Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Giving Thanks

Since I will be traveling tomorrow and spending thanksgiving with a friend, I wanted to share some of the things I am thankful for... In the spirit of the holiday...

1. Three weeks from today I will finish my first semester of graduate. I am not sure what I was thinking in taking five classes, working part time and volunteering, but I am grateful that I am almost done with what I think will be my hardest semester.

2. In three weeks from today I will meet my new nephew. The little guy lives across the country and is almost a month old, so I am glad I get to see him.

3. I received an email today about my latest volunteer placement which will hopefully positively contribute to my experience as I move forward in my graduate program toward my career.

4. Coffee. Always. Plus, I have a free drink on my Starbucks card which will be awesome when I travel tomorrow.

5. Friends who check in even though I know they are busy.

6. My rabbi who has supported me for almost four years and continues to encourage me and listen to me when I rant, kvetch and yell.

7. Thinkthin bars. My latest obsession. And today I found cookies and cream and espresso flavors!

8. A job that is flexible with my work schedule. A co worker who supplements my paycheck with chocolate. Kids who are utterly hysterical, spotty and adorable all at the same time.

9. Israel. Even though I am 6000 miles away, I am grateful I can always call it home.

10. Even though I don't tell them enough, my parents. Without them, I would not be the person I am today or the person I can become.

Happy Thanksgiving.
Gobble, gobble.

What are you thankful for?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Stages of...

Note: I wrote this a few months ago when said guy had said no, this time for real. Flash forward a few months later, he is now engaged. When I found out, I cried like I never thought possible. While I went through these stages before, I went through them again. All I can say is that if he isn't the one, I am getting closer to finding him...

He said no...

No he didn't. Why would he? He couldn't have! 
Lock the doors. Give me a pint of ice cream. 
I don't want to talk. Don't want to listen.
He said no. But he didn't.
So there.

He said no...

That JERK! That inconsiderate, self-absorbed, selfish, callous JERK!
How could be so rude? Why is he so STUPID?!
Boys are stupid. That's it. They are dumb, unintelligent, cruel JERKS!
And he is the BIGGEST JERK OF ALL!

He said no...

Maybe if I had prayed more... maybe if I had done more good deeds.
Maybe if I had slept less, worked harder...
I'll be better. I'll pray harder. Please...
I just want him...
I'll do whatever it takes...
Take my heart... I don't need it.

He said no....

I don't want to go out.
I'm not gonna bother getting dressed... no one cares anyhow.
No one cares about me.
I mean, honestly, who would?
G-d, life sucks.

He said no...

He said no. He did't accept me.
But I accept my self.
I accept... that things will get better.
I will find someone better.
I will move on.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mori V'Rabi

At around one in the morning
What should have been a time of peace
Turned into pain and mourning
Blood shed
Terror
I cannot imagine
The horror
This time
It was too close
To me
And while I am 6000 miles away
How can it be
That I would not cry
Or be afraid
My Rebbeim
Mori
My teacher
Rabi
My Rabbis
The ones who guided me through turbulent time
Are you ok (alive)?
Waiting
Waiting
Please answer
I cannot sleep
Until I know you are safe
But even then
Mori V'Rabi
What answer can you give
What comfort can you provided
Our collective soul
Has been stabbed
We are all bleeding
Mori V'Rabi
Give me an anwer
Give me hope
My emuna
Is being stretched thin
I don't want to snap
I want to go home
I want to be close
I want to be safe
Mori V'Rabi
My teacher
Teach me...
Where do we go from here?

A Day Like Today

We never should know of a day like today. But it happened. 
Terrorists entered a shul in Had Nof with only one intention: to kill, to maim and to murder.




Blood on prayer shawls and prayer books seen inside the synagogue where four people were killed in Jerusalem on November 18, 2014. (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO/FLASH90)


I cannot help but wonder.... Why?
What answer can I possibly give to this question?
I look at my family, my friends, my brothers and sisters in Eretz Yisroel and I cry. It hurts. My heart has been hurt. My home has been hurt. I cry with every wife who lost her husband. For every child who lost his father.
But the Ribono Shel Olam is watching as His children are being brutally stabbed and attacked and He must be crying. Is this world so awful that he wants his purest Tzadikim to be safe in Shamayim? Tatte, we are waiting for your name and glory to fill this world. For the terror and horror to end. But Tatte, if you take our Rebbeim, if you take our teachers and leaders, how will we know how to bring Moshiach? How will we learn your precious Torah if you take our leaders away?
Tatte... why are we being hurt like this?


