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'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"

1 comment:

Laurie said...

Rivkah, you can call the Livnot campus to find out how to help. (052)4295-385,Meir