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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

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