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Let My People Know!

Intro – who, where, what, when

Hi. My name’s Judih and I live and teach school in an area east of the Gaza strip. The kibbutzim and settlements in this zone of Israel make up the area called “Otef Azza” – “Surrounding Gaza” as you could loosely translate.

For awhile now, we’ve been experiencing sniper bullets aimed at our field workers and qassams landing in our fields and sometimes on the kibbutz, itself.  Our Children’s Houses have been ‘protected’ by huge concrete roofs and only this past week, we’ve received a protective shelter located near our bus stop (within a 15 second run from our communal Dining Room and beside the bus stop where our children wait for the schoolbus from Sunday – Friday). The rest of the kibbutz, however, remains unprotected.

We live in a time of constant listening for falling qassams, tuning in to our Official website for updates, clicking into news reports on radio and internet. We hope that the victims are not loved ones, we breathe out in relief when they’re not, but we soon hear a cry from someone close by who knew them. We’ve all been affected.

Why this blog, suddenly?

On Wednesday, May 14th, I was called upon to go to Sha’ar HaNegev High School, in order to test some Grade 12 students who were scheduled to undergo their Oral Matriculation Exam.  Those who were scheduled to come test them backed out at the last minute. You see, the school has been in the news for years now as a frequent recipient of qassams. Only one week ago, last Saturday, when no one was around, 3 qassams hit the school, just outside a classroom. No one was injured because it was Shabbat, a no-school day, but on Sunday, when kids showed up, they saw the shattered windows and they each thought, what if…. We all thought ‘what if’, including teachers who were scheduled to come to the school to test the graduating class.

So, along with 3 other teachers and our regional Inspector,  I went to examine over 20 Grade 12 students and during those 5 hours, I heard stories that filled me with awe. Near death, relocations, running to shelters, sleeping in shelters, they have gone through so much anguish just to live their lives and to keep to a school routine. Their teachers unfailingly offered strength, optimism and determination to help them make their way as normally as possible through the fear and reality of qassams. The all-too familiar 15 second warning of ‘Red Alert’ (Tzeva Adom) signalled too many dashes to the nearest shelter. School life during these past years was like no other location in Israel.

And often, when students go home, there is more of the same. Those who live in Sderot have little opportunity to relax these days.

This blog is to relay some of this information.

That day, I heard stories that opened my eyes and heart. I live so close, and yet none of my students have had such constant threat hanging over their heads. What those students live through, none of us can guess.

More of us in Israel and outside of Israel need to know what is going on in this generation of students. We need to care for them now and to help them mature with minimal trauma. We need to know.

This blog is to get those stories out. We all need to know.

Those who wish to contribute – students, teachers, parents are welcome. In the place labeled “comments” – write your name and e-mail and I’ll send you information.

All comments are welcome.

I hope that this blog will grow and be a community effort, a way for each of us to let our people know!

over fields towards Azza

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18 responses to “Let My People Know!

  1. Keliata ⋅

    I just wanted to add that two of your posts are already on the J Blog “Most Popular” list for today. You’re off to a great start.

    http://www.israelforum.com/blog_home.php

  2. Keliata ⋅

    You’re most welcome :)

  3. talkingnow ⋅

    Many thanks for directing me to the right link, keliata. The blog has now been J-linked and I do hope the community feeds it while getting fed.
    Thank you for your kind wishes.

  4. Keliata ⋅

    I’m glad to see your blog up on J Blog! My prayers are with you and your efforts that people reading your blog will be educated, touched and that those writing of their experiences are healed by it :)

  5. Keliata ⋅

    The J Blog aggregator collects and posts Jewish and Israeli blogs as soon as they are posted.

    There are about 600 Jewish/Israeli blogs on J Blog. A lot of people read the various blogs. If you’re interested in adding your blog go to this link:

    http://www.israelforum.com/blog_add_source.php

    I hope you will consider adding your blog to J Blog/Israel Forum because it is so important for people to learn about what is going on and also for the people writing about their experiences to know that they are being heard.

    I posted information from your blog on mine this week. Scroll down till you get to the post about an important new Israeli blog.

    My blog is at http://www.keliata.blogspot.com

    Sultan Knish also published your link and information on the story of Ella on his blog at:

    http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/2008/05/friday-afternoon-roundup-chavez.html

  6. talkingnow ⋅

    Esther! Your story of Ella is very moving. You’ve offered an emotional side that is pushed aside in the news reports. Thank you.

