Thursday, March 24, 2011

Today a Bomb Exploded...

Today a bomb exploded at Binyanei HaUma (across the street from the Central Bus Station in Jerusalem) around 3:00 PM. At the time I was in a leadership seminar at the Begin Center just 2-4 miles away and knew nothing of the event until about 20 minutes after it occurred. We found out from one of the staff members who worked at the Begin Center and announced it in the hallway during our break. We immediately turned on news reports and it wasn’t too long after that my phone started compulsively ringing with concerned family and friends on the other line. There’s something very surreal about listening to a voicemail from an immediate family member who wants you to call them back to be assured that you’re alive.

Tense. Uncertainty. Fear. Insecurity. Sadness.

It became unfortunately apparent to me today that while the state of Israel is arguably the strongest nation in the world, its existence is yet rather fragile. Rockets are sent roughly on a weekly basis into Beer Sheva and surrounding cities, bus bombings are a natural threat, and terrorist attacks are a familiar scene. Such a significant part of my identity is tied to this country and I feel an underlying sense of sadness today at the new reality of life here to which I’ve been exposed. Every day we continue to fight for this nation.

I remember after 9/11 feeling like there was something I was supposed to do yet I couldn’t define what that “should” was. Well, today that feeling has returned. Perhaps one of the most helpful reminders I received today was that any and all reactions are okay. I’m still confused and trying to make sense of this. Will I feel comfortable getting on the bus tomorrow? I’m supposed to go over to the bus station in 2 days – should I still go anyway? What happens if the situation escalates? I’m not sure I can genuinely resume life “normally” but what else do I do? I don’t want to just freeze my life but I’m also not trying to be a hero here… what does the middle ground look like?

It blew my mind today how many phone calls I received within the first few hours after the bombing from family and friends around the world just checking to make sure I’m okay. How incredibly loved and cared for I feel…

My thoughts are scattered – perhaps that’s evident by the structure of this blog post. I always wondered what it would be like living in Jerusalem and if this sense of insecurity would ever present itself… well, now it has. I wonder what the next few days hold.

The rest of my day has resumed as if nothing happened. I’m okay and don’t want anyone to worry.

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