My Family Living Under Rockets

WhatsApp Image 2019-05-08 at 4.45.35 PM

This week was a crazy week here in the South of Israel. I’m sure you read all about it; how we got hit by enormous amounts of rockets, and how four people were killed.

I’m a young wife and mother living in Southern Israel.  

I live close to the Iron Dome operative, so on Saturday night I went outside to film all the activity. The Iron Dome was blowing up Hamas rockets mid-flight. I sent the video to my family Whatsapp group when my first siren went off. My daughter was sleeping in her bed, and I had no idea where my husband was.

I bolted to get her, not realizing my camera was still on. I grabbed my daughter, went to the bomb shelter and felt her body clench as we stepped outside and heard the siren in full volume.

I tried to calm myself down so I could focus on keeping her calm, and waited for it to be over so I could put her back to sleep safely in her bed.

My biggest fear with all of this, thanks to the Iron Dome, is no longer our physical safety. We feel pretty safe once we are in a shelter. What makes me afraid, is the psychological trauma my daughter may develop from the sirens, the hysterics, and the anticipation.

As a parent, my focus has been on training both she and I, to feel safe and calm during the sirens, and to never panic. I don’t call the bomb shelter a bomb shelter, we call it a safe place. When I run with her I sing an upbeat tune with it. Most importantly, that no matter what, she knows she is safe with me.

That first night, my husband Daniel came running right behind me and we got into the shelter together. My daughter once awakened, was exhausted, and asked to go back to sleep. I told her that we have to stay in this safe place for a few more minutes, and then I’ll put her back in her bed. She nodded and stayed calm on my lap. When the first boom came she sat up very stiff and then said “Mummy, it’s the big wind.”

We giggled to ourselves and agreed with her. We’e started calling the explosions – wind. Sometimes you need humor to be in the bomb shelter.

The danger passed and we headed back home. Once she was again sleeping, I realized I had a bit of a video from the first seconds of the siren, and I posted it along with my thoughts.

As she fell asleep another siren went off. This time I recorded the whole operation, of waking her up, running to the shelter, and making sure we were safe. She was calm during the whole experience. At some point when she saw I was worried and she held my face in her hands and said, “It’s scary Mummy, but I’m not scared” in the cute singsong tune I use with her. I snapped out of my head, and joined her in this calm place until the siren ended.

The sirens kept on coming at us that night few, until at 3am they stopped, and I was able to fall asleep.

When I checked my phone the next morning I was surprised to see hundreds of messages from people I never met. People from all over the world wishing me safety and prayers, and mainly thanking me for taking them with them on this crazy experience. And I realized that my experience had been a portal to others who have never experienced this, as normal.

For a few seconds, through a few Instagram stories, thousands of people were able to understand what it is like to live, with terror raining down on your family.

As the responses continued to pour in, people kept asking me what they could do to help. An idea struck.

In Israel on Yom Haatzmaut, Israeli Independence day (which is tomorrow) is a huge celebration for Israelis, and Jews all over the world. One of the popular ways to celebrate is by joining with friends and family and having a BBQ. I have no idea why! The beaches and parks are filled with Israelis enjoying the national holiday and grilling together in the relaxed and joyful atmosphere.

Due to the severity of the security situation here, there are a lot of soldiers who are stuck in bases down south, and they aren’t going to be able to participate in the day’s festivities.

So we figured if they can’t go to a BBQ, why don’t we bring the fun to them?

So far we have received an outpouring of love and donations from all over the world, of people who want to help participate in this beautiful mitzvah, of being there for those, who are there to protect us.

I am writing this on Yom Hazikaron. We are remembering the soldiers that have fallen and the citizens who lost their lives to terror.

This year, it feels more real than ever.

Still yet, we plan on celebrating our freedom, and invite you to join us in giving back to those who are making Israel a place, we can continue to live and thrive.

Hadassa Cowland Goldberg. I made Aliya with my family at the age of 8 from London, and I now live in the south of Israel with my husband Daniel and our two-year-old daughter, Halleli. My passions are psychology, creativity, and salt & vinegar anything.
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