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!