Thursday, November 22, 2012

Ready for shabbat

I hope the ceasefire holds. If I’m feeling I need quiet, I really can’t comprehend how necessary it is for the rest of the country. All I know is that for me, each day that has passed seems like a lifetime ago. Wednesday afternoon a bomb exploded. Wednesday evening I wrote a story about people sending letters and packages to the IDF and residents of the south. That night I went out drinking and dancing. The day before I went to a rally to support the IDF troops. Monday I went to visit a village for at-risk girls in Israel. 

On Sunday I was in Jerusalem at Mount Herzl, walking around the graves of fallen soldiers praying more won’t come. I was sitting in on lectures about the role of religion in a democratic state when the sirens went off in Tel Aviv. Hearing about it through the news and not being there, I felt I was abandoning Tel Aviv. I wanted to get back and put my arms around my city and give it a big hug. Riding the bus back, my chest tightened a little, what if another siren went off? How would we all get off the bus without being in a panic? Where would we go?

That was just five days. The first siren was last Thursday. Since then every day has been a balancing act between putting my reality into context for friends and family but trying to figure out how I feel about this reality. Today is Thanksgiving in America but I don’t feel it. I need Shabbat. I need the excuse to say that I can’t do any work. I am really not allowed to participate in work. No reading facebook, no reading the news, no internet, no phone. I need Shabbat so I have an excuse to tell the world to leave me alone and have it be ok.

Sunset on Shabbat in Tel Aviv

For 10 months now I post “Shabbat Shalom” to my Birthright Israel facebook page every Friday. When I first started doing it in February, we had just gotten back from our trip and I was riding on an incredible high. On one particular “high” day I wrote that I would never stop wishing Shabbat Shalom. I forgot maybe once or twice and my friends called me out. I started getting a little self-conscious about my posting because I am usually very critical of annoying people on facebook, but I kept it up. A friend told me she really enjoyed seeing me post it every friday and whether she meant it or not, it made me feel like I was doing something good.

For some reason Shabbat has a hold over me. It’s different than just TGIF and happy for the weekend. Living in a city, everything is always so hectic. But when Shabbat comes everything shuts down. It’s not complete quiet, but the distractions of shops, cafe’s and most cars are removed. Everything slows down, forcing you to relax. It seems counterintuitive, “forced to relax,” but sometimes you need a reminder to stop and breath.

A vision like this makes me love Tel Aviv more every day.

Rally in Kikar Rabin Tuesday night.

"We are all with the South, support the IDF"

Iron Dome graffiti in Tel Aviv - the Kipat Barzel protects us all.

Opening of the Beit Ruth village for at-risk girls in Afula, Israel on Monday during the heigh of the rocket attacks in the South.

The ribbon cutting ceremony, the staff celebrates the newly opened center.

Internationals gather to make packages to send to the IDF and children affected by rocket fire in the South of Israel.

Writing letters of love and support to the soldiers.
Coloring chamsa's for peace and safety.

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