Monday, July 25, 2005

Whassup Whasdown

My neighbor went down to gush katif (I took care of her dogs) and she sent this email about her experience down there.

dear family,

just got in ,most amazing experience-good ,bad and ugly .i am writing
this before i read my 122 (really,no kidding) emails so i don't know
what info you've got.the most striking thing about the trip,mon
afternoon -thursday afternoon was the amount of mesiras nefesh i
witnessed in the camp/tent city.the spirit and emunah of the people
was indscribable.i truly believe that some of the best jews IN THE
WORLD were to be found there.there were many miracles-babies didn't
whine or cry,dogs didn't bark,people in the yishuv [village] and in the camp
shared and cared for one another.there was one of many many
examples-when a few young women saw me and yardena looking for a non
portasan facility in the nature-they invited us to their
house,insisted we take showers,supplied towels and insisted and made
lunches for us.when i told them that i was going to try to find my
boys(who were last seen by yardena doing hasbara and singing and
dancing with the soldiers on the periphery of the gate) to give them
the sanwiches they made more and added baked goodies.daniel gratefully
took these items on his secret(but ultimately unsuccessful) all night
mission.there were so many examples of children holding hands,sharing
a snack or patiently waiting in the blistering heat or during the
march or in the never ending makolet line;btw we set up our sleeping
bags on the second and third nights on the grass outside the makolet
and i estimate that with 60,000 people(actual,realistic) the makolet
did the same amount of business in3 days as in 3 years!!the man
selling ice pops was literally singing-"baruch hashem,every day should
be like today".

i joked(pople say this is an accurate description too) that this was
the happiest ghetto ever...

you know what,i'm going to send this because i have to pick yardena
and her little student up from the pool,and then continue to beit
shemesh to pick up yardena's best friend from america who is in
israel( this is her last free shabbos).to be continue.

okay,bye for now


And here's part two:

dear family,

we're beginning the process of recovering from our trip.last night i
shaved and bathed a flea bitten macy,began the long cleanup
process.while yardena gave her swimming lesson to shalva.the little
girl is making progress she blew a few bubbles and let go for a second
all while yardena plays with her.the lifeguard ,who is a childrens'
swimming instructor told yardena what and how to teach.then we drove
to beit shemesh to pick up yardena's friend,leah,stopped at my
favorite fruit market on the way back and for one of the first times
in my life i went to sleep without doing all the laundry and dishes.of
course this morning i already made apple-berry(from our
garden),chocolate cupcakes with marshmallow frosting,chicken soup,cole
slaw,breaded oven fried eggplant and lots more.i missed cooking over
the past few days and i would like to put some stuff in the freezer
for when i'm in america for 2 weeks.

anyway,what mommy commented about my description was exactly the way
it was.i'm not too emotional either but you'd have to be made of stone
not to feel choked up in the camp,especially on wednesday when the
people poured in and the march was beginning.the two highlights among
the marchers were the tah katom( college students against expulsion)
and the children marching around on wednesday afternoon.the tah katom
had many very clever signs and wore orange graduation caps.some of the
signs that i remember were-

-sharon don't tell us stories-literature students

-we are against uprooting-dental students

don't write this in history-history students

look the settlers in the eyes-optometry students

against human experiments-biology dept

there is no moed bet(the makeup exam given on matriculated exams) here

yardena asked one of the girls walking with the moed bet sign(or
chemisrtry ,i forget)if we could take a picture of them both.she
hugged yardena and said she'd love when we get the pictures
developed i'll share them.

the younger kids walked around the periphery of the camp chanting a
song about soldiers telling their officers that they just

i forgot to mention that on tuesday night(3 a.m.) we got up to see
lubavitchers dancing and singing on the main road.we followed them to
the gate where we saw thousands of people streaming in(either the
fence was opened up in some places or the police allowed people in at
that time-i'm not sure).girls were handing out free gush katif
produce-bowls of salad,carrots and cooked potatoes to the
people.bretslover and /or lubavitcher were dispensing testubes of
shnaps.when we got to the gate we were talking to the other
revelers(all ages from all parts of israel). a person came over to
talk to us about the camp atmosphere and i told him what i was
experincing.then he said"that's good-can you repeat that) and got his
mike and cameraman.he was taping for arutz sheva video.i was very
hesitant but he persisted.unfortunately for him,when the camera went
on i was not as articulate as when he casually spoke to me.then
channel ten came over to interview me.truthfully,i hope neither
interview made it to viewers-we were sunburnt,wt from the dew and mud
on our sleeping bags and our sandy ,unbrushed hair was sticking up
like nick noltes' dwi mugshot and worst of all i stuttered and i
didn't sound so smart.

i spoke to a lubavitcher waving a large yellow moshiach banner and
said to him"what type of rally is this?for moshiach or against
expulsion?" he said with g-ds help both!!!

th heat was prettybad in the negev in mid july.the first aid where i
went to get advil and tylenol for me and yardena said that they have
been busy treating people for dehydration.

when we began the march(60,000 people NOT including the hundreds of
buses that were turned away) we felt like we were going to split the
red sea-

here is the page we read before we began-

Info Sheet Handed Out to the Marchers in Kfar Maimon
We are winning.
Here are the facts:
The police force and army are disintegrating.
The police stations are empty of police.
The army cancelled all preparations for the expulsion.
The police and soldiers are tense, depressed and being exposed to the
facts as brought to them by the believing public. They are losing any
will to take part in the expulsion.
Due to the general chaos and lack of forces at the Kisufim junction,
many people were able to cross over into Gush Katif.

We are on our way to Gush Katif.
Thousands are joining us daily at Kfar Maimon.
We are resting and preparing, while forcing the police to concentrate
all their forces in Kfar Maimon.

