obviously we all have to make our own efforts) . I'm going to try to start tutoring english again, because that's good money, and try to develop the rental room, as well as the t-shirt business. The things that I had been planning to save up for during the summer with the rentals, such as Yochi's winter trip to the States (as part of the Partnership 2000 Mission) and some other things have, obviously, not been saved up for, so it's time to get in gear and start saving.

We'll see. In the meantime, here's the design for the wonderful Tzfatshirt, model #1 -- orders are welcome!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Re-entry

Mt Meron burning after a Katyusha attack
First day back at work. I walked in to the office and right away realized that I wouldn't be able to do anything until I cleaned up the dust a bit. What can I say...it's hard for me to live with true dirt. A bit of dust, OK. But I like things clean.

Anyway, after cleaning and getting my computer back working (with a bit of help...one of these days I'll be an expert) I spent a few hours running around with one of the LIvnot staff and a guy from Baltimore who brought a group of 20 guys to volunteer from Baltimore. What an amazing group! They got right into the work, and were amazing.

The first place that we visited was a local girls' college which had gotten hit. It sits smack in between two ancient synagogues, Abuhav and Alsheich, but the synagogues were basically untouched. It was shocking to see how much damage the katyusha did to the ancient house. What was even more thought-provoking was that 4000 katyushas had been lobbed into Israel over the last month, and relatively few people were hurt or died. This is not to diminish from those who did suffer, and there were many. But it could have been much worse.

Then we visited the Ethiopian Absorption Center, where a katyusha had plowed into an apartment last week. It hit the center of the building, but again, a miracle...it rammed into an apartment which was empty, and was generally used as an office. The volunteers were sweating with work, taking out the rubble, and the new immigrant Ethiopian residents went in periodically to marvel at how close the destruction had come to them.

One of the most distressing things to see here is the forests around Tzfat. So much of the area is burned, parched, destroyed....it will be years until the ecological damage is repaired.

Hoping for the cease fire to hold, but I'm not totally optimistic. This morning, I woke up at about 6:00a.m. and heard a vague thumping sound. I immediately thought that the war had started up again, until I looked down and saw that it was just Jenny, our Jack Russell Terrier, snoring. Phew. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 14, 2006

There's no place like home. Really.

We did it. Got in the car and headed back to Tzfat this morning, cease fire or not...it was just time. The journey, once I got out of Jerusalem (had to fix a leaky tire and get someone to check the oil, which is buried under the driver's seat in a Nissan Largo) was quick and easy, and we were back by 2:00p.m. It was great to see Ariella again, and Everyone is in a great mood. Of course the video is on now, but now that the clothes are put away and some initial food shopping has been completed, I'm starting to relax.

It is so great to be home. Lots to do here -- I'm making a list, there's so much. But I'm hoping that life can get back to normal now, and I can begin to catch up on cleaning the house, talking to friends, work, bills, health issues....this past month, in many ways, was kind of like living in Neverland, and I hope to look forward to getting back to Realland.

Of course, I have my doubts about this cease-fire.....

Sunday, August 13, 2006

HAD IT

OK, that's it. We've decided...we're going back to Tzfat tomorrow.

Ariella washed the floors, so I don't have to dread coming back to a disgusting house. We'll stop in Modi'in and see Lola on the way...that should make Hagai and Yochi happy.

I'll try to find camps for Margalit, my main problem.

It's time to go.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Pride before the...you know

I had always prided myself on the fact that I didn't smother my children with worry. Not alot of "nos", though if you ask Avishai, he'll tell you that he had 100% more "nos" than the younger kids. OK, probably true.

So when Avishai got out of basic training and started going on missions, I tried to keep everything calm, not worry, and remember that if we do everything that we can, and he does everything that he can, "y'hi b'seder" -- it will be OK.

So why couldn't I sleep until 3:00a.m. last night?

Yochi and Hagai came back today. It's so good to see them. They had a wonderful time visiting the grandparents, and had lots of stories and experiences to relate. margalit has already started to get on their nerves, and vice versa. Yoni stayed in Germany -- he has a friend there. I thought that Margalit was going to melt down in the airport, she had been looking forward to seeing him for so many weeks. these last few weeks have been harder on her than anyone.

Yochi is interested in going up to Tzfat to volunteer, and Hagai is interested too. So now I'm back to my original question. At what point can I meet my personal desires to go back while not disturbing Margalit's routine (she has the day camp that she likes) and peace of mind? I feel as though there's so much that I could do there...workwise, volunteer-wise, and family-wise. Don't know what the answer is.

Laurie

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Perspectives

I had a dream a few nights ago. I was dreaming that I was living during the holocaust, frantically digging a hole in the ground in preparation to go into hiding with my children. I was packing, trying to think about everything that we'd need for an extended period of hiding, trying to calm my children, and just trying to stay calm. Suddenly, someone I know lay down next to me, on his stomach, with his head in his hands, and just stayed that way, watching me. Then, he got up, said "I have to go now" and walked out. That scene keeps playing itself out in my mind.

It also reminds me that, evacuated or not, I have things relatively easy. I can manage with my funds, get around, work, and I have a home (friends' home,but it's still a home) to move around in. I don't have small children to entertain (though Margalit is a challenge....if she were cloned I'd be in big trouble), and am not squeezed in with too many other people.

How could the people who hid in barns, under houses, in attics....how could they survive, emotionally and mentally, a mere 65 years ago? For years, in some cases? With little food, no air, no entertainment....I don't know how they did it.

Avishai called last night. They were on their way up to Kibbutz Snir, and were going to be crossing into Lebanon last night. I will never again read the news about soldiers being hurt or killed in the same way. For some reason, I didn't feel so panic-stricken when he was in Gaza, or even jenin, even thought the terrorists there didn't want to kill the soldiers any less than they do in Lebanon. But this is war, and things are different. I told him that I wasn't worried, and that everything would be fine, and I'd look forward to seeing him soon. I've read that soldier's biggest worry is the concern about their family's worry, and I didn't want Avishai feeling that pressure. But it's intense, thinking about him all day.