There are no answers. There are no words. There is pain. There is hurt. There is unimaginable suffering for our people, for the families who lost a loved one. And there is no way to go back. The Tehorim took three steps forward in their Amidah... three steps to the Ribono Shel Olam, and He felt for whatever reason, they should be with him, body and soul... but why with such brutality...?



All I know is I know nothing. But I am part of a people who continue to stand up in the face of such terror. We are still here. They have not won. They never will.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Out of the Depths

After spending a year in Israel, I truly discovered where home is. When I went back to visit this past February, despite only being there for a short time, I felt safe, at home and exactly where I belonged. This summer I worked in a camp with a very Religious Zionist perspective. Every day we were reminded about our beloved country. Even more so with the war going on. The atmosphere was permeated with Israel. It stirred up feelings I didn't know I had. I felt myself becoming obsessive with reading the news... trying to find some way to connect to my home, 6,000 miles away and being barraged with rockets and terrorist attacks. You could feel how everyone in the camp was struggling being so far away. We were compelled to do something to show our support, to somehow be connected while being so far away.
Over Shabbos I read "Out of the Depths," the personal memoir of former chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau. It was impossible to put down (except for when I dozed off for my Shabbos nap.)
Rabbi Lau writes about his journey from Buchenwald to Eretz Yisroel. He documented his travels as an immigrant child who could not read or understand Hebrew to his time in Kol Torah Yeshiva to Chief Rabbi of Netanya and Tel Aviv and finally, Chief Rabbi of Israel. His life was bound up in the establishment of the State of Israel. The struggle of the British rule, the Arab attacks from every side and the need to make the world aware of the horrors of the Holocaust. It is a story that is so raw and real, yet at the same time, so pure. It is a story that in some way we all find ourselves joining with the Chief Rabbi in our collective journey home.
There was one passage in particular that stood out to me:

"At time when Israel finds herself at war, people often ask me how I feel from the perspective of a Holocaust survivor. I usually answer, 'Does have have to be a Holocaust survivor in order to understand the situation?' We are besieged, our lives our threatened, and the danger of our destruction has not yet passed. We Jews are still struggling for survival. All Jews are, in a certain sense, Holocause survivors. But for the survivors of that original holocaust, when the siege is tightened, the issue moves to the forefront, taking on an added significance." (Rabbi Israel Meir Lau, Out of the Depths, pg. 247)

These days, we all feel the siege. Whether by rocket attacks, rampant anti-Semitism or simply reading the news and being an emphatic Jew and realizing our collective struggle. When one Jew is shot, we all take the bullet. We mourn, we cry. But one thing that unites us all is our ability to move forward. The Holocaust was a time in our history where national morale could have wiped us out even more than Hitler could have. But instead, our homeland was born from the ashes. We take our pain, our resilience, and turn into light.
Concrete graffiti
We turn cement blocks that are meant to stop terrorism and turn them into art.

We take pain and turn it into power. 

They bomb us, and we build. 

As a people, we are no stranger to tragedy. It something that was embedded into the design of the world. They will hate us no matter what. But instead of allowing that hate to destroy (look at 6000 years of Jewish history!) we continue to grow, to thrive.
For little ol' me, 6000 miles away from home, it is comforting and reassuring to know that I am connected to a nation, to a family, and to a history that will be united into the future.

Am Yisrael Chai.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Letting Go

I had to let go
Before I let in
A terrible sin
From which there is no return
If I ever learn
How to stay far away
Then maybe I can say
It was worth the hurt
Or perhaps
You don't even care
And if so
Then where
Were you and I ever going
I expected a fight
But resistance at night
Is weak
And you were never very strong.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What Are You Looking For?

I have learned to really, truly despise this question.

What are you looking for in a guy?

No one wants the real answer. They want the top three stereotypical descriptive words of a guy who sounds like just about any guy in any yeshiva/office/pit. I mean, let's be real. We all want the same thing. A nice guy, with good values and beliefs who wants to build a nice home.

Do I care what he wears? Do I care if he has a degree? Do I care if he is from in town or out of town?

Maybe.

What am I really looking for?

