Sunday, July 30, 2006


In the third chapter of Eicha, or Lamentaions, Yirmiyahu turns his cries from a "how and why are You doing this to the land" to "how and why are You doing this to me?" The first half of the chapter, he despairs that God has turned from him. Not only that, but God has turned His back on Yirmiyahu, He doesn't WANT to hear Yirmiyahu's pleas.

And then, in the second half of the chapter, Yirmiyahu does a complete about-face and says that only his belief in Hashem can lift him from the severe depression. Regardless of whether Hashem wants to hear it, Yirmiyahu will continue to pray, and continue to believe.

I've been living in Israel now for 9 years. In that time, I divorced my husband of 9 years. I was a single mother for 5 years. During that time I lost my job and for the past 6 years have been trying to deal with the fact that I am surrounded by people who would sooner shoot me than learn to live as my neighbor.

With all that going on in my life, there were plenty of times when I was at the bottom. I despaired of ever being able to have ONE month where I could pay all my bills, buy groceries and give the girls their allowance. I wasn't even praying to have something to carry on into the next month. There were times when I was thisclose to selling everything I owned, give up the joint custody of my daughters and move back to the US. I would be in tears, crying into my pillow, praying to God to help me.

And every time I got to that point, something happened. A freelance job would give my bank account a boost. The tzedakah organization on the Yishuv would drop two cases of assorted groceries on my doorstep. I met my second husband. And the important thing is... I recognized from whence it came.

There's really nothing I can do about the political situation though. The Intifada that started up again and now the war again in Lebanon.

There are those who have said that the first and second Intifada was brought by God when the people of Israel would start turning on one another. He would bring around a common enemy and the Jews would join together. Unfortunately for us, the Achdut (solidarity) never lasts long.

As for the war... there's another issue at stake. It's a need to return, or maybe turn, to God. Anyone who reads the TaNaCH (5 Books of Moses, the Prophets and the 'Writings') and believes in it can clearly learn that there is a direct correlation between the Land of Israel, the People of Israel and the Word of God. One follows the Word of God, one cares for the Land of Israel and God will take care of the People. Don't follow the Word of God, or don't care for the Land of Israel and God will punish the people.

So God has brought this war as a lesson to His people. And what is that lesson? Well. It's different for everyone. And it's up to each person to discover what it is. And it happens in baby steps.

We have a number of Chiloni (secular) friends living in Tel Aviv. Two of them have been living inIsrael all their lives and have never gone over the Green Line. In the last month, one has come to our house twice and another once. Another Chiloni person whose blog I read (and he reads mine) read in my blog last week that a Tehillim rally was scheduled in Jerusalem. He got himself a Tehillim and went. And has been saying Tehillim every day ever since.

I'm not a religious nut, I don't consider myself particularly learned. I don't spend my days reading about Bible codes and The Matrix in every TV show I watch. I wasn't even particularly spiritual when I first made Aliyah.

But I can't live where I live and not see the miracles. I can't see what I've seen without seeing the Hand of God in it all.

Keeping Busy

Our Yishuv has an Ulpana (girl's high school, traditionally a boarding school) which of course is closed for the summer. Last week families from the north came and moved in.

D1 and D2 are helping with planned activities for the kids that have arrived. Which I'm glad. It gets them out of the house for a while.

Our e-tickets have just been emailed to me, so we're all set for our NY trip on Sukkot. We're really looking forward to it and I think by then, we'll really need it. This will be the first time back for the girls in 2 years and they'll get to meet their only female cousin for the first time.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

You know you're in Israel when...

You return to your Yishuv (settlement) at 11:30 at night and the guard on duty is the community's Rav with an M16.

Other Pursuits

Just so you don't think my entire life centers around my hatred for those who wish to destroy me and my family and my homeland, a brief interlude.

My husband and I are the cofounders of the Israeli group that participates in the Society for Creative Anachronism. Our Shire is Maale Giborim and we will be celebrating our third anniversary in November (Thanksgiving actually). We are part of the Kingdom of Drachenwald which if you don't want to head over to their site, encompasses Europe, the Middle East and South Africa. Our group here in Israel has a regular, active core group of about 15 people, and our biggest event had 30 people. It was our second birthday event, which was held in a Crusader-era hall in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem.

I think our motto should be "Our event location kicks your event location's ass!"

Ok, maybe not.

We have semi-regular activities, which include fencing and crafts night. We hope to add archery soonish.

Lest you think that Orthodox Jews participating in something like this could only happen in Israel, think again. The Seneschal (I suppose head would define that) of the newly revived Shire in Brooklyn is an Orthodox Jew. Nice guy. We've met him and went to a Sunday event he and his Shire put together in May. The guy in charge of archery (called a Yeoman) for the Barony of Carolingia (a HUGE group in Boston) is a very nice 18 year old frum guy.