Yochi and Hagai are scheduled to come home tomorrow. I need to find a way to bring them to Jerusalem by train, because there's going to be a Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem tomorrow, (or a demonstration because the parade wasn't allowed to go forth...I'm not clear on which) and I'm betting that traffic will be backed up.

It'll be great to see them after their America adventure.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Reving up

New week. Shabbat was nice. I heard that friends came to get Ariella out of the house for Shabbat lunch...God bless our friends! They talked about getting her involved in some kind of volunteer work, which would be amazing for her. I suggested that if someone could come and pick her up, she'd be more likely to get out, because I think that she's simply scared to move, and they said that they'd try. I'm blessed to know such amazing people.

I took a walk today to a kibbutz which is next to the yishuv where I'm staying, and heard that the family that was katyusha'd next to our house (the whole family was injured....Margalit had been talking to one of the little girls when the katyusha hit) is staying at that kibbutz, so I promised Margalit that we'd go to visit. That should be nice for her.

Avishai is scheduled to go to the second funeral of the soldier from his unit tomorrow in Ramle, and I hope that we can meet before he heads back. Maybe he can come through Jerusalem, if not, I'll meet him in Ramle, which is nearer to Tel Aviv, but who cares?

Dyed my hair and cut my bangs...I feel human again!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Defending your children

Time was, once upon a time, that being a good mother entailed making sure that my children had all the attention that I could give them, all the love that I could give them, plus some discipline, worry that they were dressed correctly, had good school and friend situations, good educational opportunities outside of school, and...again....lots of love.

And then, they grow up.

Ariella is in Tzfat now. Not because she's volunteering or assisting in any way. But because she doesn't have anywhere else to take her dog. The dog is huge, a bit wild, loud, and no one (me included) wants it around. So she's living on her own in our house, with no fully sheltered room. Doesn't leave, hangs out on her own....how do I manage to help her learn to make good, healthy decisions for herself? Whatever I say, it's "oh, ema, enough!" But there she is, sitting in katyusha-country, doing nothing.

Then, there's Avishai. Twenty years old and today he's burying two friends...guys who have been in his unit in the army for the past two years. Avishai was in punnishment for a week and "missed" his unit's first incursion into Lebanon -- an action which resulted in the deaths of two wonderful soldiers, friends, mates, and the wounding of his officer. I spoke to him today as he was with his officer in Rambam hospital. His plans for the day included staying with his officer until one of the funerals which was to be held in Haifa, and then going to Katzrin, in the Golan, where the rest of his unit is stationed to continue on with them whatever they will be doing.

And there was nothing to say to him. "I'm sorry". Two young men who had their lives ahead of them, and who are now being buried because they chose, as my son has, to fight to protect their country and families. My heart aches for their families, for my son, for all his friends -- twenty years old. Nothing.

Took Margalit and the kids whose families I am staying at to the zoo today.

Shabbat Shalom.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Tisha B'Av

There's nothing like Tisha B'Av to put a little perspective on our situation.

The day that commemorates not only the destruction of the First and Second Temples, but also the starvation and massacares of the populations of Jerusalem in those times, numerous mass-killings and expulsions of Jews throughout the centuries,and untold sufferings of the Jewish people for thousands of years...well, it does put our present "matzav' into some sort of perspective.

I recently received a letter from a cousin who wrote that he can't imagine living with a billion-and-a-half people who want to kill me living next door. What I realized afterward was that I should have pointed out that, while they don't live next door to him, they want to kill HIM too. And his wife. And his kids. The people who want me dead don't want me dead because I'm Israeli, they want me dead because I'm Jewish. And that hasn't changed for thousands of years.

Heard from Avishai yesterday. He was let out of his week of detention (he shot off a bullet by mistake, so has been in punnishment, guarding in a prison for the last week) and will come by Jerusalem to see me today. I had hoped that he'd have Shabbat with us here, but his unit is scheduled to enter Lebanon on Friday, and he wants to be with them, so he'll sleep tonight in Tzfat and then head up north from there.

Worried? Don't ask. But this was our ideology when we came to israel, and still is mine...that we have to do whatever we can to prevent our enemies from destroying us. I can't expect everyone else to send their sons to war while mine sits quietly....I can't expect other mothers to live with worry while I am complacent. If the slogan 'WE ARE ONE" has any teeth behind it, we can't just say it...we have to live it.

Avishai has obviously imbued that belief...he has given up his free Shabbat in order to be with his unit and participate in whatever awaits him. And worried as I am, I truely believe that it's all in God's hands. If he does his job, and we do ours (to act properly, pray, do mitzvot), if God wants him to come out of this, he will.

Hope that I have enough reading material to get me through the day.

Gnaw, gnaw


Just saw a report on the news that a katyusha scored a direct hit on a Tzfat house this morning. Which house? Occupied? In my neighborhood? Someone I know? Near my daughter, who is in Tzfat with her dog? (because no one will host her dog, cat-killer that it is). I'm plotzing.

I've set up another blog, viewfromtzfat which is dedicated to compiling the experiences of Tzfat residents and volunteers who are in Tzfat during this period. It's through my work with Livnot, because Livnot is one of the organizations that is organizing relief efforts in Tzfat now.

The need for volunteers is acute, and once again, I feel guilty that I'm not there. I have a car, and cars are needed. I can get around, have contacts, know my way around, and am in good health (I think...never did have that biopsy, since it was scheduled for the Sunday after I evacuated) so I could really be of assistance. I just don't have anything to do with margalit.....

In the meantime, there's a wonderful kaytana (camp) running daily in the Jerusalem area for Northern kids. Don't know yet who sponsors it, but Margalit had a wonderful time yesterday, and was looking forward to going back today. Interestingly enough, the staff is all english-speaking (Americans) and the kids also seem to all be english-speaking. Don't know exactly how that happened, but it should help Margalit with her english! Also, she'll definitely return to Tzfat with more of a knowledge of baseball and American football than most other kids in Tzfat!

Tomorrow is Tisha B'av. I'm thinking about going to Kever Rachel, Tomb of Rachel...I've never been, and as long as I'm here, I might as well make use of my "vacation".

