In a corner, under a table, for a Shabbat meal with small children thanks to Hamas
I just got back from spending the Shabbat meal with my neighbours. Right as we finished the blessing over the bread we heard the unmistakable loud boom of a rocket explosion, followed in less than a second by the loud wailing of sirens. It was a mad dash to unstrap the twins from their baby seats, herd the two older little girls into the corner of the room beside the refrigerator and then drag the table, laden with the Shabbat meal, over to cover them. Then we three adults crouched down just outside the table to provide an extra protective shield. As the windows and chinaware on the table shook with the booms of explosions, I reached onto the table and grabbed the challah and then passed out bites to the little ones.
“Look, aren’t we lucky, we’re having a Shabbat picnic under the table.”
It was the only thing I could think of to say to them but both the twins stopped crying as they took the pieces of bread I’d torn off and examined them and me. They looked like little tear-streaked wide-eyed owls that were frightened and confused. We stayed there for more than 20 minutes as, just as we’d thought it was ok to come out there was another blast. The kids mostly had bread for this Shabbat meal. I kept tearing off pieces and passing them out making a game of them being little birds in a cozy nest and every other kind of nonsense I could think of to keep them distracted. Their father played along but their mother kept a white-knuckled grip on my knee and was shaking so hard I was afraid she was going to pass out.
We came out, put the table back, the kids into their chairs, finished the blessings, ate the meal and sang the after the meal songs. This is life in Israel.