Tuesday, 29 July 2014

diversity

Like everywhere in the world and like in every country, the people of Israel are a diverse lot. There is no such thing as "THE Israeli". 
Like there is no such thing as "THE Swiss" or "THE German", "THE American"- not even "THE Jew" or "THE Christian" or "THE Muslim". We are all a mix of a lot of things. One might be a painter, a Christian, a wife, a biologist and a French at the same time. While I am a mother and a Swiss and an Israeli and a book reader and an office worker and a gardener and much more at the same time…

I think it would help a great deal, if we would look at others that way, if we would not put someone immediately in a labeled box according to his nationality, faith or even political views. 
We would sure find common things in each other. 
The love for lyrics, music or nature. The interest in education, sports, cooking or science. To like to hike or farm or sing.

So like everywhere else we have in Israel painters and bankers, grandfathers and cooks, thieves, bikers, woodworkers, gardeners, kids, Jews, uncles, writers, poets, musicians, technicians, Christians, bus drivers, Muslims, shop owners, runners, teachers, scientists, horse riders, dancers, liars, nuns, chess players, farmers, bar men, pilots, lovers, babies, vets, immigrants, lawyers, nurses, mothers, students…

We have people who love to bake, talk, swim, play the flute, read books, cook, play video games, chat on the phone, kiss, hike, knit, grow vegetables, run marathons, sleep, smoke cigarettes, party, pray, shop, sing, drink wine, tend horses …

We are human. We are humans.

Even if there are people in this world- especially now and in growing numbers- that like to portray the Israelis (and Jews for that matter because too many times they don't make a distinction) as heartless monsters, as bloodthirsty kid-murderers and as evil invaders.

Believe me- I know not one person in my surrounding that is not sick and tired of this conflict (It does not mean that there are no people who think differently and it does not mean that Israel can accept an unconditionally ceasefire.).

We all would prefer to have peace and to make plans for the future.

I feel quite low. Yesterday evening I walked endless circles in our house, crying. I looked at our sleeping children and I cried some more. I try to keep up a good spirit- especially for our children- but sometimes I can't. Too many depressing news. Too scary to think about certain things…


Monday, 28 July 2014

loose parts


Helen discovered a tin box with "loose parts"- mostly geometric shapes and Hebrew letters from wood and plastic.


No one played with it for a long time. In the day care she loves to play with loose parts and with her newly discovered tin box, she happily played for quite a while- creating shapes and pictures and orders.



Wednesday, 23 July 2014

parenting during these days


Although we are not in an actual war zone, our children are very much affected by what's currently happening in our country.

We do not watch any news on TV in their presence. We hardly listen to the radio while they are around. But they do hear and see and imagine things. And with a house full of "refugees" they are confronted with other aspects of war- like what it means to leave ones home.

I and my husband need to work, so we do not necessarily have more time for their needs- maybe even less.

I can see the change in their play. The water"guns" (do not look at all like guns… maybe water-pumps is more accurate) turn into rocket-shooting things. Simple wooden blocks in the daycare turn into a defense system against the rockets.

They ask questions about the "iron dome" (Helen calls it the "golden dome") and how this defense system works. Helen was very sad/ disturbed because one of the families had to leave their dog behind- but the father of the family will bring the dog today after he will finish his turn on tending the cows there. That calmed her a bit.
Neomi is asking who is trying to kill us and shooting rockets at us. We explain her that the rockets are shot from Gaza by a group called Hamas. We explain her that not all people in Gaza want to kill us- and yes- our army is dropping rockets in Gaza that are causing a lot of dead people and destroyed houses- and yes- we would like to have peace too…

It's no easy task to explain those things to kids. We try not to go into too much detail and too many explanations. We try to figure out what they know and try to put things into an order. We try to give them a sense of security. "The soldiers are protecting us". I think it's important to keep things fairly simple. Otherwise it can lead to more insecurity.

More than ever I see how important it is to have a fixed daily routine. It helps the kids to feel safe and gives them a sense of stability. That has been missing a bit during the last week with the arrival of the families from the South. Instead of coming home to a quiet surrounding after daycare- there are suddenly many more kids running around. Instead of doing something with the kids (go to the swimming pool, craft, read stories etc) or instead of them playing something for themselves, we got sucked up into quite chaotic afternoons and dinners and the kids went to bed way later than usually. Yesterday it just got too much. Helen started to cry hysterically because of something small and could not stop- she even started to be very aggressive until I had time to sit quietly with her on her bed, hug her tightly and talk to her. Neomi started to be very rude with me and I just felt completely drained out. We took the kids to the grandparents for dinner and managed to get them to bed a tiny bit earlier.