Monday, July 31, 2006

Week #3

As of this morning, we are officially week #3 "on the road". However, we split up from the other family that we were staying with (their grandmother rented an apartment in Jerusalem for them) and have moved closer to Jerusalem, so not only do we have more physical space, but I'm near Jerusalem and can (if Margalit manages not to annoy her playmate too much) get in to work every day. My computer was brought down to Jerusalem from Tzfat, and I feel useful again.

Another plus in our new "digs" is that the wife, a friend, doesn't really like to cook, (not during the week, anyway....her Shabbat meals are wonderful) so I've been able to cook a few dinners, again, making me feel useful, and at the same time, doing something that I enjoy. Yes, I like to cook. I didn't reach Weight Watchers by not liking food!

We spent Shabbat in Modi'in again, at the apartment of a family that was away for Shabbat. They had offered to take Lola, at least until this "situation" is finished, and maybe for good. Yochi called to say Shabbat Shalom from the States, and was upset to hear that Lola might be leaving us, but I am having enough trouble managing with 2 little dogs...the third, though she's an amazingly gentle and easy animal, was getting to be quite enough.

so the nomad life is continuing, and I'm resigned to being here for awhile. I have to say that there's a tremendous lesson in humility in this whole episode. We, who are accustomed to be asked to help others, and who pride ourselves on our ability to help whenever we can, are now in a position of relying on being helped. It's a bit of a tikkun -- life lesson -- and I can't say that I'm enjoying it, but I am trying to recognize it for what it is.

This was sent out regarding our neighbors who were injured in one of the first attacks on Tzfat, across the street from our house :
MiITVA: A Family in Need from TZFAT
Before the Fast of Tammuz was over The Mor Family, of Tzfat (formerly of Petah Tikvah) were miraculously saved by a direct hit to their house, landing in their kichen where the mother and 4 of the five children, ages 7-1, were standing there. They were released from Rambam Hospital this week and are residing in Kibbuz Gush Etzion, until their home in Tzfat can be repaired. I, Dr. Wendy Tikva Cohen, their neighbor and close friend have, with their full permission and need, started :
THE MOR FAMILY FUND.
Give generously or whatever you can afford. Please remember Tzeducka (Charity) saves the World!! And please pass this email on to any of your friends and family around the World!
For their names to pray for and for further information on how you can help them please contact me at tikvacohen@ yahoo.com.
Tzion Mor, is a Sofer and you can help them by ordering mezuzzas or a Safer Torah.
Please if their is anyone I can send a package to who could deliver it to them in Gush Etzion, please contact me if possible before Shabbot or anytime near thereafter.
G-d bless all of the people of Israel to be safe and to see Peace, full and uncondi-tional and a Refuah Shlema (complete healing) for this exceptional family of Tzfat.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The big changes in life

I think I see how people move through life...I feel like I'm living it in a microcosim. One doesn't turn one's life upside down in a few hours....it's a process of moving 2 steps forward, one back, two steps forward again....until one has again arrived at the next flat station of life. And then, after a period of time, when change is due again, the process starts again.

I was thinking about that as I try to work out my life for the next few weeks, since this "situation" doesn't seem as though it's going to be finished so quickly. the number of rockets raining down on Tzfat is as numerous as ever (in addition to hundreds more throughout the north) and, although I support the army, patience is not my strong point.

So I would like to go to Jerusalem, where I could, theoretically, work (Livnot has a Jerusalem campus, and I am, I am told, needed).
#1. What can I do with Margalit?
#2. What can I do with the dogs?
#3. What can I do with Ariella (and her wolfhound)?

Number one is the toughest. Margalit is 10, old enough to be unwilling to hang around with any babysitter, but young enough to need supervision. I can, I was told, live at the LIvnot campus in Jerusalem, so that would be taken care of. But what would I do with Margalit while I was working? I'm presently looking for day camps, one phone call at a time.

Number 2. I think that I found Lola a home, with a new immigrant family in Modi'in. I was supposed to take her there today, but then they said that they would be going to Jerusalem for Shabbat, so they would prefer waiting until Sunday. It wasn't until several hours later that the light bulb went off...if they're in Jerusalem, their apt in Modi'in (near friends, with a girl Margalit's age! whom she enjoys playing with!) will be free. So I called them back, and they said that we'd be more than welcome to use their house over Shabbat. Hurray! Now, I will pick up Margalit on Friday from her 3-day camp, go to Modi'in with her and Lola, stay over Shabbat, leave Lola there with the host family, and hopefully move on to Jerusalem. If I can find a kaytana......
#3. Impossible situation. I'm at wits end. Love my daughter, but being around her makes me into a nervous wreck.

Here's the recent letter from Livnot to alumni and friends about their lives as coordinators of the volunteer activities in Tzfat these days. Aharon, the Executive Director of LIvnot, spent today running around to shelters fixing toilets.