Sharon wants to turn this into Tienenman Square. He wants blood and
violence so that he can carry out his scheme with brutality.

We want this to be the Ukraine.

We call upon everyone to bear with us patiently, even if this
situation continues for days or even weeks. Just remember not to use
any violence.

btw,one of the many people who we spoke to said that the police took
away the bus driver's license and told them that if one person gets
off the bus at netivot(and not beersheva as stated) he would not get
his license one got off but many made their way from

daniel's bus from jerusalem was among the many stopped but most
managed to get to kfar maimon.

when i met up with him before the rally,he told me he was leaving his
bag with his tudat zehut and just taking his tefillin and walking all
night towards gush katif.i asked him how he could-his neck and
shoulders wer badly sunburnt and his feet had blisters but he said for
this he was impervious to pain.

i'm oing to send this and continue part 3 after i take my stuff out of
the oven....

okay,bye for now


And Finally...

dear family,

okay my apple berry pies are out of the oven,and i've got a few
minutes to continue whassup whasdown.

another example of kindness was that one of the families hooked up a
panel of 20 sockets with extra chargers for people to charge their
cellphones in their carportwithout that i would not have been able to
charge my phone,yardena's phone or the spare phone(joel's) that i gave
to daniel that he really NEEDED.there really are soooo many
examples.jews all over the world are good and kind(like the family
that hosted uncle paul when he was in the russian army) but it was
just so very concentratedand just striking at how cooperative and
special the people were.

of course we ran into one of ariel's army buddies.(there's hundreds of
these funny stories but i can't remember them all).this guy heard me
and yardena talking english so he asked if he could buy one of our
orange ribbons(we had plenty of "orange" to was a real
sacrifice for us too because orange is definitely NOT our color ).so
he said he'll buy it when i insisted he just keep he explained
that he just got out of the army,he's got some i asked
,casually,'which unit?" so he said nachal chareidi.then i said i have
a son there but if he's out then he couldn't be with ariel.then when i
told him ariel kirsch was my son,he went berzerk telling me how ariel
is "the man" the "coolest,toughest:in the unit,etc.yardena in addition
to the heat almost passed out because she can't bear to listen to all
the praise about ariel(she sees a different side to him...).anyway we
talked and he told me his story and sends regards to his buddy,ariel.

then we started on the march and as we walked,we talked to all the
soldiers,police and swat team(yasamnikim).the teenaged girls would
look at their name tags ask for a smile.the hesder boys would look at
what unit they were in and sing their units song even had
some choreography.we said good evening and good night .one of my
friends said to one boy that refused to talk to her"you know,i have 2
sons in the army,they know what they are going to tell their
children,what will you tell yours about YOUR service?"she says he assessment is that the soldiers are kids,some don't want
to be there and clearly feel conflict(yoni recognized a leftist from
the kibbutz gezer that he was on the natiol baseball team with.yoni
threatened to throw a fast ball at him...).the police are a mixed
bag-some are human some are not.the swat team was like looking at the
face of evil.i couldn't help but see them as kappos.they may not have
even been jewish!.they had hate in their eyes and billy clubs in their
hands and would not hesitate to use the arsenal of rubber
bullets,stone pellet shooters,ninchucks,and water cannons.they were
sickeningly armed to the teeth to fight peaceful women
,children,yeshivah bachurs who were the end,we did not walk
towards kissufim because the 20,000 police/army would want to turn it
into a bloodbath .they think they won,but in so many ways we won.i
won't get into politics because i still have stuff to do for shabbos.

anywaywhile we were walking in kfar maimon wed night,daniel and other
merkaz harav students set out on foot,through side roads and fields to
get to gush katif(or at least prove that the soldiers and police can't
carry out this mission with diversions and exhausted ,limited
manpower)by the morning,he got there but was surrounded by cops and
taken to be arrested in beersheva.he called from joel's charged phone
to ask me to locate his back pack and id(which he intentionally left
behind).i looked all around and could not find of the
townspeople took me and his baby in a truck to all the houses to find
it(daniel only knew that he was in a camp near a family named
cohen...).we never found it.while i was looking in yards,a group of
girls said"are you the mother of kirsch?"so i said "oh yeah,did you
see where daniel was staying.?"they said "oh,we know yoni..."(btw,yoni
has a lot of groupies...).

in the morning we had a bus take us home.of course the bullying thugs
made our bus driver stop for an hour at a roadblock because they
accused him of heading towards gush katif.

on the bus home we made friends with other people and while i was
chatting,my cellphone rang-[name deleted] called to tell me that he "jumped"
off the bus on his way to the police station.i repeated what he was
telling me and the people near me on the bus started cheering and
clapping. he just called from yeshivah to tell me how it happened.
when the bus slowed at a lightht pushed the back door open and ran.
then he pulled off his orange(incriminating) shirt and he said unfortunately
his tzitzis too,turnedhis baseball cap around backward and after walking
around for an hour made his way back to jerusalem from beersheva.and he got
his back pack somehow,also.

so i really had a once in a lifetime experience-i told ariel that it
must be like the army is for him-the extremes(the righteous people and
sharon's goons on the other end).olivia came down for one day(monday
night) and said that one little child was trying to get a policeman to
take a taffy from her.the cop said'don't make my job harder' and
finally gave in .he put it in a pocket with other taffies.

i'm a little disappointed that there was no miracle(even i spiritally
challened felt magic in the air).i'm also sorry that i will be in
america .i hope a miracle happens before that.

okay,now i must finish shabbos preparations...good shabbos

okay,bye for now


From Bill: Wow! hearing this sort of stuff from a person who's actually been out there is really refreshing after mainstream media. and the kid who jumped the bus? he's still wanted so I had to delete an incriminating line.

Everything here reproduced with the permission of the original writer (my neighbor).


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