I want a guy who isn't afraid to be vulnerable. Who isn't afraid to feel something more than surface level superficiality. I want a guy who is constantly looking for meaning in his life. Does he let the small things slip past his eye? Or does he look for a deeper explanation? Does he recognize that G-d is truly a part of his life? Does he learn because that's what he is supposed to do, or because he knows that is actually the very pulse of his existence? Does he care about others? And I don't mean, "hey, how are you?" and then walks away. Does he genuinely take an interest in others? 

Will he appreciate that I recognize G-d through helping children who are fighting illness? Would he say "oh that's so depressing" and totally miss the mission that I want to achieve? Will he understand that yes, a child dying is painful, but that it doesn't have to break me? Will he cry with me? Would he hold me and let me feel the pain I need to feel and then help me to move on?

Will he read my poems? Will he appreciate my creativity? Will he accept my inability to be still and my desire to do more, to be more? Will he learn Nesivos Shalom and Rav Kook with me and accept that my Hashkafos are more confusing than a trip into Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory but nevertheless, I am still going to break through the glass ceiling and become closer to G-d?

The guy I am looking for cannot be summed up in a sentence or two. He cannot be expressed in ten words or less. He is more than just a piece of paper. Maybe that's why I find the traditional system so hard. When you are searching for meaning and reason, you don't think that it can be found in the pages of a book or on a printed sheet of paper. Meaning must be felt. It must be manipulated in your heart and soul. I have a hard time believing that because his paper says this and my paper says that then we must be a match. Get. Real.

Life is so much deeper, so much more vast than that. We as people are so complex, so intricate and real that to expect individuals to sum themselves in a few categories is so wrong.
I get it. It';s the best we have. but let;s be honest: the best we have is a pathetic attempt at building a world that requires so much more effort and honesty if we want to solve the crisis.
Let's rip up the papers. Let's shred them into little pieces. Let's give guys, girls, people searching for their other half, the chance to be real, to be themselves. Let's talk. Let's share. Let's recognize that we are only suffocating our future by living in the past. The system worked for a time. It did. But I know too many good people getting burned by a system that is flawed.

So... what am I looking for in a guy? I am looking for a guy who is looking for me.
I hope we find each other soon. And that everyone else who is searching finds their other half with great haste, great clarity, and great love.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Measuring Strength

I love running. I love the ache in my lungs, the burn in my legs and the feeling of sweat on my face. There is nothing glamorous about running. It's pretty gross to be honest.
After my second half marathon all I could feel was the vast amounts of liquid in my body and covering my clothes. Gatorade on my arms and legs. I had stepped in a puddle. I was sweating like I cannot even explain. Gross.
But that's not what this post is about.
This post is about strength.
When I was training for my half marathon, I frequented my local gym. Aside from the six TVs (which usually just showed depressing news) there was another attraction that made the gym a very entertaining place. I loved watching the guys come in, all tough in their gym clothes, tanks, tees, whatever, and go for the weights. The bench press. The true test of strength and manhood. From the corner of my eye I would watch as they packed on the weight and bent their knees preparing to lift the bar.
They would heave it up. OOH. Let it fall. AHH! And repeat. 
And then drop the bar with a definitive ARGH! The tough guy did two reps. Maybe three if he was feeling confident. Then they would get a drink, pause to watch the baseball replay. And that was it.
Now, I spent several months training. I am pretty sure those guys did not get any stronger or any more muscle. They were not consistent. They were not dedicated. They wanted to glory of saying they benched twice their weight without saying how many times. How impressive.
Physical strength is gained by dedication, consistency, repetition, and a whole lot of killing yourself over and over.
Spiritual strength is the same way. People who take on lofty goals after hearing an inspiring speech usually crash and burn. People who commit to one small thing over a long period of time usually do better. For example, I have committed myself to saying Asher Yatzar every time I use the bathroom. It is something so small you might think what's the point? Well the point is that after spending so much time with individuals who cannot regulate their body functions, rely on a catheter or need someone else to change them, I have learned to appreciate the fact that I can use the bathroom and my body functions the way it should.
But that is something I took on myself.
What about the things that are thrown at me? The challenges that face me constantly. Do I succumb? Do I throw one punch and then admit defeat? Do I stop running, stop moving, because it hurts? I would never get anywhere. But at the same time, should I even bother when I can only take  a step at a time or can only hit the target once out of every hundred times?
I know what my challenges are. I know that I have the strength to over come, but do I have the consistency? Once you can do enough repetitions you are ready for a heavier load. But that means you have to settle for the small successes.
Right now, my spiritual load is, figuratively, at 50, and I am trying to build my strength to get to 60. But 50 is heavy. 50 is hard. 50 is the constant messages I try to ignore, the phone calls I don't pick up and the lingering voices saying Oh, it's not so bad. 
But do I want to stay at 50? Do I want to know that I can get to 60? Or 70? Of course. So I will keep at 50 until I feel my body, my soul, can add more.... til I feel that I can face whatever the next challenge is that is thrown my way.
It hurts. It's hard. But I'll keep at it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Things I Wish Someone Told Me

