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Thursday, July 13, 2006

life heats up

Up until 48 hours ago, my biggest dilemna in life was my Shabbat menu -- cousins from the States were coming (I'd never met them before....the wife is my second cousin on my father's side, granddaughter of my great-Aunt Gert) and I had been looking forward to meeting them and hanging out over Shabbat.

All that changed with "the situation". Two mornings ago, Hizbollah attacked an Israeli army patrol which was patrolling the Northern border, killing 8 soldiers and kidnapping 2. Israel began to respond, and beginning yesterday morning, katyushas began to rain down on the North of Israel.

My first inkling that things were going to be "interesting" was at about 7:15 yesterday morning, when I heard the katyusha which landed on Mt. Meron, across the valley from Tzfat. I remember vaguely thinking "why can't my neighbor start her renovations later?", but it didn't occur to me that anything was really "happening".

At 9:00a.m., I had a meeting in City Hall with the City Manager (regarding the Tourist Info Center which I coordinate) and the meeting wasn't progressing much, because the C.M. kept fielding phone calls, people asking whether they were supposed to be going into the shelters or not. (For the record, during the time that I was sitting there, he got 3 different answers from each "security apparatus" that he called, including the police, home front, and army).

We kept our eyes on the news throughout the morning, and about 2:30p.m., I heard a whistling overhead and the sound of explosions. It was definitely time to close up and go home, and by the time I got home, I heard that several katyushas had been fired at Tzfat, landing on the main street (a five-minute walk from our house) and in several neighborhoods surrounding the city.

Throughout the afternoon, I got very little done besides talking on the phone...people calling to find out how we were, people calling to invite us to their homes in the center of the country, etc.

At about 7:30p.m., Margalit was out in the yard and I was watching the news, trying to decide what to do, when another whistling sound passed overhead, and a tremendous explosion blasted out our windows. Within a moment, Margalit was running up the stairs, with our newest dog, Lola, pulling her....the katyusha had landed right across the lane from our house, about 100 yards from our front door. Aside from the windows, there was no damage to our house or to either of us (Yochi and Hagai are in the States now, and Ariella is in Tel Aviv...she had wanted to return, but the roads to the North are closed).

I heard a hissing sound in the street and it was foggy, so I thought that prehaps a fire had started. We first ran down to our so-called security room, the small room downstairs which has steel re-inforced concrete walls, but I quickly realized that the glass window in the room (we had put it in, rationalizing, 10 years ago, that if we ever needed the steel window, we'd just "stick it on" when necessary" -- dumb) wouldn't provide us with much security, so we ran up the stairs, where another katyusha had fallen.

At some point, we were directed to go to the local shelter, which was quite crowded, but full of people in good cheer, lots of food being passed around, and everyone helping out everyone else. We stayed there for awhile, and were getting ready to sleep there, but then a friend told me that her kids had gone south with their father, and she asked if we wanted to sleep in their downstairs room, and since that seemed like a better idea than trying to sleep in a crowded shelter with dozens of people, we went there.

Now i'm back home...I left Margalit sleeping at my friend's house. I'm waiting for Avishai to tell me if he's coming home for Shabbat...if he's not, I'll take Margalit somewhere, but if he is, I'll stay here for him. I'll need to replace our windows, but luckily it's summer, so open windows aren't a problem (though it's silly to lock up the house when I'm gone if the windows are shot out) and my neighbor just told me that our water collector on the roof has been leaking all night, so I need to find someone to deal with that too.

That's the story here...it's been quiet here for the past few hours, and I hope that it stays that way.

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