I am beginning to wonder if the number 191 is correct. I think it may need to be updated to 27,345 days since war has been waged on Israel since the day of statehood, May 14, 1948.
On Friday afternoon, reading the headlines before the Sabbath reminded me so much of weather forecasts for impending bad weather, “Iran will strike Israel within 24-48 hours.” How does one prepare after such a dire warning? On the one hand, it is similar to when a blizzard is predicted: stock up on bottled water and milk and be prepared to stay put until the danger passes. This morning, when I went to the Makolet (corner market) across the street, there was not one bottle of water, eggs, or milk to be seen. Hunkering down and stocking up is a universal reaction, but what about introspection and reflection?

No one says, “Oh, a storm is coming I should reflect on my life thus far, and think about the future.” Last night, when the siren went off at 1:45 am, Howie and I entered our matmad (safe room), closed the door, looked at each other, and simultaneously said, “no regrets.” Then we started to talk about how happy we are living in Israel and how we look at what’s going on differently than maybe a sabra (someone born in Israel). We chose to live here, and the latest confrontation is not going to diminish our love of living in the land of the Jewish People. Years ago, when people would ask Howie if he felt safe traveling to Israel, his reply would be, “my wife, who travels on Route 83 South three days a week, has more of a chance of being in a car accident than something happening to us in Israel.”

We did not alter one plan for Shabbat, and from the looks of the playground, no one else did either. Last night was much more difficult for those not living in Israel than for us. We were sleeping when the sirens went off, and you were watching a live feed on the TV. When we got the all-clear, we went back to sleep, knowing tomorrow was another day. I have concluded that Israelis, we included, have a choice between going on with our daily lives or spiraling down a dark abyss. We are not making light of the danger that exists, but as I have written here before, the Jewish People have faced adversity throughout history, and not only do we survive, but we persevere. Watching the news last night, would you have ever thought you would be reading the following headline this morning?

Israelis flock to airport for Passover vacations, TOI,

“Undeterred by the overnight attack from Iran that saw Israeli airspace closed for a number of hours, Israelis flock to Ben Gurion Airport to take flights for the upcoming Passover holiday.While today was expected to see some 52,000 passengers take 380 flights, the cancellations by a number of airlines means that only around 30,000 people will travel from the airport over the course of the day.”

The week before Passover is always busy, and we are moving ahead. With schools being closed, we had extra help cleaning and washing the car this morning. Eli and Lavi thought the power washer was the biggest squirt gun they had ever seen. Howie and I had reservations for dinner tonight, and the restaurant called to confirm the reservation, and we said yes. We will not allow fear to take away the immense joy we have in our lives. We hope and pray for the day that you reach out to say hi and not because you are worried for our safety and those of the defenders of the Land of Israel. May G-D hear our prayers and bring peace.

Sally Gerstein and her husband, Dr. Howie Gerstein, made Aliyah two years ago. Their son, Josh, a Ner Israel graduate, married to Devorah Kagan, a Baltimore Bais Yaakov graduate, also moved to Israel. Josh serves as a captain in the Israeli army and acts as a chaplain.

When the war broke out, Sally began writing a daily blog for herself and her friends. It gained immense popularity, with many in the States eagerly awaiting it every morning.

Some of you may recall Sally as the pioneer who introduced the kosher stand to Hershey Park and Dutch Wonderland. Wherever there's a cause or a need, Sally is there, front and center.