Why You Should Ruin Your Shidduch Chances
I don’t think G-d ever said life doesn’t matter before you are married.  Life matters.  You matter.  And that thing bubbling inside of you called your life’s mission also matters

They talk of emuna. They talk of prayer. They talk of relentless badgering and incessant emails and phone calls. Sometimes they talk of the quiet... lonely... empty times.

They told me I have to behave. They told me I have to start now so I can support later.

Uch.

Well, today someone finally someone told me something that actually matters. He told me that I don't have to hide for fear of "ruining" myself. He told me I can be myself, even if I am just "myself."

Yea, I am young. Yea, I have plenty of time for marriage. But the waiting time sucks. It is a ticking clock that gets louder and slower with every passing second. So I am trying to fill each second with meaning. With magic. I want magic. I believe in magic. And most importantly, I believe in me.



Sunday, October 19, 2014

If My Heart...

If my heart were a field
It would be filled with holes
Exploded mines
And trenches dug
For safety
For prayer
For no one can enter this war zone
Without whispering to G-d
For some measure of protection....
If my heart were a field
It would be a testimony
To the distance I have traveled
To the travels that have worn me thin
To those I met along the way
Who had no qualms
About digging a hole of their own
To relax in
While I wonder
Who is gonna clean up this mess
If my heart were a field
I would surround it
In barbed wire
And electric fences
Because I am sick and tired
Of having to mend this field
Soaked with blood
Sowed with tears
Waiting for the harvest
So that I can reap from the destruction.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Challenge of Emuna

I.
You sent me
Into the cold
The heat
The elements
Of wind
Rain and storm
To sit in peace
And solitude
In happiness
And peace
With the knowledge
That you will shelter me
And keep me safe
From harm
I am your faithful servant
Your beloved child
I trust in your choices
Your decisions
And I will rejoice
In that acceptance.


II.
How could you
Take away
My safety
And security
How can you
Expect me
To feel safe
When the roof above my head
Is about to blow away
And the walls around me
Are waving in the slightest breeze
How could my father
Remove me from my home
Take away my comfort
And yet
You want me to trust
To believe
To rejoice?
This tragic hut
Will float away
In my tears of abandonment
Because you left me alone

III.
I don't understand
Why you threw me into the cold
Took away the one I loved
Removed my one source of joy
I feel challenged in my belief
And question the decisions you have made for me
I try
With pathetic attempts
To make sense of the senseless
To rearrange the pieces of my heart
And rewire the dysfunction of my brain
To find a place in my soul
Where you belong
And can help me on my journey
To happiness
This is the first of my journey
I have two more attempts
On my feeble feet
To come closer
And with each step
I hope to reach full acceptance
Of every challenge
With happiness and love.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Disappointment

Pile on the disappointment
Sprinkle it with pain
Mix in some misery
And add a dash of depression
Stir it up nice
Add some sadness spice
A recipe for
Heartache
Heart break
I never
Though
I could feel this way.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Make this hurt
Go away
This ache inside
Consumes me
Exhume me
Of this pain
This heart drowns me
But if I could
I would swim to the depths
Just for you
To admit
How you really feel
But until them
Its like ripping open wounds
That never got to heal
I think I enjoy the pain
Because it means you are still apart
Of this broken life
This bleeding heart
Has pulled me under the tide
And beneath these waves
I hide
In choking gasps
I wish you to be my air

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Looking Towards the New Year

It is always disheartening to come down from the high of Yom Kippur. This year, perhaps more than others, felt more meaningful... I no longer felt as anxious about not eating, or as jittery about the time passing faster. It was just a blissful day of talking to G-d, knowing He was listening to me, and acknowledging my deep desire to be better. Sometimes we apologize to someone and as the words, "I'm sorry," come off our lips we can see they have tuned us out. They have been hurt too deeply to even consider be consoled by two such silly words... I'm sorry...
But G-d? He is different... He waits, and waits, and waits so patiently for us to give an inkling of an apology and then he pushes the door open all the way. He invites us in with a hug, and a kiss. G-d isn't blinded by His emotions. He is overcome with love for us and cannot hold back how happy He is that we have acknowledged our shortcomings but want to better.
Pretty amazing...

