Health · Israel · Kibbutz Life · Living in Otef Azza · Middle East · Nofei Habsor · truce with Hamas

August 19th, 2014 – actively working to ease my mind

overnight planes 

dogs strangely still 

ceasefire extension

If I were to chart my jet-lag, I imagine it would look like this:

Tip: Smart Art helps chart state of mind

I’m getting a little more normal. I woke up at 1a.m. to check the news. I went back to sleep and concocted some very weird dreams that I couldn’t quite recall when I woke up at five-fifteen. This is a good technique, for when school begins: to let out the weirdness at night and to carry on during the day.

So, the war situation. I was thankful that I didn’t have to tear into my safe room last night, but this morning people on facebook are not pleased about the 24 hour extension of the Ceasefire and the so-called agreement. One woman even went so far as to agree with ‘Jo-Jo‘ (1.1), a popular right-wing radio host, by calling the agreement disgusting and a crappy piece of paper that could have been signed before those 64 soldiers were killed.

JoJo 1.1

From the Israeli point of view, I guess that might’ve been an option, but we know that Hamas wasn’t terribly interested in signing anything. And is it now? And if so, why? What’s in it for them?

Most of us in the south want no half-ass agreement. From a military point of view it would be prudent to tear into the Hamas infrastructure and wipe out their leaders, now, while we have set the stage and while our soldiers are prepared.  I don’t have much of an army-mind but in a chessgame sort of strategy, I see the strength in such a decision.

But holy shit, I hate the killing and fear of being bombed. I’ve been told,  killing and fear is inevitable as the Hamas increases its strength and resolves to wipe out the infidels, of which Israel and Jews represent only a small fraction.

Gershon Baskin -1.2

Nothing is black and white, is it? All those slurred boundaries and see-sawing opinions. Pacifism seems so out of style.

Gershon Baskin has become a household name. Among other endeavours, he worked behind the scenes to deliver Gilad Shalit from captivity. He is co-founder of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI)  and his contacts include moderates from within Hamas. He has been working for rational negotiations as well as humane treatment of those Gazans who’ve been bombed out of their homes. He’s collected household goods from Israelis for delivery and he’s raised money for emergency food. He’s crusading to bring the other side of the story to the attention of those of us who live on this side of the border. But what is the other side? How many other sides are there?  Some people claim that his very earnestness to listen to those across the border has made him too cynical about the Israeli side.

Who am I to guess? How is anyone to know what the objective situation ‘is’.

In world situations, everything links to everything else. One bit of evidence leads to the certainty that something else preceded it.

When people share their political vision, I listen for awhile and then off I go, daydreaming about ‘what if’ and what beach or scene would I rather be surrounded with.

Poetry seems trite. Art seems logical. How would I paint what I want to express? Closing my eyes, I see a kind of huge textured coloured landscape. It’s filled with ranges of low rising mountains and raggedy paths. The mountain has no summit – it’s rather endless like the Great Wall of China, only earth-made. I see a low craggy mountainscape in rusty red with bits of rock in no certain shape.

Up the Mountain, watercolor by judih

This imaginary large canvas contains a very clear way, somewhere within. A poor trekker prepared with dates, water and a hammock, makes camp, knowing that one day, the hammock will find a place to be hung and on that day, the trekker will rest.

hammock offers rest

  1. 2. Gershon Baskin: Israeli Co-Director and founder of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI) – a joint Israeli-Palestinian public policy think and “do”-tank located in Jerusalem.

August 18th

August 20th

Kibbutz Life · Living in Otef Azza · Music · Nir-oz · truce with Hamas · Youth Making a Difference

August 18th, 2014 – pondering different realities

piano chords

flute melodies

waterfalls and birds

chinese bamboo flute.jpg
Chinese bamboo flute

Listening to Chinese bamboo flute music.

The single chords of a piano, the melodic flute, water runs in the background and a bird on occasion. Some vocals, some strings.

It opens me up in an effortless way. Immediate effect. And it works on so many others.

new york kids aug 2014.jpg
Our School Twin, Bet Shraga, Albany, NY

I see a group of American kids posing in front of a beautiful backdrop that they created. I cry. Why? Because I wish I could be teleported into that picture. Happy, smiling. For that particular moment, they’re together and their only goal is to have a picture taken to mark their existence.

Beautiful existence.

I look at them and wonder when our kids will be having that experience. It seems like we’re in for war tomorrow. They cancelled the train from Ashkelon to Sderot. That translates to heavy odds towards renewed rocketfire, missiles being aimed at a chunk of the country.  I clearly don’t want to think about it, but it’s hovering right there, just above my right shoulder.

The bamboo flute reminds me that this too will pass. The future doesn’t yet exist. One move made by one person could change everything. One move leads to another. I could be sitting here tomorrow morning praising the wisdom of those sitting at the negotiation table. Or their folly. 

