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Sara Benarroch and family

Aliza Cohen Hornstein and husband

Jenni Heltay Menashe

Jason Schwartzman and family


Leiba Charach Smith and family


Sara Duvdevani (Bennaroch), Aliza Hornstein (Cohen), Ronni Kives, Michal Solomon, Jason Schwartzman, Koby Tanzer, Leiba Smith (Lori-Sue Charach), Andrea Rubinfield Levy, Rabbi Ari Enkin, Reesa Cohen Stone and Kerry Auriat send updates

by Rhonda Spivak, July 14, 2014

Sara Duvdevani (Bennaroch), Aliza Hornstein (Cohen), Ronni Kives, Michael Solomon, Jason Shwartzman, Koby Tanzer, Leiba Smith (Lori-Sue Charach), Andrea Rubinfield Levy, Rabbi Ari Enkin, and Reesa Cohen Stone send updates the WJR on their wartime experiences.


[Editor’s note: As you read this article, please remember that just under 50% of the world’s Jews live in Israel, which means that as I write this almost one out of every two Jews in the world today have sought the protection of a bomb shelter somewhere in this country and are extremely grateful for the Iron Dome. Also, Kinneret and Itz Rifkind and family form Winnipeg made Aliyah on July 9, the second day of the war. As I write this I am seeing and hearing military helicopters outside my sea view window patrolling the coast of Israel.]


On Saturday night July 13, 2014 some Hezbollah fighters joined Hamas in its war on Israel firing a salvo of rockets from Lebanon, in what is the second incident of its kind (There has already been a third incident earlier today). Former Winnipegger Sara Duvdevani (nee: Benarroch) who lives in Shlomi right on the border with Lebanon sent in this report:


“My husband Avner and I were watching the news getting caught up on everything happening down south. Neev, my son, went to watch the World Cup soccer game at a friend’s in Shlomi. Our youngest Tal was upstairs in bed and my father who is visiting from Canada was sleeping when suddenly the sirens in Shlomi went off this Saturday evening. We all rushed to the safe room and closed all the windows in the house. I called Neev to make sure he was in the safe room at his friend’s house. It's been a few years since the sirens went off on the Northern border. Yes, this is very stressful and we were all a bit shaken up. We are all just hoping that the rest of the evening will be a quiet one....Am Israel Chai!!!!”  (Editor’s note: Sara is not the only one here saying “Am Israel Chai”—I heard people tonight in the Netanya square in an act of solidarity saying the same thing. Am Israel Chai!)


Aliza Hornstein (nee Cohen, daughter of Joseph and Aviva Cohen, granddaughter of Jack and Malcha Cohen ) who lives in Kochav Yaakov, just north of Jerusalem, notes that “We have had two of our own sirens and overheard one of Jerusalem’s. We have gone into the shelter every time, which is about 40 seconds away. Since we moved here in 2012, this is the second period of time we have faced air raid sirens and rockets. This past week in particular has been more stressful because one rocket fell a mere 500 meters from our community. We have become prepared and ready, if we should need to go. We have a bag packed with bottles and diapers for our 10-month old, and water and canned food for ourselves. Our gas masks are close by, though they haven't warned us about needing them yet. The first time we heard the siren (last Thursday) we were blinded by panic, and in our rush of nerves and the loud wail of the siren we panicked the baby and since then have been staying extremely calm so she does too. It's a surreal experience to hear the siren, understand the danger, and feel the shake of the explosions overhead. We feel an intense surge of adrenaline that gets us to our safe room, and then the expected relief that comes from feeling safe. It is amazing and terrifying to think that this is only a glance at what our people in the south are dealing with. Constant sirens, explosions, fear and destruction. G-d willing we will soon see the end of Hamas and all those intent on destroying Israel, just as we have experienced in our history.


My husband is currently serving his last year in the army, and we don't know if that will lead him to the front lines. Unlikely, due to the nature of his job in Jerusalem, but we just don't know. So many of my friends have been left at home with a bunch of small children while their husbands get called up to serve. They are so strong.”


Ronni Kives, (sister of Bartley Kives and Cheryl Kives), who lives in Kfar Saba wrote to the Winnipeg Jewish Review: “One false alarm here - I was in a restaurant when it went off; then I went to the theater and salsa dancing in Tel Aviv Thursday night - no sirens, had a great time.”


(Editor’s note: Kives was over at my place in Netanya on Friday evening and noted she lives on the 9th floor. Her building’s shelter is on the main floor, meaning she can’t possibly make it in time to the shelter in the event of a siren. She and I discussed how people have been considering whether they ought to sleep with their shoes on, so they can be more ready to dash to a shelter if a siren goes off in the middle of the night.)


Kives adds, “Today (Saturday) I went with Winnipegger Rhonda Prepes and friend Eitan to Nazareth and all was peaceful there. There was an incident on Highway 6 but we were already off it at the time. I think one must mention that the biggest danger here are drivers....not paying attention, talking on phone, texting, etc.”


Michal Soloman (married to Ron Solomon), who lives in Kfar Yona, about a half hour from Netanya reports that “ There have been no bombings in the area in which I reside in but where I work in Zichron Ya’akov there was a siren and two missiles fell close enough that we could hear them. The situation here is difficult. We are constantly in an alert situation worried where the kids are, and worried if they can find a safe place if a missile hit. On the other hand we see miracles happening every day. With all the missiles that have landed there have been no casualties so far- Baruch HaShem. And to see it is to believe that we have more than the Iron Dome to protect us. It is what kept us safe as Jews from the beginning to now b"h.”


(Editor’s note: In Hebrew the word Dome is “Kippa” the same word as skullcap. Iron Dome in Hebrew is called “Kippat Barzel”. A radio announcer has said “The Iron Kippa is doing G-d’s work.”) 


Jason Schwartzman, a graduate of the Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate class of 1982 (with the Editor) lives in Ramat Bet Shemesh Aleph, “a nice American / Anglo community.”  He reports, “We have been usually quiet -- we moved here the year of Gush Katif (2005) and were not really too affected by rockets. This time we are actually getting sirens. At the same time I have kids around the country -- In Jerusalem (there is always some action going on there) and in Bnei Brak/Tel Aviv. (Since they don't have Safe Rooms there, everyone goes to the street or halls). I also work each day in the other end of the country in Herzliya Pituach and we haven't seen much action. What is worth noting is that at my office we have 10-15% missing due to their receiving a Tsav 8 (meaning a call up from the army) and even so it is work as usual. It is amazing to see and experience daily miracles living here. We are ever so grateful to be part of this.”


Jenni H

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