Wednesday, July 09, 2008

... and first pigua.

Last Thursday, when I went to pick Barak up from gan, I was silently handed a slip of paper.


We are deeply saddened to inform you that

Hodaya's aunt, her mother's sister, was murdered

in yesterday's terror attack. Hodaya's mother is

sitting shiva in Yerushalayim.

The mothers and fathers--gan pickup is much more equitable here than it is in the States, it seems--were coming and going with their kids, and I was standing there with Barak's tik in one hand and this slip of paper in the other. I hadn't even heard about the terror attack.

"What terror attack?" I asked the ganenet. She seemed shocked I hadn't heard.

"It was near the bus station. A tractor tipped over a bus, and ran over some cars." I explained that we were only here for the summer and didn't have a TV or radio--and I hadn't checked the news online since the day before. She told me, gently, that I should really get a radio. The children filtered out, one by one, and we were still there. I suddenly realized we were the last ones, and took Barak's hand and we left.
We walked home, Barak and I, and I bought him a slushy at the falafel store on the way, which he found a pleasant surprise--I don't usually do that. When we got back I checked the news and found out the details. And Hodaya's aunt was my age, with a baby my baby's age, and I could not help but look at my baby and think about her baby, and what it would be like for a six-month-old baby to suddenly go from having Imma all the time to having no Imma, ever again. No more nursing, no more cuddles, no more Imma. I picked up my baby, and held him tight, and tried not to think too much.
It is the most incredible disconnect, somehow, being here. Where we live here is incomparably safer than where we live most of the time. Where we live in America, I would never allow any of my kids to be out of my sight when outside, even for a moment. There have been muggings and attempted abductions and even a fatal shooting within a couple of blocks of our house, in the last few years. Here, I have no problem with letting Barak run down the steps to the entryway on one side of our building while I walk around the other side with the stroller. To go from our house to his gan, we cross one street--everything else is paths. I don't make him hold the stroller unless we are crossing the street, and I let him run ahead, which I also don't do in the States.
It's so much safer--and at the same time, you can be coming back from your well-baby checkup with your six-month-old and someone might murder you. Not kill you by accident. Murder you. Because they hate you and want to kill you, and they want to kill everyone like you. That's what jihad is.
Of course, having once worked at 50 Broadway across the street from a large smoking hole, I know very well that it is not really any more dangerous here than anywhere else. You can wake up one morning and go to your accounting job and be murdered sitting at your desk. Nowhere is safe, so better to be where we are supposed to be, better to be where we can defend ourselves. Because where we are is the first line of defense, and it is our line of defense.
So last Thursday, I met a friend for lunch and tichel-shopping at the central bus station, on Jaffa Street, right near the pigua the week before. I took my baby with me. And we took the bus.

1 comment:

Yasmin said...

Oh, what a shock. I'm so sorry, for everyone, for everything. It's altogether horrible.

At the same time, I had been wondering whether you would make it through your summer there without an incident like this, and hoping very much that it wouldn't actually involve you if/when it did happen. Not that anyone else is OK to hurt but you and your family, but the personal connection, of course, makes it more meaningful to me, and I selfishly want my friends to be the ones who are unhurt.

I also think you are doing the right thing in not cowering under your desk for the remainder of the stay. There is no safe spot, as you have said. That is not to say, of course, that you should blithely walk into battle zones, but when it's as random as this is, there's no point in hiding. To quote Caesar (and Will. S.) "...will come when it will come."

With wishes for peace and safety for all.