Written by Nina Sapir
Birthdays come once a year. My grandmother used to say that every day is your birthday. This can also be applied to today, Thanksgiving.
In Judaism, we thank God daily, for all things large and small, from waking up in the morning to the food we eat, even for being able to go to the bathroom. Many Americans living abroad, including here in Israel, celebrate Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for, both today and every day. This year, I have many things I am thankful for.
I am thankful for all of the comforting words from family, friends, and even people I do not even know who are concerned for our well being, the people who have constantly asked how we are doing, who are keeping us in their thoughts and prayers as they go about their daily lives far away from the sirens and rockets.
I am thankful that they do not need to choose which of the 36 patients in the hospital ward will get to be the ones who make it to the shelter when the siren goes off because there are not enough hands to get everyone there on time, or that they will have to decide if they should stay home and hide under a table or in a hallway because it takes too long to get to a shelter down the street.
I am thankful that friends volunteering in Ashkelon and friends on their way home from work in Tel Aviv who see the Iron Dome intercepting rockets while trying to take cover in a bus stop walk away a bit shaken up, yet remain physically unscathed.
I am grateful for the people who immediately run out of the shelters to help put out a fire in a home or car, a fire ignited by a direct hit from a rocket or to administer preliminary first aid to someone with shrapnel wounds and burns before the paramedics arrive.
I am thankful that someone thought to start a campaign to order pizzas from abroad for families in the war torn south. That the person organized a list of local pizza places that will accept orders paid by credit card over the phone made by someone from out of the country to have delivered to a family stuck in a bomb shelter in places like Ashdod, Be'er Sheva, Sderot, and Kiryat Gat.
I am thankful that when the air raid siren went off on Tuesday at 2:15 p.m., while my daughter was still at school everyone there knew what to do. Thankful that later that evening her teacher sent an email saying how proud the entire staff was that as soon as the siren went off everyone went to their assigned shelters in a timely and organized manner just like they practiced, that the older students, who are all of 11 and 12 and in the 6th grade helped calm down the first and second graders who were scared and started to cry.
I am thankful that when walking to the local mini market later Tuesday afternoon with my son to buy eggs we stopped to look at a ladybug and he had the piece of mind to ask what the ladybugs do when the siren goes off. He wanted to know if they also have shelters they can fly off to when they hear the "wheeeeeeeeeee BOOM!"
I am thankful that the woman from Beitar who had rocks and Molotov cocktails thrown at her car Tuesday night is now listed in moderate condition, better than the severe to critical condition she was listed in yesterday.
I am thankful that no one was killed in the terrorist bus bombing in Tel Aviv yesterday afternoon, a terrorist attack that took place while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon were in the Middle East brokering a very short lived ceasefire between the sides, a terrorist attack that was celebrated with gunfire and rock throwing and tire burning on our roads and the passing out of sweets to children in the streets by the perpetrators, the same people currently celebrating with fireworks and gunfire at Israel's failure to bring them to their knees.
I am thankful that I am able to host friends from Be'er Sheva for the weekend, friends who have been living out of suitcases for the last week instead of staying home to run from rockets while their children climb the walls from boredom because there is no school and it is too dangerous to go outside and play. They are Israeli; it will be their first Thanksgiving. Granted we will be having our Thanksgiving meal on Friday night for our Sabbath dinner, this year we all have what to be thankful for.