"It is a busy Sunday in Tzfat after a powerful and amazing Shabbat here atLivnot. We were honored to host Rabbi Avi Weiss and Rabbi Yonah Berman fromRiverdale, New York, as well as Rabbi Adam Scheier from Quebec. We were also joined by the entire Nachmani family and four volunteers from America. NuahPadmore also joined us, an IDF soldier staying at Livnot who is in charge ofadvising civilian officials and the municipality on how to manage the city of Tzfat during this crisis. They all came specifically to volunteer theirtime, bring joy to those stuck in bomb shelters, and express theirsolidarity with Israel and her citizens.The usual bustling Tzfat on a Friday afternoon was akin to a ghost town - the bakeries, kiosks and grocery stores are closed. In fact all of the shopson Jerusalem Street are closed, with only one vegetable store stilloperating. The majority of the population of Tzfat has evacuated, with the remaining citizens sitting at home or holed up in bomb shelters.With planes flying over the hills to put out fires from katyusha rockets amere kilometer away, and planes heading to Lebanon to fight for Israel, we stood together to have Kabbalat Shabbat on the famous Livnot porchoverlooking Mount Meron. As the sun finished setting, and with synagoguesclosed, we headed to the center of the Old City, where we were joined by the Chief Rabbi of Tzfat and about twenty other brave souls to pray in thekikar. There we danced, smiling and laughing, welcoming in Shabbat againstthe background noise of our artillery taking out targets in southern Lebanon. After Friday night dinner which ended at one in the morning, wewent to meet with the mayor of the city in the "war room," a bunker in thecity center which houses the main operations of the city, and is open to everyone to walk in and share their needs with the mayor and the armyofficers assisting him. All sitting around a large table, we sang and triedto bring some Shabbat simcha during these trying times.On Shabbat we headed out to the citizens of Tzfat to visit them. After being inside for days, the simple power of talking with them and singing Shabbatsongs cannot be overstated. Some of them are in shock and are too scared toleave their homes to get food. Filipino caretakers of the elderly fled when the rockets started to fall and they have no one to take care of them. Tiredparents welcome us into their bomb shelters to play with their children sothey can get some rest. One woman who is living in a bomb shelter came ten years ago from Ethiopia to Israel with her mother and daughter, who is goingto the army in a few months. The woman told us that when she came to theabsorption center in Tzfat she saw a huge mural on the wall with a painting of her grandfather among other olim, the first of four generations of herfamily in Tzfat. At that moment I realized that a Livnot group in 1983painted the mural. One of the many Livnot connections in Tzfat.Our last stop was the Tzfat Hospital, which was hit several days ago by akatyusha, where we sat with patients and played games with children. We alsovisited two soldiers who had just returned from the Lebanese border. One of the soldiers was hit in the neck by shrapnel, three millimeters from hisspine. We received news that he had surgery on Shabbat and might walk out ofthe hospital tomorrow. The other soldier was in southern Lebanon, wounded in a tank and brought into a Lebanese house that was under fire for two days.He was taken by tank to the border, switched to a car, then to an ambulanceand flown in to the Tzfat hospital.There are miracles happening here everyday. My son, Eliezer, goes to the woods surrounding Tzfat every Friday to meditate for one hour at a naturalspring where he goes to a mikveh, always in the same place. On Friday, hegot into his car and drove there as usual. On the road, an old man was hitchhiking, and Eliezer stopped to see if he could give him a ride. The manasked to be taken to the Ari mikveh, which was in the opposite direction ofwhere Eliezer was going. He tried to refuse, but the man had already got into the car and there was no arguing with him. So he took the man to themikveh, thinking that he will still have time to meditate before Shabbat.After the mikveh, the man wanted to go to the grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, at Mount Meron. Again, there was no arguing with him, and Eliezerjust gave in.Only upon returning to my house to prepare for Shabbat, Eliezer saw from theliving room window that a Katyusha rocket fell exactly on the spot in the woods where he usually meditated - a miracle. And there are so many stories- people who leave their house a few minutes before it gets hit, twoincomplete minyanim in shuls across the street argue in which synagogue to congregate, finally one group goes over to the other and a minute after, theemptied shul gets a direct hit. A rocket passes ten centimeters to the leftor the right and is stopped by an obstacle, preventing it from hitting directly into a house full of people and I could go on...To date over 300katyushas have fallen in Tzfat but we still hear of miracles all around us.We continue to receive volunteers on a daily basis, those flying in from America as well as volunteers from all over Israel. Livnot is giving them aplace to stay and is busy helping the people of Tzfat.We wish you a shavua tov, we will continue to give updates and please keepus in your prayers.Besorot Tovot,Aharon and MiriamLivnot U'Lehibanot"

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Decisions

So, here we are. Ariella arrived last night with Lucy, her cat-killing shepard. I made it clear to her that Lucy had to be kept tied up, but it's one more barker to keep track of.

Someone in Modi'in may want Lola, at least to take care of her while we're down here. I need to call.

Margalit and Meira, the 10-year-old of the family that's staying in Hemed with us, are now fussing at each other full-time, and Margalit is threatening NOT to go to the kaitana if Meira goes. If she doesn't go away for a couple of days, I'm going to go!

One of the girls in the other families seems to have heat stroke.

We should really leave and give this family, where we've been staying, a break. They are true tzaddikim, hosting us, never complaining, always smiling...who else is going to take 3 females and 4 dogs? One of whom kills cats? (one of the dogs, I mean) And Ariella doesn't exactly dress in a way that would allow me to take her to a religious neighborhood.


Personally, I'm bored out of my mind, sick of driving everywhere, tired of trying to keep Margalit amused and happy (bowling yesterday was a big hit) and itching to do something useful. I'd like to go back to Tzfat and help...Livnot is organizing volunteers to deliver supplies to the shelters. but I can't leave Margalit.

I wake up every night and lay awake for hours, thinking....what am I going to do?

Well, I guess today we're going to go to to a local game/play area which is free for refugees, and then to the pool, for one last swim before the 9 days of Av (a period of mourning for Jews begins.) I'll start on the phone calls again tonight.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

A new week

We went to Modi'in for Shabbat, because the family that we've been staying with in Hemed was expecting guests. The Shabbat was wonderful, and our hosts have a 10-year-old so there was plenty for Margalit (and her friend Meira, who is travelling with us) to play with.

The english-speaking community in Modi'in is very cohesive...Modern Orthodox, and tightly knit. Friday night, many get together in the backyard of the family that was hosting us for a Kabbalat Shabbat, Carlebach style. then on Saturday morning, they have a tradition of getting together again for a "Rambam group", a group of mostly men who do an extended kiddush with a good amount of alcohol, good stuff, a bit of food, and a little talk of Torah. Most of the talk, it seemed to me, revolved around the various drinks available.

