In Typical Israeli Fashion: Arba Esreh Anashim (14 people) in the Shelter Making Jokes

Aviva Lager

At 1:50am on April 14th I woke up to my roommates rushing out of bed and my counselor shouting, “Yalla, everyone go to the bomb shelter.” We had talked about the possibility of an attack that night, but I didn’t really believe that anything could happen. I was obviously wrong, as I listened to the wailing siren and quickly put on my slippers. It felt almost dystopian as we walked downstairs, half asleep even though our hearts were racing. Once we got to the shelter, we counted off to make sure everyone was there and when we got to “arba esre (14),” we let out a deep breath and sat in a huddle. We heard the booms of the iron dome working above us, but it wasn’t as scary anymore. In typical Israeli fashion, we made jokes and asked if school could be canceled. We were taking pictures and laughing about how we all knew this could happen, but no one thought it would happen. After waiting the required 10 minutes, we went back up to the dorms, but no one could sleep. We were calling family and friends, making tea and actually having fun. Iran, a big country with a large army, had just attacked us and we could still laugh. This is when I learned the true strength of the jewish nation. I’d always heard about how Israelis can laugh and move on after the most terrible of events, that they had to. And now I was doing just that.

The next day we slept in, played outdoor team-building games, and had no school. During tefillah, we processed with Betsalel and the full staff. We learned that the events that took place last night were actually miraculous; 300 missiles launched from Iran and Israel was able to stop 99% of them. I felt proud to be part of this country. It is so small and yet stopped almost all of Iran’s attack. The rest of the week went mostly back to normal. On Tuesday, we went to the Negev, learned about the war of independence and even stopped on the way back for snacks and dinner. Seeing Israelis out and about, running their businesses was incredible. On Thursday we went to Ammunition Hill and the National Library. Being able to have normal Tiyulim and traveling the country just how I had hoped to on TRY was even more special now. I felt a deeper connection with the people on the streets, knowing we all went through that night together and were able to move on. Instead of letting the tragedies and fear consume us, we will always be able to laugh and explore this beautiful country that we call home. I pray that nothing else happens, but I’m not scared anymore, I know that Israel and TRY will protect us and we will move forward. 😁

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