Kibbutz Life · Living in Otef Azza

Fourth Night of Chanukah

A day of Tzeva Adom and of nowhere to go for safety. After the first call, I counted and reached 6 when I heard the boom. Then I kept counting, since the qassams usually come in 3’s. I heard another and then relaxed.

A second alert brought sounds of mortar fire.

The news on the street is that our factory sustained 2 hits with no injuries. Our greenhouses a third hit (the workers were hysterical but physically whole) and another landed in our fields.

Qassams landed in two of the neighbouring kibbutzim.

When we took our daily walk, there were no signs of damage and no further rocketfire from the direction of Aza. Walking outside gives a clear view as to what’s going on. When there is no official Red Alert warning, we know that observers have been able to warn people to get into available shelters.

We were interviewed by a reporter from Reshet Bet who appeared loathe to get too close to our kibbutz. Those who live out of this area imagine the worst and fear approaching Otef Aza. When you live here, you know that life goes on. It must.

Worry does nothing but bring on ulcers and senseless repercussions. The only thing to do is carry on, hoping the gov’t will speed up the provision of shelters for all families in the area.

Happy Chanukah. Fourth Candle.

4th Day Chanukah, chanukiah made by zo
4th Day Chanukah, chanukiah made by zo

dec 24/08

Kibbutz Life

First night of Chanukah, Festival of Lights

Wishing you a peaceful, warm festival season. Winter Solstice is today as well. Shortest day of the year corresponds with the candlelit hope that things will brighten this year.

If you’ve been following the news, you probably know that there have been qassams and mortar fire reaching Sderot, Nahal Oz and here in the Eshkol region. (info on Eshkol in Hebrew)

The weather’s been warm and though the cloud cover has hinted at rain, it’s been dry. The weather makes a difference. Rain would probably bring fewer such attacks.

But it’s Chanukah! On the kibbutz tonight, we’re lighting Ner Rishon (first candle of 8).  We also have a torch race, in which the kids of the kibbutz run a route marked out by candles in bags of sand. In the Dining Room, soufganiot (jelly doughnuts) will be served. I prefer a more macrobiotic diet, so I’m an observer rather than a consumer.

Enjoy, stay safe. Be warm.

Chanukiah or Chanukah Menora, made by Zo
Chanukiah or Chanukah Menora, made by Zo
Living in Otef Azza

at last! Update – School, GA visit, beloved friend’s loss, Red Alert “Tzeva Adom”

Yes, Let My People Know is still here. It’s been a week.

Commiserating with a friend.

A beloved friend suffered the tragic loss of her husband to suicide. How to comfort a friend under such A & dogshorrific life-blows? There’s no answer except to love her and try to stay in one piece, oneself.  Being an exceptionally loving human being, she was surrounded by many friends. We all extend our love and support. How to go on? We find the strength and we do it. Together.

Monday, November 17. This week saw the return of “Tzeva Adom” (Red Alert) during school hours. The English staff were able to scurry into our shelter within 5 seconds. We stood there counting and heard a loud Boom and then a slightly softer one. We knew it had landed close by. Sure enough, it hit the kibbutz beside Ma’ale Habsor. News stories have interviewed elderly residents who had no protective shelter to run to. Still the kibbutzim are unprotected. The school children are luckier. They have shelters near their classrooms.

Survival Techniques

During our 8th grade english lesson, we were again sent off to wait through a period of uncertainty. Most students have their survival equipment on hand: cell-phone music and earphones, games to be played, gossip to be shared. One girl in my shelter had her crocheting on hand. She’s making a scarf! (lovely spring lilac shade)

A few students in the younger grades were shaken up, but the older kids seem to be able to digest this reality and go on with a semblance of normality. Those students in the soccer field had no option but to flatten out on the ground, according to instructions by the Security Office.

Visit from the GA (General Assembly of the Jewish Agency)

One visitor from the U.S. had a taste of this reality. Marcy from the G.A. (General Assembly) of the Jewish Agency came to promote the Living Bridge Project. We met at Ma’ale Habsor along with Tal Kalmer, co-ordinator, Vered Tal, Principal of Ma’ale Habsor, Anat Rozen, co-ordinator of the connection with Mexico for Ma’ale Habsor, and myself, Ma’ale Habsor co-ordinator of the connection with Bet Shraga, Albany.

We shared greetings and news. The bridge with 8th grade students in Albany is being built through a private Facebook site, on which we post greetings, questions, photos and video clips. Ma’ale Habsor kids sent New Year’s Greeting Cards to Bet Shraga kids. Marcy brought us a bulging envelope of Chanukah greeting cards from kids at Bet Shraga. We had to hurry to make some cards to send back with her, but sure enough, Marcy received an envelope from us with cards to the kids in Albany. There’s nothing like a colourful hand-written card to build excitement in a roomful of kids!

May this project grow.

May you all have a good week, a peaceful week.

Early Chanukah Greetings – Light! and more Light!

Chanukah Collage in Progress, Randa Dubnick
Chanukah Collage in Progress, Randa Dubnick