Then, for lunch, in addition to myself and Margalit and Sharon and her girls, there were 2 other families invited. One has been in Israel for 6 months -- a young couple with a 4-year-old girl and 2-year-old triplet boys! The other couple just arrived 2 weeks ago. What a welcome for newcomers to Israel! Anyway, between the pitcher of Tom Collins on the table, 3 bottles of nice wine, schnapps, and some beer at the end (the host, David, is a brewmaster, and in the process of starting a micro-brewery in Israel), the "lunch" went on until 5:00p.m.! By that time, I, who had done justice to the Tom collins pitcher and the wine, needed a nap, but everyone will be pleased to hear that I didn't do anything to embarass myself...just stumbled up the stairs and took a nice rest. Truthfully, after these last 10 days, I think that i deserve a bit of a bender.

Today we went to Mini-Israel and then, on to a pool....pleasant for the girls. I'm wiped out by all the driving, unfinished chores that I need to do in someone else's house with someone else's equipment while disturbing someone else's peace....if I could go home right now, I would.

However, the katyushas continue to fall on Tzfat, and if for no other reason than to keep Margalit sane, I remain. Ariella was in Tzfat until today, but yesterday, one fell on the house next door to where she was staying, and today's barrage made her head down to us, and she's expected (with her hound) any moment. Heaven help us.

Someone posted some of the recent pictures of what's happening in Tzfat.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Some stories......

Here are a couple of personal stories from neighbors/friends:

1.
Dearest Friends and Families; Neighbors from Tsfat who left and those who remained; Partners and Associates in Israel and Abroad, and to the few of you who made their way into my address book thanks to Bayit Chadash or other mail lists;

God's Blessings upon us all for Peace, Safety and Prosperity; May we all be protected from the wrath of war.

As NatanYah is well into her 9 th month and being that the repeated rocketing of our normally peaceful little ancient city was disturbing her and our little boys, and seeing as how Carol, our midwife, called us on Friday afternoon to invite us to her Yishuv for Shabbat rather than kiddush in a bomb shelter; we had decided to leave our lovely home in Safed's Artist's Quarter for the Religious Zionist community of Hosha'aya, a few miles from Nazereth. Our beloved friends, Racheli and Zion, had earlier invited us to their studio apartment in Tel Aviv (they would go stay at their parents) and as sweet an offer as that was, this later offer came with a ride, as I had no car and the Egged Central Station had been hit by a katusha an hour earlier as our friend Mike, who was waiting to leave town to see his son in the south, said busses were canceled for the day.

Carol gave us an hour to think about it. The news mentioned a katusha that struck 2 km from the Jordan River Wildlife Park where we had originally intended to camp out for Shabbat with Simcha Laya and her children, and I felt that our stone house was more secure than our nylon tent and so, despite NatanYah and Simcha Laya's feelings to the contrary, I put my foot down and squashed the camping plans.
Good thing too, as the park area itself was struck by a missile as well as Tiberias, on Saturday afternoon.

We heard from friends in Italy that, as of Friday at least, the media was making it seem as though the Israeli attack on Lebanon was only in response to the kidnapping of the two soldiers. They never mentioned the multiple missile attacks of over 200 katushas in two days. I suppose now, that Haifa is being rocketed and the death toll is into the double digits, that the media will finally mention the rain of rockets, at least as a side point.

Another rocket in Thursday's first barrage had damaged Beit Maimon, the furniture store where we bought our fridge, just a 2 minute walk from our home, and perhaps 50 meters from Michael and Lisabeth Oxman. They left town after the second barrage terrified their children and I hope they'll contact us soon, and with a phone number.

That second barrage struck a neighbors house near the Lessers and right behind the Reznicks, in the Artist's Quarter. Avraham Lesser heroically trudged through the mud and spray of a busted water main to the house, found three bloodied children and carried them down to the next street of Keren Hayasod to meet the ambulance. The medics found their mother in shock with a compound fracture to her leg and took them all to the Sieff hospital in Safed.
I merely turned off the watermain.

At the entrance to the Rimonim Inn road, near Tsfat's Canyon Mall (the Lamest Mall on Earth) another katusha struck the intersection, making a small crater, blowing off the doors of an art gallery, blowing out all the windows and tires of a nearby VW van and cracking a few windows of our deputy mayor and local entrepreneur, Reuven Sade, whose house stands on that corner.

Eliyahu McLean phoned on Friday afternoon to ask how we were holding up and if we can hear the katushas. I told him that we heard them very well as three struck within 150 meters of our house. He asked "What do they sound like?" I replied that the ones in the distance sound like a brief strike of a bass drum and the windows rattle a little.
"The closer ones begin with a whoosh—" and just as I was forming my mouth in an attempt to mimic the sound, outside there was a swiftly growing
whHHOOO oos HHH ---! BWOOM!!!

Our sons, Michael and David were frightened by the loud rocket impact that shook our house and the entire Artist's Quarter. Two year-old David cried out "BIG Rock…FALL!", as NatanYah took the boys into the back bedroom, where we feel the combination of domed ceiling, an upstairs made of stone, and 2 neighbor's houses bordering on ours, shield that room best from incoming missiles, and before I followed them, I shouted to Eliyahu "We're being bombed! Gotta go!" and hung up. I called him back two minutes later when it seemed that would be all until they reloaded the launchers, and apologized for the abrupt end of our conversation. He said that my verbal imitation over the phone of an incoming rocket was totally excellent and extremely realistic.

So Carol arrived within 20 minutes after we called, (25 minutes after I hung up with Eliyahu). I think she was already on her way regardless of our call, as she lives 50 minutes away. She gathered our family into her Fiat mini-van, with a little food, towels and bathing suits (she said we can swim in the yeshuv's pool) and the clothes on our backs. We didn't realize we'd be staying here, very possibly it seems, until after our baby girl is born.

As we left Tsfat and got onto the road from Rosh Pina to Tiberias, I looked behind us and saw 4 plumes of smoke from rockets that hit the south slope of the hill, close to where we had just driven on the new highway that goes down from Tsfat. Then Carol's cell rang and we heard Gedalia's wife, Shira, on the speaker, who had heard and felt impacts from that last barrage. Carol immediately offered to take their whole family and her visiting sister's out of Tsfat. She then phoned a friend from her yeshuv and asked her to come pick us up from a gas station before the Golani Junction where she dropped us off, turned around, and headed back to Tsfat to get them.
An hour later we were in Hosha'aya, about 7 km from Nazereth. It is a lovely Religious Zionist community of what seem to be mostly very modern, cultured, European descended people, and perhaps 15% Anglos. The 3 different families who hosted us for Shabbat meals all spoke excellent English, served delicious meals and had wonderfully loving and close families.