I need to focus much more on the kids needs and feelings in the next days. 
So what, if the apartment is messier than ever and dinner is a fast thrown together meal. I also hope that the families in our house will settle into a routine. Almost all kids started to be integrated into the Kibbutz day cares in order to give them some stability back and be in contact with other kids their age. Of course we hope that they can soon return to their homes.

That was a long post....


Monday, 21 July 2014

More thoughts

We are almost constantly following the news although there is a lot of the same. Discussions, analyses, interviews. Pictures of tanks, pictures of soldiers, pictures of families fleeing parts of Gaza, pictures of tunnels, pictures of I-don't-want-to-see-it-anymore and pictures of I-am-sick-of-it….

Young men from our Kibbutz are in the army. Young men from our Kibbutz have been drafted. Friends of us. Family fathers. And believe me- no one is keen to go.

A friend of my nephew died. How young they are. Merely just boys (Although they would not like to hear this, I guess). When you are 18, 19, 20 you feel very much adult. But looking back, you can see how young they actually are. Their whole live still in front of them. Now to be thrown away- for what exactly? That's the dilemma I have. We can't go on like this. But is there no other way? Did they try everything? Is there even another way with an extremist group like Hamas?

I look at our small boy- only 2 years old, stomping happily around, playing with his wooden train, "fixing" things with tools from his father- will he too have to go to war when he will be 18? God help us. My heart hurts.

My husband and I cleaned out the 3rd and last apartment in our building yesterday after the kids went to sleep. Today two more families are supposed to come and stay with us. I think it was meant to be that we can not build (yet)- like this we can take in all those families and give them a shelter and help them and their kids. We have now 6 families in our Kibbutz from a Kibbutz that is situated right near the border with Gaza. Only very few people remain there to tend to the chores. Families with kids all fled.

One conversation yesterday evening:
My kids and the kids that already stay with us for a few days brought the newly arrived kids to our house. The newcomers looked around and one said: "Wow- this is an organized house (well, it surely is NOT), look they have a real sofa and toys. It's a real home!" Another one said: "Because they are living here. They are not on vacation like us."
And this after "only" 2 weeks of sleeping on matrasses on the floors, of making do with the little they took with them. How must it be for children that are refugees for much longer? Like all those Syrians?


God, be with all those families that run away from the South. With the ones that still stay there and live in bombshelters. With the families in Gaza that have nowhere to go. With the refugees from Syria that have also nowhere to go and are stuck somewhere. With the Christians of Mossul that had to flee the IS and everyone else that is being terrorized by IS. What kind of world are we living in?

Sunday, 20 July 2014

another week started


On the weekend I disconnected myself almost entirely from the news broadcast.

If the adult conversation would not have been almost entirely about the war- it would have been a perfect weekend. Nice weather. The kids played in the pool in the garden and we went for a nice bike ride… Our kids became fast friends with the kids of the one family that fled from the fighting and lives for now next door. I am especially proud of Neomi- that she helped so nicely to clean and prepare the apartments for the families. She "takes care" of the one girl that is one year old than her- showing her around, helping her to adjust, taking her to her daycare, helping out with her own things…

But being back at work is exposing me again to the news. Songs on the radio are regularly interrupted with long lists of areas/ towns where the sirens are blaring. Continuously news are being broadcast. About fallen soldiers, about rockets, about fighting, about discovered tunnels and weapons…

I am staring at pictures in the news and my heart aches. For the families of the fallen boys/ men. For the families that know their boys are now being sent to fight and that are worrying. For the dead and injured civilians on the other side. There's a lump in my stomach.

I am listening to the stories of those families that fled the South of Israel. Some of them are now already 2 weeks "on the road"- trying to get shelter with friends, families or complete strangers. Mostly mothers with their kids- leaving fathers behind because some need to work despite everything.

It makes me sick and worry to read about all the anti-Israel/ anti-Jewish demonstrations and comments all over the world. I do not support everything the government is doing here. On the other hand- where is the help and outcry of the rest of the world when rockets are falling daily on villages/ kibbutzim (all over the year!), when extremists are digging tunnels to enter Israel- for sure not with nice intentions…

Again… where's peace hiding?


