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Reesa Cohen Stone: Cookies, pizza, and rockets. Oh my!

by Reesa Cohen Stone, posted here June 7,2021

The Jewish people will never again stand defenseless

-Chief of Staff Lt. General Benny Gantz (retired)

Fear thou not, for I am with thee, be not dismayed, for I am thy God; I strengthen thee, yea, I help thee; yea, I uphold thee with My victorious right hand. 
- Isaiah 41:10
Now that the dust has (temporarily) settled, I would like to talk about how we were once again reminded - as if we needed to be - that we live in a war zone.
Once again, terrorists were, literally, attempting to kill me, my family, my friends, and my neighbors. It's enraging.

Watching the world go crazy telling us that good is evil and evil good is also enraging.
We do, however, have an army, reputed to be one of the best armies in the world. 
In addition, I know for a fact that some of the best looking soldiers in the world serve in Israel's army. 
I might be a bit subjective, but hey. 
Several months ago, my middle son, C, told me that he received a call-up for a month of reserve duty. 
In the olden days, reservists would receive a dreaded (to their mothers) brown envelope with an army stamp to inform them of their duties. In today's world, a whatsapp message seems to suffice. 
A few weeks after C received his orders, my youngest son, A, told me that he also received a whatsapp message for a month of reserve duty that would overlap his brother's time, and would be in the same area. It turned out that A would be replacing C in the area. 
What a fun coincidence!!!
They discussed who would take the good boots, and who the older ones. They searched the house for army socks and 'bet' uniforms, and argued who would take the torn shirt. Their father's offer of his own army shirts to borrow was rejected because the symbol on the front was of the Palmach. (not really - but the joke was made.)  
They figured they could high-five each other as they passed.
Armed with cookies, C went off to serve his country. Thankfully, most of his service passed quietly and uneventfully, despite the shenanigans that often take place in the area he was in. 
It was only toward the end that things began to heat up. 
By that time, A was undergoing training before heading off to replace C. He had also been armed with cookies. 
About 36 hours after A left for his month of reserves, in the early hours of the morning, our night was ripped open five times by sirens indicating incoming missiles.
As one of my Facebook friends registers after each siren: boom boom BOOM BOOOOOM boom.
'At least the boys are safe', I thought. The rest of us, in Beer Sheva, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Gan Yavne, were under fire. Luckily, we were also armed with cookies.  
As we sat in our safe rooms counting the booms (more than 50 that first night), A was outside watching the fireworks both to the north and to the south of his training camp.   
He was quite annoyed he was missing all the 'fun'. 
Note that he was missing the 'fun' because terrorists were, yet AGAIN, aiming at civilians - babies, grandmothers, special needs folk, pregnant women - and not at soldiers. This was not a war - it was a terrorist attack. But I digress. 
After five days of training, A, and the rest of his platoon, arrived at their new home, out in the wilderness. The cookies were finished, but pizza was available from the nearest village. The village, and all the villages in the area, were not under rocket attack. So pizza delivery was possible. 
In addition, the nearest village had many teenage girls, who would offer the soldiers cakes, cookies, pies, snacks, drinks, and dozens of selfies. 
One of A's comrades-in-arms is an American, Z. Z had come to Israel several years earlier, on his own, and served in the IDF as a lone soldier - one who does not have family to support him in the country during his service. Z had finished his service, but continued to do reserve duty, the same as any other Israeli. He lived in Tel Aviv and worked in marketing. When he told his friends (mostly American) that he was doing a month of reserve duty, they sponsored a pizza dinner for the platoon. 
Z, being a polite American oleh, wanted to thank his friends for the pizza. Being in marketing, he sent them a video of the soldiers with the pizza. Being a marketing genius, he got the soldier with the worst English to speak. 
(This was harder than imagined - the platoon includes Z—an American oleh; my son A—who is an English speaker; B—who grew up in a predominately English-speaking town and speaks fluently; and N—who grew up with A and much of their nonsense was done in English.) 
The video was made, and Z posted it somewhere on Instagram, where, in a short while, it 'trended'. 
In another short while, enough money was deposited in Z's BIT account to buy pizza for half the IDF. 
Even though this last round was, by far, not our first rodeo (as another FB friend put it), one never gets used to it. Not the sirens, not the explosions, not the fear or anxiety, certainly not the rage.
But I am comforted, not only because my Land and my People are protected by one of the strongest (and best looking) armies in the world, but because my Land is populated by a people who are resilient, brave, and generous.
A has another week to go.  And then I can sleep. 
I need to make more cookies. 

Prayer for Members of the State of Israel
Our Father in Heaven, Rock and Redeemer of Israel, bless the State of Israel, the first manifestation of the approach of our redemption. Shield it with Your lovingkindness, envelop it in Your peace, and bestow Your light and truth upon its leaders, ministers, and advisors, and grace them with Your good counsel. Strengthen the hands of those who defend our holy land, grant them deliverance, and adorn them in a mantle of victory. Ordain peace in the land and grant its inhabitants eternal happiness.

Lead them, swiftly and upright, to Your city Zion and to Jerusalem, the abode of Your Name, as is written in the Torah of Your servant Moses: “Even if your outcasts are at the ends of the world, from there the Lord your God will gather you, from there He will fetch you. And the Lord your God will bring you to the land that your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will make you more prosperous and more numerous than your fathers.” Draw our hearts together to revere and venerate Your name and to observe all the precepts of Your Torah, and send us quickly the Messiah son of David, agent of Your vindication, to redeem those who await Your deliverance.

Manifest yourself in the splendor of Your boldness before the eyes of all inhabitants of Your world, and may everyone endowed with a soul affirm that the Lord, God of Israel, is king and his dominion is absolute. Amen forevermore.

Prayer for Members of the Israel Defense Force
He Who blessed our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - may He bless the fighters of the Israel Defense Force, who stand guard over our land and the cities of our God from the border of the Lebanon to the desert of Egypt, and from the Great Sea unto the approach of the Aravah, on the land, in the air, and on the sea.
May Hashem cause the enemies who rise up against us to be struck down before them. May the Holy One, Blessed is He, preserve and rescue our fighting men from every trouble and distress and from every plague and illness, and may He send blessing and success in their every endeavor.
May He lead our enemies under their sway and may He grant them salvation and crown them with victory. And may there be fulfilled for them the verse: For it is Hashem, your God, Who goes with you to battle your enemies for you to save you.

Now let us respond: Amen.
[This article was first published on Reesa's Blog: ?]
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