When we returned with the kids from the community pool (different hours for men, women and families), we were pleased to find Amanda Cohen and her 4 children at Carol's. Amanda and her kids live up on Biriya mountain, next to Tsfat, about 20 meters from the gates to the Northern Command for Israel's military and probably the true target of all these katushas that are landing on Tsfat; Biriya's downhill side. The Cohen's had a meeting under their kitchen table regarding where they would dine for Shabbat and decided to take up Carol's offer for a shabbasdik refuge. So Carol returned to Tsfat for the 3 rd time in as many hours and rescued the Cohen clan from perhaps the most dangerous spot in Israel these days.

Carol's son, Akiva, is stationed at Biriya and I believe her fear and concern for her first-born is transformed by her into heroic action. She reminds me of medics in jeeps driving back and forth from M.A.S.H. units to the front lines and back during the Korean war.

Carol brought us to the home of Avi and Tami, who recently added a beautiful 1 bedroom, 2 bath apartment with brand new furniture and top of the line appliances in an attempt to entice Tami's parents into relocating near their 5 grandchildren. Avi is a border policeman and Tami teaches art to children and they have offered us this beautiful space to live and have our baby, should the conflict last so long that we can not return to our home to give birth there, where Michael and David were both born. This tremendous act of chesed continues to blow me away; not only for the temporary shelter (which beats a 4 star hotel) but primarily for the peace of mind which is so essential to us in the days before the birth.
We are considering "Hoshaya" as a name.

Yesterday, NatanYah closed the bathroom door in this echo-filled apartment, and little David ran to grab me and said "Big rock." I calmed him, explaining it was just a door.
But one can easily see how children may be traumatized by these events and if one has another place to take one's family, then perhaps one should do so regardless of one's personal or "religious" beliefs. Get the children out of danger. There is halacha about this.
And if one has no other place then please contact us here and we'll find a place for you here amongst the Tzaddikim of Hosha'aya

July is the height of the Tourist Season; one of a few months where businesses are so in the black that it makes up for the red we're in most other months. I was working my tush off, trying to sculpt enough cute little candle animals and candle chassids as to keep things on the shelves while tour groups walk in and out with a dozen of my pieces per hour. Before the Katusha War, I was mostly concerned that NatanYah would give birth before the summer rush slowed down, causing me to have to take a 2 week leave during the height of their need of me.
No such worries now. The Tourist Season is canceled due to rocketing rockets.

While I understand the military necessity of eliminating Hezbollah's rocket launchers, ammunition, bunkers and their offices in Beirut, and even the strategy of destroying roads, bridges, electric substations and cell phone towers in southern Lebanon, I am very saddened to see the tremendous damage being done by the IAF in Beirut, a city that has had such a short ceasefire after such a long and violent civil war. I pray that all children, women and other innocents got out of the areas bombed by our jets; that our generals be merciful in their precise surgical bombing of Hezbollah centers to protect the rest of the city, and that the basically Christian country of Lebanon take responsibility and control of their own borders, perhaps with US or UN help, away from the Muslim fanatics of Hezbollah following this war.

The news is on now, showing pictures of the outside of the Safed factory that was hit. It has a road paved with cobblestones and several, well-kept olive trees in front. Never seen it before.
At this very moment (5:10pm), air raid sirens are sounding in Tsfat, Karmiel, Nahariya and Haifa. It is amazing how the 3 rd greatest airforce on Earth can not prevent nearly 300 missiles per day from being launched and striking our land, our towns and cities; our homes.

6:07pm – Another bomb shelter was hit, this one in Naharia, has taken a direct hit! That makes THREE that I know of. ZAKA, a Haredi unit responsible for picking up bodily remains, is combing the lawn above the shelter for the rest of the man who took a direct katusha hit, while walking past on his way home.

So why am I writing you all this travelogue of a war zone? To CONNECT with YOU; to tell our loved ones that we are fine where we are. BETTER than fine, as we have food, bedding and a spacious 1 bdrm apt. and are down the street from our midwife in these last days before we bring another Jewish child into the world.

But for those friends and neighbors who, like us, left Tsfat: where are you? Please be in touch. Even more so, for those who remained, like Danny and Mike, the Rosens, Simcha Laya and the Yates: HOW are you? Is everyone safe and sound? And who is where? Can we post a phone contact list, perhaps on the Tsfat Yahoo page? Can we get info on the status of our homes, on any looting or arrests for looting?
For those from chutz l'Aretz (outside Israel) who are trying to contact their beloved Tsfatnikim, and are fearful for them, a contact list would be most helpful.
Carol's husband, Michel, drove me back up to Tsfat the other night (despite a broken hand) where I packed the minivan with clothing, food and spices, toys and books, and thanks to this wonderful man, I have my computer and scanner up and running.
Since a State of Emergency has been declared, does that mean there may be some National Insurance compensation for lost income being offered by the government?
I hope we will all be in contact soon; first via phone or the Net, and soon, at our Shabbat tables back home in our peaceful city of Tsfat.

Love and Peace to you all,

Moshe Chaim, NatanYah, Michael Yehuda & David Azriel


P.S. – You are all welcome to fwd this letter to anyone, as you feel appropriate, but please erase all the e-mail addresses above first so they not be sold to spam merchants.
Thanks.
=================================================================='
2.