On another note, my method of making it through Yom Kippur without agonizing over my lack of coffee or the bagels that awaited me was this...
We don't eat in order to become holy spiritual  beings... we are already holy spiritual beings and therefore do not need to eat.

A Gut Gebentched Yuhr. May we all have a year of goodness, life, laughter, love and success.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Panic

The culmination of a year of success and failures, trials and triumph and happiness and sadness is finally upon us. I tend to wake up the mornings of Erev Rosh Hashana and Erev Yom Kippur with this lump in my throat and a paralyzing grasp squeezing my heart.
This is it.
This is the end.
Everything I tried to achieve this year, every test I passed or fail is going to be scrutinized and judged.
Now, I am very aware of my shortcomings. I know that I made mistakes this year. A LOT of them. I made bad choices, bad friends and royally messed up in many ways.
But, at the same time, I am not so humble that I cannot acknowledge the areas in which I succeed. The mentors I became close with, the inspiration I gleaned from the most mundane, and all of my personal achievements and successes. I can visualize my scale in the sky as every action, word and deed line up to be sorted onto the side of good and onto the side of bad. 
"Next up, that time that Rachelli took her 'little sister' to the doctor when her parents had a busy schedule.... and its good!"
Phew. At least I know I have a few things in my favor.
"And now we have that night that Rachelli hung out with a less than savory crowd... That doesn't look too great..."
Luckily, I think I redeemed myself by leaving before things got too messy.
But there it will be, the positives and negatives and everything in between. I imagine Hashem looking over my profile trying to determine if I am worthy of another year of precious life. But thankfully, He also looks at where I am now. Now. Now. In the present. In the moment. Past and future notwithstanding, I am judged for the very instant where I commit myself to making better choices, doing my good, collecting more inspiration and coming closer to G-d. And that's what I want. That's what I have always wanted.
Life is funny in that we know what is the right choice, the right way, the right everything... but we get lost, misguided, confused and forget where we need to be going. 
I saw a quote that about sums this up.... How can the destination be so clear yet we're all so uncertain where we're headed?
We know where we need to be going, but the way to get there is messy, confusing, glorious, joyful, sad, difficult, painful, troubling, beautiful, inspiring and everything else that comes along with this journey we call life.
בדרך שאדם רוצה לילך בה מוליכין אותו
The way in which I want my life to go, that is the direction I will follow.
Tonight at 6:27 pm, and for the 25 hours following, I will state my mission statement for the year to come. I choose a life of meaning, of happiness, of inspiration and purpose. I choose a life worth living, a life I can be proud of and a life that Hashem can be proud of.

Gmar Tov. May we all be inscribed for a year of life, happiness and closeness with the Ribono Shalom. May all of our prayers for ourselves and for Klal Yisroel be answered L'Tova. May this be the year we experience the coming of Moshiach and the final Geula.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Repentence

It's been this way for a while now
Trying to make sense of the madness within
While pretending all is ok
If you saw me this way
Would I look like a storm
Or a rippling lake
It's incredible how strong I can be
When all I want to do is break
I have fought with my demons
And battle them still
In the attack at dawn
I can overcome with my will
But when those enemies of night
Come storming at my door
My strength and faith
Is wasted and poor
There is a certain security
In fighting when there is no chance of success
Because the odds are against me
I can revel in this mess
I'll clean it when the sun rises
There are so many surprises
When I have lost all hope
I believe in second chances
I believe I can try again
Because as the sun sets for the end
It is rising where the world bends.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Five Years

I was looking through my old posts... and then I looked at my first post. I wrote it for Yom Kippur five years ago. I missed my five year anniversary (English date) by two days, but since I wrote that post for Yom Kippur, I think it was before the Hebrew date.

Five years.

