Monday, August 07, 2006

Another account of Shabbat in Tzfat

[moderator] from the Smolenskys

Walking to shul this last Shabbat was eerie; we saw two people on the street. Moshe said it was a struggle to get ten men together for the minion. I was the only woman in the women's section. Sirens interrupted our Shabbat morning services but no one moved from their places. After services we walked home in the stillness, looking about for a "safe place" to which to run if the sirens sounded before we reached home.
Our usual Shabbat nap began at 2 PM; it was cut short at 3 PM by the wail of sirens followed by at least seven subsequent siren warnings and multiple rockets slamming into the city; Two whizzed by our neighborhood and others could be heard in the distance. This lasted for about 2 hours.
During the attacks we began to smell smoke. Some rockets hit Beriya, a small community adjacent to Tzfat up the mountain. The rockets exploded and started a forest fire which quickly spread because of the wind at that level. It was more than our city firemen could handle and soon we heard planes swooping by to drop fire retardant. The planes continued this for a few hours until the fire was contained. I don't know if any homes were consumed. The smell was terrible and we kept the windows closed until 10:30 PM. Even then the smell was bothersome. (White ash subsequently settled on everything in the area.)
Lev U'Neshama located 36 families to whom food boxes will be delivered this week with the help of two small stores that are struggling to stay open.
Most of Tzfat is closed. Banks are operating only on lower floors to minimize danger to workers and customers. Yosef Weiss is at his book store in the city and he has distributed dozens of free teddy bears provided by Lev U'Neshama supporters. A friend sent a pair of shoes with another friend who was going to Tel Aviv so his shoes could be repaired because our shoe repair shop is closed. Every day there are siren warnings and rockets; sometimes more and sometimes less so businesses are hesitant to open.
Repair of broken windows in Tzfat is impossible for lack of glass. We hope shipments come soon. Every window in the shul above us shattered with the rocket that hit between it and the water tower; this was a few days ago.
We don't play music in the house these days. If we hear explosions in the distance, we prepare ourselves for sirens and possible "incoming" in our area. There isn't much time between sirens and rocket hits. Both Tubby-cat and Roxy respond to sirens immediately. Wherever they are in the house, they both join us in the safe area in our house. At least we have an in-home entertainment center.
Moshe & Yaffa


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