Updates from Israel: Your Words and Images

11 Jul 2014

We asked the Jewish community at large to share their words and images about the current situation in Israel. Here’s a look at the latest we have received. You can share your own thoughts and photos here.

Please note that text submitted has been left largely unedited to preserve the authors’ words and intent.


Submitted on behalf of an IDF soldier currently fighting in Gaza:

Today our hearts are pounding in fear. Who of us will die? And who will return safely?

We are your messengers in fighting . We are fighting so you can live peacefully with your children. So you can stay alive. We are your protection. Will you be ours? We are going to this dangerous mission knowing some of us will not come back, but will rise to their next position in a storm to heaven, as Eliyahu the Navi did.

We are going with devotion and dedication.

We are asking you to be our protection with your prayers. Protect us by going above and beyond yourselves through Ruchniyus and good deeds.

Pray for us. Pray that you won’t see another mother burying her son. Pray that you won’t see our wives as widows raise our children in tears. Pray that our children will grow up knowing who their fathers are. Pray that we will eliminate the terrorists who aim to destroy us, and that we will not injure innocent women and children.

Please, we are begging you, as you are reading this, don’t just go on to the next thing you are doing. Say a chapter of Tehillim. Wake up David HaMelech to ask Hashem for full Geulah and peace for the all world. Take upon yourselves another good deed. And please pass this on. I’m certain that your prayer will make a difference.

Remember, we are in it together. We are on the front lines carrying the weapons and you are fighting along with us in your prayers. Each word of your prayer gives us strength, protection and success!!!!!!


Submitted by OU Israel Trauma Team Director Debbie Gross:

Post-Trauma Intervention Workshops

The intervention team was dismayed to discover that students in these towns have not participated in any crisis intervention programs.These are students who have been subjected to hundreds of missile attacks over the years. They have lost friends and family members and yet have received no psychological counseling or crisis intervention.
The school administration was delightedby the prospect of beginning a post-trauma intervention program with their students. The administrators are extremely concerned that many of the students are suffering from PTSD.
All of the students have experienced war firsthand. They have spent time in shelters. Most of them come from low socio-economic backgrounds and do not have the necessary support systems required to help them adequately deal with the shock, terror and fears that overwhelm them daily.

It was decided to begin the crisis intervention project by providing the students with the post-trauma interactive workshop which was originally developed after the War in Lebanon in August 2006.It was also used effectively in Sderot and during Operation Pillar of Cloud in November 2012 in Kiryat Malachi.

Read the full report


Submitted by Shimon Apisdorf:

Yoni_miklatYesterday morning, my son-in-law Yoni Kampf said, “Abba, let’s go to Beersheva.”

So we did.

Yoni, who is studying social work at Bar Ilan, contacted the social services office there (lishkat ha’rvacha). We spent a couple hours calling home bound people to see if they were okay, and later, while walking through a neighborhood, we saw an open bomb shelter and decided to go in.

It turned out that there were about 10 elderly Russians who had been spending days and nights inside the shelter.
Why weren’t they leaving? Because they don’t move fast enough to make it from their houses to the shelter when the siren sounds. In Beersheva its 30-60 seconds from siren to potential impact.

They spoke Russian and only a little hebrew. But thankfully, Yoni speaks Yiddish! He spoke with them and then began singing Yiddish songs with them. He literally had them singing and dancing.

They hadn’t eaten since the morning, and there was only water in the shelter. So Yoni said, “let’s go buy them lunch.” We got bread, tuna, cheese, coffee, cookies. When we returned, they pushed the tables together and invited us to their feast that featured Yoni leading the singing of Yiddish songs.

After a couple hours, Yoni had transformed a depressed room into a glowing celebration


Submitted by Tali Katz Weiss:

fBook_reserveReality check… This is a picture I took a couple hours ago of my husband Gershon. For those of you who don’t really know him, here’s a little background. Gershon was born and raised in Jerusalem. He served in the army from 2003-2006. Gershon’s unit was based in Ramallah and had a very (to put it lightly) intense service through the 2nd intifada. Needless to say, Gershon lost many friends (along with most his innocence of youth). Gershon continued to serve as a reserve, with yearly 1-2 months a year spent in the army. When the 2nd Lebanon war broke out, Gershon was called up and spent a month inside enemy lines in Lebanon. A year and a half ago gershon’ reality became mine as well when he was called up to serve in מבצע עמוד ענן. For two weeks i became a single mom of twin one year olds without an idea of when Gershon would be coming home. And here we go again… This is reality. My awesome husband and yehuda and Asafs amazing abba dropped everything, packed a bag, gave big hugs to the boys and left. I don’t know where he’s going or when he will be coming home, but I do know this- this reality, while scary and still uncomfortably unfamiliar to this Los Angeles girl, is purely an honor and a privilege. So here’s a request: pray for the safeness in our reality, pray for the safe return home of ALL the soldiers out there, pray for the safety of the holy citizens of this country from north till south. And most importantly, please take a second to have immense pride in our holy reality.

