I’ve been catching up after my trip and am still absorbing the fact that Israel is at war again in the south. My sons, who have finished their army service, have not been called up for reserve duty. We’ve talked within the family about what to do in case of a warning siren. We’ve heard some booms from the direction of Tel Aviv.
So my life has been relatively unaffected, as much as possible in this small country. I’m glad to be able to keep things together on the home front. But my heart goes out to those whose families are on the front lines, especially those who care for small children or an elderly or disabled person.
I remember how traumatized I felt during the Scud attacks on the Tel Aviv area during the First Gulf War, so I’ve collected some resources for parents who are struggling.
- Babies: The Jerusalem Post wrote about breastfeeding in emergency situations, focusing on the fact that it can and should continue. I remember helping mothers after terror attacks in Petach Tikva in the early 2000’s. The mothers felt that their milk had disappeared, but in reality stress had prevented their let-down, or milk-ejection reflex. After a short time the milk began flowing. Breastfeeding calms the mother and the baby, and is easiest (and sometimes the only) option when the mother has to leave her home suddenly. In addition, all breastfeeding mothers should know how to express milk by hand in case they are separated from their babies for any length of time.
- Children: A while back I published Helping Children Cope with Rocket Attacks, with tips from Anita. This video may be helpful for parents.
- Parents: My friend Melissa recommended the Institute for Traumatic Stress, which helps families in crisis situations. This article lists 21 Things You Can Do While Living Through a Traumatic Experience.
- Reader Ariela suggests turning off the news as much as possible. Try to get out and relax and enjoy your kids. If your husband is in the army, try to get together with family or friends as much as possible, and get whatever help you need to keep.
- Helping others can take your mind off your own worries. Worthy organizations include: Jewish Agency Fund for Victims of Terror, the Lone Soldier Center for soldiers without parental support in Israel, and Standing Together providing aid to all soldiers. If you live in Israel, you can also donate goods that will be collected and brought to soldiers.
- Here is another option for donating, via Rabbi Ari Kahn:
Update:For those of you who do not know my older two sons (Matityahu Avraham ben Naomi, and Hillel Eliyahu ben Naomi) are both at the front. Matityahu is in a unit of paratroopers, and Hillel in a unit of combat engineering. May God look after both of them, and protect them and all the soldiers and people of Israel.
I have spoken to them and their commanding offices, there is equipment which they are missing and we can help provide. Yesterday we purchased 100 units of thermal underwear for one of the units this was enabled through the largesse of dear friends, if you would like to be involved in this (today we were asked to arrange the purchase of flashlights, which go on the helmets, and a particular type of knives. We are getting the details and will make the purchases as soon as we know we have the necessary funds.
If you desire to help please let me know.The OU in Israel – through the leadership of Rabbi Avi Berman – will lay out the funds and make the purchases – as soon as I assure him the money is forthcoming. Donations can be made through the OU – but please follow the directions below.
There will be absolutely no overheard – all funds will be going directly the purchase of goods and equipment for these combat soldiers.
Ari KahnChecks should be made out to the “Orthodox Union – Israel”The address is:
USAPlease make sure that all donors write “OU Israel” in the memo line and notify me that the donation is on its way.Thanks a lot
Avi Berman <email@example.com>
If you have further suggestions, please share in the comments. May the war be over soon, with no further casualties.