I don't think there has been much in my life that I have stuck to doing so consistently. There were definitely breaks during my blogging... a couple days here.... a few weeks of writer's block... months of needing to find a new outlet... but I have always come back here. I suppose I have found that writing here is cathartic... a place for me to express things that would be otherwise socially unacceptable... a soapbox for my opinions and ideals... a safe place for when I want to hide from the world...

I don't know how many people read this.... or if anyone reads this at all.. (ok, I know there are a few.... thank you for sticking by me) but I am so grateful for having this blog, this identity, that allows me to express parts of my soul that I would otherwise keep locked up tight.

So if you have been with me since the beginning, thank you. If you only showed up recently, I hope I didn't scare you too much. If you showed up now, welcome to my little corner of madness... Have some tea and stay a while.

Happy Five Years to me!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Of IVs and Analogies

I am scared that one day I will wake up, unsure of how I got to where I am, no memory of how I lost consciousness and uncertain of what happened during my slumber. I am afraid that my life will end with me just rambling nonsensically of things less lofty than my soul's mission in this world. I worry that while I sleep, in transition to the world to come, I will be unaware of the purgatory I will endure, the cleansing that hopefully might possibly perhaps bring me to a renewed light and energy in the presence of G-d.
I am scared that I will have no memory of my life. Or perhaps, even worse, the only memory I will have will be all my shortcomings, failures, misguided attempts at fulfillment and betrayal of G-d.
If I died tomorrow, could I stand before G-d, proud of my life? Would I stand by my choices, for good or for bad, and they were intended for the service of G-d? Could I defend my actions and explain that I only wanted to come closer to my dear Father?
I worry about the unknown, the blackness and abyss of when G-d puts me to sleep and I rise to His throne and stand for judgement. Will the scale weigh in my favor? Will all of my well meaning intentions be recognized as positive deeds used to bring His glory to the world? To bring me closer to Him? To be the best person I could possibly be?
I am afraid that where I stand now, I would certainly be unable to remain standing. I would fall from the sheer weight of my faults and flaws, and crumble before the Holy One Blessed Be He, because who am I to even attempt to speak in His presence when I have failed Him so terribly?

And then I realize... that while they may have put me under, a medically induced sleep, and I have no recollection of when I went to sleep or how I woke up in another place, I AM awake. I still have time. The shofar may be sounding and selichos may be recited but I have been given another morning, another waking to attempt to rectify the past, to prepare myself for a more beautiful and fulfilling day. A day that G-d will look at me and be proud and say, "You can have one more day. One more day, one more day, a million one more day to make Me proud, to bring My Name and Glory into the world, and for that, you can have one more day."

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Musings at 8 am

I wake up in darkness
Though I'm sure my eyes are open
There is fear of this oblivion
But my belief still keeps me hoping

This night can't last forever
The sun still has to rise
I wait in darkness
For the light to reach my eyes

There are those who tell me it's hopeless
And I should just give up
But even when I feel that way
I still have hope even when I'm stuck

As the clock turns its numbers
I see a glimpse of light
There is a glimmer of comfort
That I'll make it through the night

When I feel like nothing will change
And things will be this way forever
I know this moon will wane
And I will face this stormy weather

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Red Alert

It took me almost a month and a half to do it. Yea, I had downloaded the app. I set it to regions that I felt connected to. But... I turned off the notification sound. How could I possibly go about my day with that siren wailing from my phone? How could I get any work done with that incessant sound going off? But then again... how could I not?
I changed the settings to notify me of all rocket alerts in all regions of my beloved Eretz Yisroel. I turned on the notification sound. I have my phone next to me all day. And now... I know what my beloved Eretz Yisroel is enduring.
My heart pounds. My head spins. How can anyone think? How can anyone breathe? How can I live comfortably in my four walls when my brothers and sisters are being bombarded and praying their four walls aren't hit? 
I sit down for breakfast.... RED ALERT.
I daven... RED ALERT.
I start doing some work in front of my computer... RED ALERT.
I go to the bathroom... RED ALERT.
As I type this post, the Red Alert has gone off at least ten times in regions across the country. My Twitter alerts are an additional reminder that this is real. This isn't some virtual reality where the Red Alert only exists in my phone and people aren't running for their lives. This is life. This is the only reality Eretz Yisroel knows right now. 
6,000 miles away, there isn't much I can do. I can donate to the IDF... I can retweet and show my support. I can daven. I can daven. Hashem... I'm davening...
And as I daven... a Red Alert goes off...
Five... four... three... two... one...

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