In a Bomb Shelter


Philadelphia Federation CEO Naomi Adler  shares her thoughts on arriving in Israel this week.

Editor's Note: Naomi L. Adler, CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, arrived in Israel this week as part of a national mission of Federation professional and lay leaders. Here's a first-person glimpse of what she found.

On July 10, as I was waking up on my first morning in the hotel in Tel Aviv, I heard the siren for the first time. All of us on my floor quickly walked into the bomb shelter along with the other guests and hotel staff. It was strangely quiet. Instead of speaking to one another, everyone was looking on their phones, texting loved ones, trying to get more news. Those of us on the Campaign Chairs and Directors mission greeted one another with a reassuring hug as we waited for the "all clear" announcement, which ironically stated "dear guests, you may return to your routine".
During the years, and especially during this week, this experience — stopping at a moments notice, waking up in the middle of the night, throwing on a robe in the middle of a shower — HAS become part of the normal routine here. As I was standing in this room, I thought of how hard it must be for parents who have to constantly wake up their children to get them to a shelter within the advised 60 seconds and then get them to go back to sleep. It adds another layer of anxiety to the psyche of young, exhausted parents. 
As we hear from the news, this is what is happening all throughout Israel. As the mission continues and then I spend a few days assessing the situation in Netivot next week, I will continue to share with you what is going on. I invite your comments and questions to me via [email protected].


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