Friday, July 25, 2014

Guest Post: SHOPPING DURING THE WAR by Janet Clare

by Janet Clare

Being glued to news sites 22/6, for weeks has depleted my food supplies, so this little piggy went to market in Jerusalem today, and here are some observations on the effects of this war .
Ma'ale Levona
First, the bus drivers are almost all grandpas, my peer group, cuz the young ones have been called up. I was the last Ma'ale Levona person to get on the bus to Jerusalem I tottered to my seat, grabbing onto everything that was nailed down, when I noticed we weren't careening down our narrow, windy mountain road as usual since "Gramps" was waiting for me to sit before stepping on the gas. Nice. Once settled, many of the passengers hit their cell phones for the latest news, while everyone else eavesdropped and commented on the reports. The little Cohen girl in front of me read out that Brazil had closed its embassy and withdrawn its staff today and that the US State Dept. was now letting their airlines fly to Israel again. She read this to her grandmother, seated next to her in Hebrew and French. French is heard a lot now because so many have moved here after finally being convinced by the Jew-beating,/stabbing, synagogue and shop burnings that have occurred there.during the "poor Palestinian"-"Jews to the ovens" 'demonstrations'..
As soon as we arrived in the outskirts of Jerusalem, I transferred to the light-rail Every window that I could see on my side of the train had spider-web like cracks in its picture windows. Arabs had rioted in their neighborhoods of Jerusalem a few weeks ago, resulting in millions of dollars worth of damage in destroyed tracks and burnt-out stations. The lines had been fixed, but the stations not as yet rebuilt. I had heard that the trains would not be stopping in those Arab neighborhoods in the foreseeable future,, but, in fact, we did.. So much for "tough love".
All the shopkeepers, actually everyone on the streets, were so friendly and upbeat; like one big united family. Two semi-famous Hareidi guitarists were harmonizing American pop songs when I passed, and without skipping a beat, sang out:
"Lady with the grin. We see you grinning!" 
I gave them a thumbs up behind my back, still grinning.

My butcher at the shuk said:
"Leave your heavy bags here; finish your shopping; then pick them up on the way out." Which I did. Nice. 
While taking turns sitting on the one stool, we customers of Benzi, the meticulous, thus slow, master watch-fixer, had a half-hour discussion with him about the best watches around the world. (Surprise: China's among them.) More nice encounters ensued.
On entering the central bus station for home, I encountered teens enthusiastically asking for donations (with receipts) to buy supplies for the soldiers, and people were giving big! I found I had two hours to kill before the next bus home, (not only drivers, but our bullet-proof buses had been called up, so service to M.L. was a bit sporadic.) So I went back outside to sit under a shade tree. A soldier girl sat next to me. She had been helping out at the Gaza Front, but got injured when something big (not a rocket), fell on her and broke some bones (my military Hebrew understanding is not great.) So getting out of hospital, she said, with some shame, that she wished she was further back now, cleaning weapons. I said, in my non-existent diplomatic way:
"Good" I'm glad you're safer Let our warriors protect you and the People of Israel. They want to and you deserve it." I thanked her for her service to the Nation. Then said, "BTW, you were injured while honoring the Name of G-d! You've earned a lot of points Upstairs." Surprised 'non-religious' look; then big proud smile.
Then, a soldier boy sat down on my other side, so I asked were he was coming from. "The South."
"Not anymore. 13 guys in my Golani unit were killed by a Hamas RPG."
"What happened?"
"They were all in a (something big, military, but not a tank). They put an antennae up for (some computer/satellite?) connection and were spotted. Then targeted." 
Anyway, soldier boy had quit college in the States to come to Israel to join the IDF. He and his parents (still in the States) have lived in Philadelphia, New York, Californian, and South Carolina. So be proud of your boy, America! But he's home now. He has an Israeli girlfriend in the Golan, and an apartment he hasn't seen for 6 weeks in Jerusalem. And he's still not going to see it because he was on his way to a base to guard in the Shomron. He bids farewell as his girlfriend has shown up for 10 minutes together before he catches his bus to base.
Nearby, teens were selling IDF support bracelets, Israeli flags, and T-shirts with "Together We're Strong. We love Israel. We support the IDF'. I bought a shirt and some bracelets for my son's family in CA. They later came over and gave girl soldier a chit for some coffee and food at a young people's cafe. I had a bus to catch now so bid her farewell and of course, an invite to M.L. for R'nR. (There's not much else in our quiet village but a petting zoo, grocery store and beautiful views "from the river Jordan to the sea"). She agreed and wish me "Shabbat Shalom" as I do you.

Janet Clare has lived in Ma'ale Levona, Israel, which is just northwest of Shiloh, for many years. She calls herself a ""Hilltop Grandmother." 
In her words: 
But one of the most meaningful things I've ever done is to plant a garden and hold on to a bit of land in Eretz Yisrael. So that's why I like judge, prophetess, military commander Devorah's response when asked for her blurb, "I'm a mother in Israel".

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