I know, because I met him 2 years ago. And his parents. At war. No, really. Pennsic War. Near Pittsburgh. My husband and I were honeymooning there. With my kids. And 12,000 other people. For 10 days.

We camped with a group that was mostly from the DC area. Most of the folks were either unaffiliated religiously. A few were pagans. And then us Jews. Seven of us from Israel and a family of three from DC. We had an Eruv around the camp, we explained to them about food, we asked for their assistance to make sure the port-o-potties had tissues in them over Shabbat after they were cleaned. It was really nice. And last year a large group of Jews camped together. Called themselves 'Clan MacIvri'. We hope to go again next year.

This year, we will actually have a representative at Pennsic who will participate in part of the actual battle. One of our memebers is learning in NY and recently qualified for fighting so she will wear our colors. So Vivat and best of luck to "
Zenigata Toshiko"!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

How do you cope?

Thank God, so far, the war hasn't touched me. I don't have any relatives in the IDF, and as far as I know, none of my friends have had to report for duty. Some of my neighbors have been called up, but for the most part, they're older men, in reserve and they're filling in for the younger soldiers who have been moved to the front.

I'd like it to stay that way, thank you very much.

Last week, I signed up with a couple placement agencies, offering to allow evacuees live with us. Earlier today I received a phonecall from one of the organizations and they said they'll be back in touch.

According to the Jerusalem Post, estimates have this war going on for another 10 days or so, because that's when Hizballah runs out of munitions. So far, they've only been lobbing the shorter range Kaytushas. From the maps that I've seen, we seem to be on the far limit of what their long range missiles can get to. Yes, we're about due east of Tel Aviv. But we're a much more insignificant target. I WOULD say that also being surrounded by Arab villages offers some protection, but I've read about some of the misfires from Lebanon.

And that gets us to my point. How do I cope? I just don't read the news all that often. I head over to the Jerusalem Post and Arutz7 once, maybe twice a day. I figure if something major was happening, someone would let me know.

I've been living in Israel now for 9 years. For at least 6 of those, I've been surrounded by the escalated violence of the second Intifada. I missed Gulf War Part I, but I've been here for the sequel. Both my children and I have gas masks and yes, we know where they are (although they're going to have to be renewed soon). So Lebanon Part Deux is not a new experience for me. That's not to say it doesn't terrify me.

We call my MIL basically every day, or she calls us (isn't VoIP great?). She of course wants us to move back. And she lets us know it. That's not to say my parents don't want us safe... it's just that they've had 6 years longer to deal with the fact that their child has chosen to live in Eretz Yisrael and right now it happens to be a bit more... well... tense.

I spoke to my MIL yesterday via IM. She jokingly said that she's going to send a professional team here to kidnap us back to the US.

At least I think she was joking.


First posted: August 21, 2000

I wonder what my kids will think when I get a gun.

Their father already has one and he's always had BB handguns and rifles.

I live in a country were a handgun is common for a male civilian or 'regular' law enforcement officer, and automatic weapons are a usual accessory for the soldiers and Border Guards.

I've noticed though, that civilian women don't carry guns. Or maybe they only carry them in their backpacks/pocketbooks.

I may go the shoulder-holster route. I don't always wear something with a waistband (dress or jumber) and some of my skirts are elastic waistbands.

You can't imagine how gratefull I am that the kids I have thus far are girls. It must be horrible for a parent to look at their son and know that when he turns 18, he has to join the army. Girls have an easier time of getting out of manditory service. Of course, I'm sure my ex's parents would just love for them to get married the day after high school graduation...

I don't kow what road my girls will take and it's something that we'll have to discuss when the time comes...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Horde of Horrible Homos!

So... last year, World Pride in Jerusalem was postponed to this year due to the fact that the police were busy directing the Army in emptying Gaza of Jews.

I wonder if this latest escalation will postpone it again and World Pride organizers will just make that a Jerusalem on hold indefinitely and go elsewhere next year. What with all the outcry about the parade and other events happening in Jerusalem.

I also wonder how long it's going to take the ultra-Orthodox to blame the war in Lebanon Part Deux on the fact that people are ready to blaspheme the holy city of Jerusalem with a horde of horrible homos.

Oooh... I like that alliteration.... and the picture in my mind... Lotsa leather... flash of cleavage...

Uh... so yeah.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Enough Is Enough

I'm suddenly feeling very out of sorts right now.

The news is not good... We're thisclose to war with Lebanon again. And Gaza is just a powderkeg waiting for a match.

On the one hand, I want the IDF to go into Gaza and just level the damn place like they should have done as soon as they kicked all the Jews out. And go into Lebanon and do... SOMETHING.

On the other hand...

No. There is no other hand. The problem has to be taken care of once and for all and there is only one solution. The reports of a female suicide boming brigades, multiple kidnapings, the ceaseless rain of Kassams...


DO SOMETHING ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!