Shaken but not stirred in Jerusalem
My wife and I were getting ready to leave the house to attend our havura’s regular Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat service in the community center five minutes from our home. When the siren sounded, our 12-year-old son was the first to say ‘what’s that?’
Even though I had heard my fair share of air raid sirens during the First Gulf War in 1991, I momentarily refused to believe that this was the same thing. After accepting the new reality, the three of us decided to enter the utility room at the back of the house. I admit that we didn’t have a plan in case a missile was fired at us, we don’t have a secured room, and the shelter for our building is on the other side of the building. And frankly, we weren’t moving that fast. I doubt we would have made it there within the 90 seconds the Home Front Command had specified as the time allotted for Jerusalem-area residents to reach their shelters.
So we stayed in the utility room until the sirens ended (even though the rules state to stay there an additional 10 minutes). Not knowing whether my fellow congregants had decided to stay home, I left the house and headed for the community center. Soon enough, a full contingent arrived, and we spent the first few minutes excitedly exchanging stories of where we were when the sirens went off. Nobody seemed especially freaked out, but the singing that night, was especially spirited and intention-filled.
The rest of Shabbat passed quietly, and on Saturday night, I took my son to see the new James Bond movie – Skyfall. The theater in Talpiot was packed with filmgoers, and nobody seemed especially concerned to be out on the town with a missile threat being a little more than theoretical.
Apparently, while we may have been temporarily shaken, we were more stirred by the prospect of seeing 007 in action than by the threat of a Hamas rocket.