I've kinda lost track of days and such, but since Iwork at the Ziv Hospital in Safed, I decided to stayhere for a couple of nights. I have everything I needand the miklat is much nicer than the one in theneighborhood. Sunday nite the hospital had anear-hit. A katyusha fell at the periphery of themain building. There was no structural damage tospeak of, but tons of broken glass. 14 staff weretreated for shock. I was either under my dining roomtable or in my local miklat in Karmiel at the time,but not everyone was so "lucky."The miracle is that the attack took place at about10-11 p.m., so the public areas were empty, and theheads of departments had already taken the precautionof moving patients from the north to the south side ofthe building, and mommies and babies had beenrelocated to the day surgery center in the bowels ofthe main building. All but one window in the Pedsdept was blown out by the force of the blast as weremost of those in the surgical ward, the waiting rooms,and others.A 13 year old boy recovering from surgery for aruptured spleen and internal bleeding was watchingt.v. in the dining room when the blast took place andwas hit in the head by flying glass, suffering anasty, deep gash. No brain injuries, but lots ofstitches. A patient in the orthopedics dept, recovingfrom shrapnel wounds and the subsequent surgeries, wasthrown out of his bed. He said he could feel the wholebuilding move.Sunday and yesterday (Tuesday) I heard loud booms andsaw the aftermath of rockets which had fallen acrossthe wadi, some hundreds of meters away, but scareyenough to see out of your office window...I met with 4 groups of reporters yesterday (they'vediscovered us!) Most of them were reallyprofessional--(From today's Daily Mail as reported by one of ourvisiting journalists yesterday.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=396398&in_page_id=1770)Please ignore that bit about my being anexecutive...what a riot! An ozeret makes more than Ido, but I guess he had to call me something!!!)--but when the chickie from CBS called to make anappointment for 8 PM and asked if there was any chancethat they could interview a patient who had been hurtby this attack (yes), and wanted to know whether -- bychance he might be from New York (nooooo -- Safed byway of Morocco), she decided to come but not tointerview. "I really wanted to talk to someone fromNY, or at least an American," she said. I told herthat I was sorry that I hadn't received more notice sothat I could have arranged to have an American woundedfor her... It went right over her head. BTW, theyshowed up at 10:30.Anyhow, I'm tired and testy. Slept in the cardiology'benoni' room with 4 other women, one of whom soundedjust like a diesel truck warming up on a cold winter'sday. I don't do well on hospital mattresses (and whodoes?), so I was up at 3:30 again. But it was nice tohave other people around whom I know. And since Ihave a vacation in the US scheduled for a few weeks,perhaps I will catch up on sleep there.Something I didn't anticipate was that my grandkidsare watching the news on t.v. in America. Andrew justturned 12 and David is 7. I had no idea they watchedthe news or that they had any understanding.Apparently they are very upset and David just wants tohold his Bugs Bunny. And that's from yo-manythousands of miles away. The kids here are reallysuffering, as most of you parents must know. I knowof two families among my acquaintence who had to go asfar south as they could just so the children wouldstop having panic attacks.This is really (fill in your expletive), this massive,indiscriminate bombardment of innocents.Stay safe,Sylvia

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Another day finished

A number of attractions, exhibits, museums, and other places around the center of the country have opened their doors to residents of the North to a free entrance, and today we took advantage of that to go to the Safari in Ramat Gan. The safari itself was kind of, um, OK, but the zoo is excelent, and we have a great time walking around. The exhibits aren't far apart, it's shady, and it was a nice day.

tomorrow we'll go to a water park which is half-price for northern residents...not cheap, even at half-price, but I would have never attempted it at full-price, so it's appreciated.

I also organized a different place to go to for shabbat, because the people that I'm staying with here had a long-standing committment to host some other people for Shabbat...visitors from the States. So we'll go to Modi'in to other friends for Shabbat.

I am more appreciative than I can ever say to the people around here who have opened our homes to us, and to other evacuees from the North, but it's very difficult, being in someone else's house, trying to use someone else's kitchen, and basically being dependent on the good will of others. The family that we're with are extremely low-key and easy-going, but it's still uncomfortable. However, I imagine that many others are in much more difficult circumstances, and I try to keep things in prespective.

A Tzfat resident repeated, on the local e-mail, a call from a well-regarded local rabbi, to people who had left, to return. He pointed out that many people cannot leave -- either they don't have anywhere to go, or they physically can't leave. This is understandable, and I am torn, since, on principle, I believe that he's right. If I was one my own, I'd return, or, probably, not have left to begin with. But I am responsible for my 10-year-old right now (the other kids aren't here now) and she had to leave Tzfat...she was a nervous wreck while we were there. I don't have the answer. I feel guilty that, as uncomfortable as it is to be living in someone else's house, I'm pretty lucky that I have a situation that allows me to be here. Life is....complicated.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

keeping up with everyone

One of the biggest blessings of our situation is the fact that we are staying with neighbors who have a girl Margalit's age (they are friends...usually...from age 0) and the family where we are staying have 2 older kids who have kept all their toys from childhood. So Margalit has tons of Barbies and other stuff to play with, in addition to videos, computer games, etc. I can only shudder to think of what is going on with families who are stuck in shelters with their kids 24 hours a day....today, a man who had just wandered out of his shelter in Nahariya was killed by a katyusha that landed next to him, so going out even for a moment is dangerous. I heard today that the army has sent in non-combat solders to the shelters to entertain the kids, play games with them, and give the parents a break, but that probably isn't for more than an hour or two...how can they manage? We are no longer talking about evacuating several tens of thousands of residents from Northern towns and villages...we are now talking about the evacuation of large cities as well, like Haifa, Acco, Tiberias, etc.

A friend called me yesterday to suggest that I get counseling for Margalit, even by phone. She said that because Margalit had been talking to the kids who got hurt by the Katyusha that landed near us, she might well be harboring some trauma that should be talked out. Margalit has talked with me about what happened, but it could well be that there's other stuff that I don't see, or that I don't know how to extract from her (prehaps she feels guilty that the other kids were hurt, while she wasn't, or that they were about to come over to our yard when the missile fell), etc. My friend told me that the psychological services are working overtime in the area, and that we can phone for advice -- I will do that.

One of the most interesting parts of this whole episode is the way that Tzfat people are keeping up with each other. Every time I open my e-mail, I see another couple of letters from friends, neighbors, and sometimes, simply people who I wave to here and there....where are you?

Livnot sent out a letter to all chevre (those whose e-mail that they know, anyway...people who have done Livnot throughout the last 26 years!) to update them. Evidently they are getting dozens of "how ARE you" letters daily, some from people who have been out of contact for years and years.