מי כעמך ישראל
ה׳ ישמור צאתם ובואם מעתה ועד עולם

Submitted by Dena Feldbaum:

Sitting under my lemon and loquat trees I could smell the fruity smell, the quiet was heavenly. My eyes settled on the Israeli flag blowing in the wind. For those of us raised in America the flag’s history is something we so proudly remember. Many a time I remember getting all teary over the ‘by the dawn’s early light…that the flag was still there.’

The song and the emotion that it brings is also true about us here. You see, by laws of nature we wouldn’t be here by now. A colleague sent a picture of part of a missile that landed right next to his table at an outdoor cafe. We collect miracle stories and expect it to happen as we live in the land of miracles.

On our Sabbath we disconnect-no social media, no tv, radio, email etc. It is a time of family connecting, study, prayer and introspection. My daughter and I played Rummikub, my son and daughter and I had some really quality talking time. It was such a nice time! Having said that, we ate our dinner with the feeling that at any second the siren will blare.

Saturday night the Hamas said the bombing would start with a 9pm missile to Tel Aviv. I guess it didn’t load as quickly as they said, it was 9:09…We heard a siren in the distance, it went off near a colleague’s house. And then missiles from the North, my son told me it is right outside of his lodgings… finding out how our people in the south had been basically living in their protected areas.

Many of the areas hit are not beyond the green line, and are not from boundaries following the 1948 war. The missiles are going everywhere, and at the same time. As many of you have seen on the social media the amount of time to find a safe place is limited. In the southern part of Israel it is exactly 15 seconds from firing until it hits. Each time a siren blows it takes me a few seconds to be sure if I am really hearing a siren. Then to remember what I will need in the stairwell, cell phone, flashlight etc. (and why oh why didn’t I go to the bathroom before the siren blew???). Now look around, where are the kids? (And mine are adults, if they were babies, OMG, diapers, wipes, bottles, snacks and toys??? Finally ready to go to the stairwell? Too late-here is the BOOM! I have a minute and a half!!! My hat goes off to the young mothers who are doing this alone because their husbands are reservists called up.

I think of the Israeli flag-the blue star of David on a white background. We don’t raise a white flag of surrender, we raise a Star of David, the Jewish People date far back, even before King David. David slew Goliath with a mere slingshot-a tiny shepherd. Our strength lies in the blue-a sign of the Heavens, G-d is protecting the Israeli nation, visualize the flag-a blue stripe above and a blue stripe below the Star- G-d’s protection. May He protect all of us and may this ‘cruel war [that] is raging’ end , with a real peace for all.


Letter received by Rabbi Avi Berman, Executive Director of OU Israel:


Submitted by OU Israel:

OU Israel’s Oraita program in Dimona at work- The activities on July 10 started at 5:00 p.m. with about 60 children and teenagers. There were four stations designed with something for everyone: creativity, chocolate, soccer and musical chairs. At 8:00 p.m. there were sirens and very loud explosions nearby. Everyone went back in to Oraita moadon which is in a shelter.



Submitted by Renah Bell:

Let me tell you what just happened. I was packing for a Jerusalem Shabbat and was not quite dressed after my shower. Suddenly the alarms went off in the distance and my brother and sister-in-law called to me to come quickly. I threw on a shirt and ran to get under the reinforced ceiling . We counted heard nine BOOMs. Some were closer, some farther–a few were really close. The house shook with a few of them. We are hoping the sound was from the successful Iron Dome response. And then they stopped and we continued with what we had been doing. Very scary! It was 10:45 AM.


Submitted by Natan Abrams:

ויקרא יט – לֹא תַעֲמֹד עַל-דַּם רֵעֶךָ

Missile trails overhead. Explosions. Debris from missile lands 200 feet from my front door. The enemy is maniacally pursuing our extermination. Modern day Amalek. We need to forcefully expel them from Azza, Yehuda and Shomron at the very least. Any other path is delusional. Doing the right thing is not easy and will cost us (hopefully not too dearly). It looks like Hashem may force our hand regardless of whether some would prefer not to.

Submitted by Rabbi Eliyahu W. Ferrell:

From my brother-in-law in Beitar.

From: Aharon Smith
Sent: Thursday, July 10, 2014 11:33 AM
To: Ferrell, Eliyahu
Subject: Re: Start?

got a siren when we were in the park with 7 kids
not a enough time to get to a building so we hide near a wall
doesn’t help much
…then the 2 booms over are head in the sky
we saw the smoke from the missiles blowing up

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.