Humankind doesn’t seem to learn that flexibility comes with practice. If each human exercised daily, meditated daily, listened to Chinese bamboo flutes, then perhaps, human beings would be able to reconsider the old ways.  Perhaps those ways don’t suit the current reality. It could be that there’s a new way of dealing with things right in front of our eyes, if only we were to be open enough to look and see.

August 15th

August 19th

Kibbutz Life · Living in Otef Azza · Middle East · Nir-oz · truce with Hamas · What's Happening

Day After Ceasefire – November 22, 2012

Wednesday night,  November 14, was the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense.

Today is Thursday, November 22nd, the first day after the Ceasefire pronounced yesterday evening at 9:00 PM our time.

A week of being directed to our Safe Rooms if we had them, or within 15 seconds distance of any possible Safe Room.  A week of being alerted to every little nuance of  daily life. No work. No school. Yes work. Yes kibbutz breakfast. No kibbutz dinner.  Store hours. Store closed suddenly. And so it went.

A facebook group kept English Speakers in constant touch. We fed one another’s anxieties and applauded our acts of heroism. Going out for a regular walk was cheered, or admonished (mostly admonished with incredulity). Walking dogs within proximity of  a shelter became a deed of courage that needed a motivational talk beforehand and a debriefing afterwards.

Interesting times we live in.

Some lived without.

Many residents left the area and still haven’t returned.

Eventually, things will come back to normal.

Normal awareness that we carry with us at all times will sit in our back pockets instead of fully planted in our frontal lobe.

Soon. My safe room will go back to being a safe haven of choice rather than necessity.

A safe room.

Kibbutz Life · Living in Otef Azza · truce with Hamas

Safety, or would that it were true

3 New protective structures on the kibbutzYes! We’ve got 3 new protective structures on Kibbutz Nir-Oz.

One is beside our communal laundry/clothing facility (The Communa),

another is beside the basketball court and this is good because this is where T’ai Chi instruction occurs every Tuesday evening,

and a third is beside the only Children’s House that till now has been unprotected by a huge concrete and steel roof.

We received these structures almost a week ago, and I beg your indulgence for not having reported this sooner. I’ve been busy with end of year Matriculation Exams, but now, here I am to report that they are in place. We are safer.

How safe do I feel?

Well, truthfully, after last Friday’s Red Alert and again another one last night, I have once again realized that it’s either hiding under the 88 piano keys in my living room (the safest place in the house) or continuing sitting where I am at the moment and counting 15 seconds after the Alert to wait for the Boom.  Last night, I counted to 45 before I heard it. The boom sounded like it fell in the field. You can tell these things.

I live at least 2 minutes from the nearest shelter, so I’m not feeling much improvement. Also notably, last night’s Alert came after we heard there’s about to be a truce with Hamas.

Safety is not exactly overflowing.

Some of the younger kibbutzniks are in favour of leaving. Most of us are not in such a hurry to turn our backs on our home. The situation has not really changed for the past 7 years, in fact.

Except for one small detail. A man has been killed by mortar fire. The qassam fire that impotently fell on open fields for so long has been displaced by one hit that struck down a human life here at home.

Yet, life goes on. I continue to walk in the fields. I continue to hear helicopters, like right now, for instance. I drink coffee. I bake bread. The swimming pool is filled with those cooling down from the heat wave.

I, like you, perhaps, check the newspapers to see what has transpired during the night and what is going on in other kibbutzim, cities and settlements. I seldom see the facts spelled out till much later. But safety? I’ll be safe on Tuesday if a Red Alert is called while we’re doing Chi Cong. I’ll be safe if I happen to be by the Laundry or the Brosh Children’s House. Meanwhile, it’s going to be to flatten out if I’m on the road outside, or perhaps look into my daughter’s eyes as we crouch beneath the piano keys.

(I can hear my mother say: “So this is why I paid for 6 years of piano lessons?”)

And what’s going on in Nirlat paint factory (the target of two incidents of mortar fire, one fatal)? Walking by the factory last evening, we heard the orders: “All into the protected shelters“.  After a few minutes, new orders resounded: “All back to work“. And a few minutes after that, ‘All into the protected shelters” and so it goes as the workers do their shifts.

Imagine for yourself how this must be.

Safety? At least they have protective shelters and a voice to give them an alert. This wasn’t the case the day that mortar struck down Amnon Rosenberg.

But here I am to say that we have 3 new Shelters and the promise that each house will receive a protected room. I’ll be back to report how that’s going.  The truce with Hamas has gone into effect as of 6 a.m. this morning, June 19th, 2008.

Let’s give truce a chance.

Here’s hoping you all have a peaceful weekend. And don’t forget to write. We all have our anxieties and our release mechanisms. May writing ease the pressure.