The Botzers, who founded LIvnot and still direct it (Aharon does, anyway...Miriam stays involved from behind the scenes) are still in Tzfat. Aharon and his son David race over to all katyusha landings, when they can, to help. The town is basically a ghost town, they said, though there are still many people who are unable to leave, so anyone who is able to help has a special mitzva. (The hospital was hit this morning...it's been a target since the katyushas began. Can you imagine? Targeting a hospital?)

Believe it or not, Livnot presently has 3 programs running --a birthright program, a JCSC Hillel intern program, and a 3-week program. Some participants cancelled, but many arrived, on schedule, yesterday. AMAZING! Obviously they won't be doing the Northern part of the program, but the Livnot campus in Tzfat isn't empty....Livnot invited much of the local security apparatus of the North to set up shop, and they are now living and working there. Those rooms stood through 2 earthquakes over the past several hundred years....who would have ever thought that they'd be used as bunkers against long-range missiles? Definitely not the Tzfatters of the 1600s who built them!

local news

Turns out that Avishai returned to Tzfat on Sunday, and only left today. He was supposed to return to his base yesterday, but there were no busses running, and since it is illegal for soldiers to hitchhike (thank GOODNESS) he was stuck in Tzfat till today. I told him to let the cats out and leave a lot of food for them, but I assume that all the neighborhood cats will gather around...don't know what to do about that. There was no way to bring them with us. My downstairs neighbor is still there...probably strumming his guitar in the yard, as he always does. I'll ask him to keep an eye out on the cat population, and will reimburse him for food later.

There are two on-line methods for people to keep up-to-date with what's going on in Tzfat. There's an e-mail list which goes out to local residents, Tzfatline, and a Tzfat yahoogroup.

Both give residents, both those still in Tzfat and those who are on forced vacations, a connection with what's happening. What did we DO before internet?

Here's a summary of today's Tzfatline e-mail.

Item #1SUPPORT:Yosef (Daniel) and Miriam Kresh are thinking of all our Tsfat friends all thetime, and dovening for your safety. May we all be together again b'smachotvery soon.Item

#2BSDINFORMATION NEEDED:Shalom Alechem . I truly wish I were there in Tzfat with all of you. It isvery difficult to be so far away from my extended family in these hrs ofuncertainty. One thing I am sure of, BE COURAGEOUS as you all are being and beblessed with safety from any harm. I am in France and if G-d willing the KLM Airlinegoes into Israel I am to return this coming Fri July 21 at 2:30AM. Can anyonewho has their computer up and running let me know, ASAP, if the trains, busesand taxis are running up to Tzfat. Please email me soon if anyone knows as wehave very limited email access. tikvacohen@ G-d be with all of youand please may we see Moshiac eminently.Item

#3ASCENT IS FINE:In a previous announcement, the impression may have been given that Ascentwas hit by a rocket. This is not so. Ascent is fine, for the time being.Rabbi Shaul LeiterItem

#4BS"DOFFERING OF HELP:I am currently living in Beitar but am in the midst of possibly moving toTzfat (it was in the works before the war). Anyway, if anyone is looking to cometo the Jerusalem area and would like help finding a place to stay please callme at 02-580-0230. Single girls and single moms are welcome to stay by us. I'm
Jerusalem now and you are missing things you forgot to bring from Tzfat youcan call me - maybe we could help with loans of toys, books, linens, a bike.call me.H\' should bless each of you with revealed good, with peace.ariella ChanaItem

#5INFORMATION AND A QUESTION:I thought this article was a nice glimpse into what\'s going on in Tzfat:http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/739089.htmlI\'m wondering if there is a website that deals with the news updates inspecifics (like where the rockets hit, who was injured lo aleinu). Being one ofthose who "fled" the scene, I would greatly apreciate being updated on the latestof the "who what and where’s of Tzfat. Thanks, atskramer@

#6HELP ARTICLE:Tzfat-Line has received an extensive article (?) from Nefesh B\'Nefesh, sentby two subscribers, on how to deal with the current crises in Israel. It issomewhat lengthy and thus we have to send it as an attachment. Anyone wishing toreceive this, email Tzfat-Line (TzfatLine@aol.com) with the message "Nefesh B’Nefesh" article.EditorsItem

#7FREE FOOD:As of 1:30 PM, today, Tuesday, free food is being distributed through theefforts of the City of Tzfat. Vegetables, fruits, bread and other items areavailable in front of the Municipal Building on Jerusalem Street. Bring yourshopping cart or shopping bags. It is not known how much is be given away or for howlong.Submitted via telephone by Chana BesserItem


#8 INFORMATION AND A QUESTION:I thought this article was a nice glimpse into what's going on in Tzfat:http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/739089.htmlI'm wondering if there is a website that deals with the news updates inspecifics (like where the rockets hit, who was injured lo aleinu). Being one ofthose who "fled" the scene, I would greatly apreciate being updated on the latestof the "who what and where’s of Tzfat. Thanks, atskramer@

Item #9 HELP ARTICLE:Tzfat-Line has received an extensive article (?) from Nefesh B'Nefesh, sentby two subscribers, on how to deal with the current crises in Israel. It issomewhat lengthy and thus we have to send it as an attachment. Anyone wishing toreceive this, email Tzfat-Line (TzfatLine@) with the message "Nefesh B’Nefesh" article.EditorsItem

#10FREE FOOD:As of 1:30 PM, today, Tuesday, free food is being distributed through theefforts of the City of Tzfat. Vegetables, fruits, bread and other items areavailable in front of the Municipal Building on Jerusalem Street. Bring yourshopping cart or shopping bags. It is not known how much is be given away or for howlong.Submitted via telephone by Chana Besser

Item #11TEMPORARY CONTACT INFORMATION:
not have a phone but is planning on getting one soon. We can be reached alsoby leaving a message on our ta kolee at home: Love to you all. Stay safe- wherever you are.Avi & Tzippy**************************************************************************************************Tzfat-