    Gay – thank you for your support. Not so long ago there were scuds flying over Ra’anana. Each community knows how it is to live under fear. But telling stories helps dissipate the anxiety.

    Aliza – I so very much appreciate your offer of your students’ project. Yes! Let’s see what they discovered. Thank you.

    Doris – How good that word has travelled to Venezuela and that you support our efforts here. Community coming together is a community making itself more resilient. Thank you for taking the word to your students.

    -Judih

  7. Dear, Judith! Thanks so much for writing in this blog. I am an EFL professor at a university in Venezuela. I believe blogs are a great way to let the world know what you think or live everyday. As a teacher I can identify very well with the way you and your students feel living and learning under those conditions. My heart is with you and all the people who live everyday there. I am going to share your stories with my students. You are a brave teacher.

  8. Aliza Levanon ⋅

    As you may remember I am Rakezet in the Yashlats and we lost 5 students and one graduate on rosh chodesh Adar. A few of our students are still sonvalescing from their wounds but mentally we are all still wounded. Two of my students have recently done a project about Sderot. One of them used to live in Neve Dekalim and now he lives in Nitsan. Will it interest your readers to see their project which is full of sympathy towards the population of Sderot?

  9. Gay Bergman ⋅

    Judith, our hearts are with you and all the people in the area. Personal stories are the ones that really reach people and move them in the end. Kol Hacavod on your initiative. Let’s try and get this out to the wider world.

  10. Esther Revivo ⋅

    Kudos, Judih on this wonderful blog! It’s about time that someone found the time to make a space for stories of our pupils, whose daily life has challenges beyond belief! Adolescence should be a carefree time, other than the normal worries about grades; thoughts about what exactly to do after high school; etc. OUR pupils are propelled straight from babyhood into a scene in a Hitchcock movie. Their daily reality is beyond words and defies description.
    Kol Ha’cavod to you!

  11. Esther Revivo ⋅

    Judih, kudos for this marvelous idea! It’s about time that someone took the initiative to share with the world what our pupils are going through, spending their adolescence in a war zone. I grew up in NY State in the 1970’s. All I had to worry about were things like: Will my field hockey team win this season? Will I get good grades this year?
    The hardship our dear pupils deal with daily is beyond words. Thanks for alloting a place where we can tell some of their stories!

  12. talkingnow ⋅

    hi keliata! Thanks for clicking over from Batya’s blog and many thanks for promoting this.
    What is the J Blog aggregator? And how do I add it?
    Perhaps I better google.

  13. Keliata ⋅

    I also clicked on this link from Batya’s blog. I’ll promote it on my blog. Have you added this to the J Blog aggregator?

    I think the true stories of what the people, especially the kids must go through, needs to be told and more widely known.

    There’s a lot of ignorance out there, possibly the result of media manipulation if not outright lies.

    Best of luck with the blog.

  14. talkingnow ⋅

    +thank you, Aviva. Not long ago it was those who lived in the North who were under constant threat. You survived, but you know how it is and what those down south are going through.

    +Tova, we are getting used to news reports and how true that we are unable to see what lies beneath those frequent headlines. Hopefully, students will start to express what they’re feeling.

    +Frumteacher – thank you so much. Please tell your students that there are many that want to hear their stories.

    +Leora, thank you for clicking in from Batya’s blog. A link from your blog would be great.
    Let’s see the word get out.

  15. Leora

    Kol hakavod for starting this blog. I will link to you some time this week. I found you via Batya’s post on Shiloh Musings.

  16. Thanks you for starting this blog. As a fellow teacher I understand your concern for the students that suffer this terrible fate. Thank you for sharing their stories. I will bring them to the attention of my students too.

  17. Tova Vertes ⋅

    Thank you for starting this blog Judih. I think it is an important and necessary step in letting the world know the true horrors of what happens there. Everyday, I read the news and the rockets are so common that they become a statistic. It is hard to understand the damage, both physical and psychological, completely. We can only hope that hearing the stories of these children may make a larger difference than one might imagine. Either way, I am proud of you for starting this. Let my people know!

  18. Aviva Shapiro ⋅

    This blog is a wonderful idea . The world needs to hear first hand how so many people are suffering and being scarred for life..As one who lived for years up North when katyshot rockets were fallling , I know how hard it is . We need to listen to our fellow citizens and we need to make the world hear us so this madness will one day (soon) stop !!
    Kol haKavod for starting the blog .

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