You know that feeling you get — that rush of breath-stopping adrenaline — when you watch a scary movie and you helplessly watch the main character walk across the screen straight into the death trap of pure evil?
And her hand reaches for the door knob…and…
Someone behind you — someone in real life — slams a door.
And you scream! You didn’t realize how tense you were. You didn’t realize just how edgy you were until you screamed.
That’s me right now.
I live in Israel.
But not the part of Israel that’s being bombarded by rockets or being forced into bomb shelters every few minutes in response to the Code Red sirens sounding.
I live in Northern Israel. The Lower Galilee.
In accordance with non-specific requests by the IDF, I am not going to tell you where I live or where rockets may or may not have landed.
But I will say a hearty thank goodness we chose Nefesh B’Nefesh’s Go North program. Tel Aviv? Trust me: over-rated. Especially when rockets are flying overhead.
Had we lived in this very house six years ago during the 2006 war with Lebanon, however, I’d be singing a different tune. A tune from inside my bomb shelter, where the acoustics are questionable and the air quality not so fresh. Six years ago, neighborhoods in our region and especially in the region where I work in the Western Galilee received the brunt of katyusha rockets targeted at Israeli civilian populations during that war.
Lucky for me, in the almost two years that we’ve lived here, I’ve only needed to visit my shelter to add another can of corn to my End of Days store.
Unlike most Israelis, I keep my MAMAD clean and reasonably stocked. I’m just that kinda girl. But as prepared for disaster as I try to be, I know there is no way to emotionally prepare for disaster.
Try as I might with obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior and endless rows of canned corn, there is no way to prepare for war. For cloudy with a chance of rockets.
* * * *
Supposedly, we’re just out of range for the rockets being fired by Hamas terrorists from Gaza. Does that help me sleep easier at night?
A little. But just like chicken pox spreads from one tight knit community to another, so does fear and dread. And with Hamas promising “big surprises,” I asked my husband, who was on his way out to a meeting, to close the outer protective shutters on the shatterproof windows to our bomb shelter.
We normally keep the heavy metal shutters open to avoid mold buildup in the airless room. (As if bombs weren’t bad enough…)
I was sitting on the couch trying to keep up with the latest tweets on the situation when I heard a very loud and extended wail from outside.
My heart almost leaped out of my chest.
When my mind started working. I realized the sound was just the creaking of the metal shutters.
Nothing to worry about.
“Yet,” I added out loud.
I’m more concerned for our safety than I thought I was. And more in denial than I thought I was.
It’s true that the Lower Galilee isn’t #israelunderfire in this moment. But what separates me from the families in real, true live danger right now is a highway shorter than the length of New Jersey Turnpike.
What separates me from them is a stronger rocket booster.
What separates me from them is a whim of a dictator to our North and a whim of a dictator to our East.
The whims of monsters who hate me simply because I’m Jewish and because I live on a particular piece of land.
Hamas would be sending rockets to my backyard if they could.
I tweet and I blog for Southern Israel because I know this is true.
I know I am only out of harm’s way this time.
My conscious mind is in denial, but my unconscious mind is screaming at the screen to “Watch out.”
Jen Maidenberg is a writer, editor, activist and former assistant editor at the Arizona Jewish Post. Visit her website at http://jenmaidenberg.com/