We finished breakfast and made our way to the buses. We just boarded when the sirens blared. We quickly and in orderly fashion disembarked and proceeded to the hotel safe room.
We heard what sounded like fireworks, looked up and saw the Iron Dome protect us and Tel Aviv, right before our eyes. Two missiles appeared to collide overhead. Shockingly, a few tourists stopped on their way to snap pictures of the averted tragedy. Go figure.
Upon entering the safe room, our security personnel explained that there is significant danger from falling debris and shrapnel. And there are times when a portion of the bomb may not have been fully detonated. Therefore, you are to remain in the shelter for 10 minutes following the siren. This was my second visit to the hotel safe area.
I don't think about it at all during the day, although at night I make sure I have a clear path to the door and clothes ready that can be put on quickly and while half asleep. You have 90 seconds to wake up, dress and get to the shelter. At home it takes me that long to hit the snooze button!
I called donors the last few evenings to update them on the situation and seek their financial support. I am in awe of their generosity, concern for my safety, and dedication to Israel. Evan, a good friend, who's always there when needed, pledged $18,000 for the Israel Emergency Campaign. When I thanked him for his remarkable generosity, he simply said, "Don't thank me — it's my duty."
How lucky am I, I thought, to be able to know Evan, and so many other dedicated lay leaders?
Greater MetroWest wired roughly $400,000 in emergency aid to Israel last week. The national “federation system" is sending $10 million to support our homeland.
And then it really hit home. Federation's annual campaign is the safety net. The "Iron Dome," so to speak, of the Jewish people.
My family asked me not to come to Israel at this time. In fact, my daughters were sending me news reports of the latest bombings. And truth be told, I can't say that there weren’t a few instances when I almost cancelled. But I can tell you that having been here for almost a week, there is no place on earth that I would rather be at this moment. I have never been so proud to be a Jew and SO very proud to stand with our extended Israeli family.