On Being A Mom In Israel: "There Are No Sirens Before A Stabbing"

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In a war-torn nation, everyone is on edge.

Dear friends and family around the world:

I really hope you read this because it's important to me. And to my kids.

Last summer we had a war. Relatively speaking, my kids and I were lucky: Israel has a missile defense system. We have bomb shelters. And we have sirens. And as soon as those sirens went off, we would run for our lives.

My kids learned a song that will break your heart. I can't listen to it without crying. Even though the melody is chipper, listen to the words. My kids STILL sing this song:


"Red Alert, Red Alert. Hurry hurry hurry to a safe place, hurry hurry, because now it's dangerous."

For those living by the Gazan border, it's a lot harder. There isn't the luxury of time. And too many people died in rocket attacks down south, including sweet little Daniel Tragerman, the same age as my son.

My kids and I had 90 seconds to get from our door to the public shelter. We still didn't make it on time every time before the ground shook and the air shimmered.

But still, I did know when to run, and when to drop to the ground and cover my children with my own body. And the war ended. (But we still have nightmares.)

But this is different now; there's no missile defense system against stabbings. We can't lock ourselves in a shelter all day. Stabbings have no siren, so we don't know when to run. There are no cute little songs for my kids to learn in preschool and sing before they go to sleep each night, before they say the Sh'ma.

Stabbings can happen anywhere, at any time. Stabbings can happen in a park on a quiet bench. They can happen in the market, with soldiers standing just a few steps away. They can happen in front of a school or in a synagogue or on the street.

Everyone is on edge right now. Most of us feel that prickle of fear just below the neck or deep in our stomachs, because when these attacks are random, everyone is a potential target.


The young rabbi at the Western Wall. The barista with the dirty laugh. The soldier who still wears braces. The guy who sells the best pomegranates in the Ramle Shuk. The mother with two children. This mother. My children.

The headlines you'll read outside of Israel or the Jewish world won't tell you this, but I will. Because even though the situation here is complicated, and even though there are policies in Israel I don't like, killing innocent people isn't complicated. It's wrong, pure and simple.

And while we're a resilient people — after all, we've survived THIS long despite devastating odds — it's hard right now. Please hold the thought, and if you have questions, talk to me. I'm still here.


This article was originally published at blogs.timesofisrael.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.

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