I hope I will soon be able to post about nice things again…

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

helping and hoping


We are so very lucky to live in an area with a relatively low risk that a rocket will hit us. So far we had not to go to the shelters.

Actually we should be in the middle of building/ renovating. We live in a house with 4 apartments and we want to combine two apartments to one- same for the other two apartments where another family will live.
But we have difficulties getting the construction permit. It's more or less a political thing... I guess it would be easier if we would be settlers (yes I am being cynical).
Anyway- the people that lived in the other apartments already left months ago and now we have space to host people that want to escape the rocket fire in the South.
Right now we have a mother with 3 kids from Ashdod. They basically spent the last week completely indoors- mostly in the shelter... afraid even to go to the toilet. 

So I am tremendously grateful for:

* being able to take a shower without the fear of sirens starting to howl (yes and also for even having water for a shower- because in gaza they have water shortage)

* being able to sleep 

* being able to eat our meals in quiet outside in the garden

* being able to go to work

* having no big worries about the kids and that they can continue to enjoy their summer with their friends

* being able to listen to birds sing instead of blasts

and more...

We all do hope that the ceasfire will hold and that a solution will be found that will bring permanent quiet on both sides in which we all will have the chance to prosper.


12:40 Small update:
First time sirens here- while I was eating lunch. I run to the shelter at work. Terribly worring about the kids (the big ones can run to the shelter, the smaller ones will hide inside the daycare, which is not safe). I am still all shaky. I lost my appetite.
Seems like Hamas is stepping up their activity. They don't want the ceasefire.

Monday, 14 July 2014

math games


We have 2 months school holidays in summer here. I want to make sure that Neomi is not forgetting all of the things she learned in 1st grade. It should be a playful learning. Anyway- she can't sit still and needs movement to learn. In addition Helen is showing a keen interest in learning numbers and letters.
I got some ideas and inspiration from pinterest.

We made a number labyrinth. I drew a table on the floor, filled in numbers so they will be connected to a path and filled the blank cells with random numbers. The goal is to jump/ walk through the labyrinth. Later we threw stones and named the numbers (Helen) where the stones landed or added two numbers (Neomi) or multiplied the numbers times 2 and 3 (Neomi). Endless possibilities. 

I created another game with an egg-carton. I wrote tasks (do you call it like this?) and placed them in the carton. Take a cube, shake the closed carton and open- solve the problem.
I made one for Helen with only Numbers- to be named or to be filled with something (buttons, marbles, etc) according to the number stated.


Saturday, 12 July 2014

get over boredom







We originally planed to go to a kids concert with songs from the queens. My brother in law is the drummer in the band and the kids already wanted to go for a long time. Unfortunately the situation here in Israel did not get any better and the concert was cancelled.

Outside it was over 33 degrees and we preferred to stay inside. The girls were bored and drove me crazy. After playing some card games and telling stories I told them that I am not an entertainer and they should look for something to play themselves. Finally Neomi came up with a craft idea of making "brides and grooms"- very much like the rapunzel-dolls they made last year.
Luckily I had some 16 toilet-paper-rolls "on stock" and they glued and stapled and cut and draw for almost one hour. In the end there was even a "wedding ceremony" for all those dolls. :-)


We also made some funny movies with my cellphone- like those ones here from "El hada de papel".

Meanwhile Yotam played nicely with his railway.


 Hoping for calmer days without rockets and injured and dead people...


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

escalation


A pretty picture on a less than nice day...
The situation here is escalating again.
The army keeps attacking targets in Gaza. Rockets are fired continuously from Gaza and hit now also not far from here. Luckily we had not to go to shelters so far. The kids are in the daycare. I am still at work and I have stomach ache and feel sick from worry. We can need some prayers…

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

some sewing done




Finally some picture of the results of my very few sewing hours. I wish I would get to more.
I sew a blanket, wipes and a lavender-sachet for a very dear friend of mine who gave birth in May. I have to be very patient and wait until winter to be able to see the little girl.
I loved the combination of the colours for the blanket. The happy yellow and fresh blue.

For Yotam I sew a small bag for his 2nd birthday a month ago. I took the same pattern as I took for Helen's bag- a pattern I made myself (like I mostly do).
I choose fabric I still had "on stock"- dark blue and dark lilac-grey with tiny stars- lined with a red fabric with white dots.

He loves his new bag and carries it every morning to the day care and back- or places it in a small wooden trolley he likes to push.