Lots of messages this week…
“What’s going on in Israel” “Are you OK?” “Are you safe?” “Can you still turn sticks into serpents? I have a certain situation and could use some help with that.”
The Kingdom of Jewish Baseball is under fire! So I now must do what All Men of Destiny and Honor do when it’s time for war — tweet, post on Facebook, and write a blog!
1) Tuesday, July 8, 7:00pm
Picking Amit up for Eliora’s wedding. Sirens. We go into the stairwell with his sister and mother and neighbors. Amit is casual about it. ROCKETS DON’T HURT US. So, so am I. We leave for the wedding 10 minutes later.
First phone call from my Mom.
2)Tuesday, July 8, 10:00pm
At the wedding. The sirens earlier did not stop people from coming. Everyone is here. Alon. Lee. The King of Jewish Ice cream. Jewish Jackie Robinson. After the ceremony, in the dining room, more sirens. Everyone is told to go to the bathrooms. People crowd in. There is not enough room. Some people go outside to look at the sky. We don’t see anything.
Facetime with Dasi to tell her I am okay.
3) Wednesday, July 9, 8:30am
3rd day of Baseball Camp. We hear rockets being intercepted in the distance during our group meeting with the kids.
4) Thursday, July 10, 8:00am
Sirens on our way to camp. We pull of the highway. Me, Richard, Yuli, and Apple Juice jump the guard rail and lay down. I don’t get the logic of laying down. But, when the sirens go off, pick the most Israeli person in the group, and do whatever they’re doing. THEY’RE ISRAELI. THEY’RE TRAINED FOR THIS. We get back in the car and proceeded to camp mostly in silence.
Mom calls, worried. She has the Red Alert App that notifies her when there are rocket attacks. Dasi tells me the US Embassy is closing and I am living in a war zone. They are both better informed than I am. It still feels like we’re just running a baseball camp.
5) Friday, July 11, 10:45am
3rd inning of a scrimmage game between the Junior National Team and the Senior National team. Sirens. We all run in our metal cleats into a house behind the third base dugout and crowd into two safety rooms. We hear the booms of the rockets being intercepted by the iron dome. We resume the game 15 minutes later.
6) Friday, July 11, 6pm
Sitting at a restaurant in Jaffa. No sirens, but see a cloud of smoke in the sky and a rocket explode in mid air. People gather around to look.
Mom calls. I assure her I am fine. Things are totally normal.
7) Saturday, July 12, 9pm
Get home, open the car door, sirens. Louder than before. My neighbors come outside. I ask if they want to come in. They say it’s safer outside. Again, I do not understand, but follow the Israelis, wavering half-in my door, half-out, while they calm their dogs down. I go inside and sit in the shower and take a picture of myself. Then we hear the rockets blowing up in the sky, close and loud. Partly because I am home, and party because I amalone, I feel scared for the first time.
I call my mom. She is calm now, losing interest.
8) Sunday July 13, 4:45pm
Drop Richard off at his hotel. Sirens. I put the car in park, leave it in the street, Richard, Yuli, and I run into the hotel. Everyone goes to the basement. The siren is loud again. And the explosions are pretty loud.
No phone calls are made.
9) Sunday, July 13th, 8pm
Sundown at the beach. I sit on the rocks with Nam Nam and Efrat and watch rockets get shot down out of the sky.
I miss a call from my parents. I call back. Things have changed. They’re cool. No big deal. They’ve adapted. They’ve become Israeli about it. We get used to danger quickly.
Today is Monday, July 14th, 2014. It’s been almost a week since the first sirens. I’m sitting in the storage shed at Baptist Village– my office, sweating, typing, watching the kids practice on the field. All of the rockets have been intercepted by the Iron Dome so far. It’s like there aren’t rockets coming at all, like a deadly asteroid flying through space you know will never hit Earth, but that may hit Earth. There is nothing to do but continue at baseball camp, and use the closest Israeli as a human barometer for how to act and feel. More sirens could come anytime.