This was my first experience of a bombing in Jerusalem as an actual Israeli, living very close to Jerusalem. When the bomb first went off, my older daughter, doing her National Service in Jerusalem, called to tell me there had been an explosion. At that point, the details were scant, and some would later prove to be inaccurate.
I went right to the computer. As soon as I saw the first report online, I started to cry.
The bus stop where the bomb went off is exactly where we stand to get a bus home.
I should have known that my younger daughter would hear about it soon enough, though I had hoped to shield her from it. Just this morning, she called me from school to ask how far Itamar is from our home. She is still dealing with feeling vulnerable after the massacres in Itamar, and this one hit a lot closer to home.
It's a little strange to be on the receiving end of calls and emails checking to see if we're okay - from family, from a friend who has three adult children living here, a nephew who was recently here visiting, and from pretty much the last person I might ever have expected to hear from - a former colleague with whom I last worked over 20 years ago. It's also a little unsettling and strange not to have heard from others with whom we are much closer.
I spent hours online, hungry for every last detail, watching as the story unfolded. I sat with seven or eight tabs open in my Internet browser, constantly refreshing them. I stepped away twice to say Tehillim, the same five chapters that we were instructed to say during the Second Intifada. But mostly, I was desperate for details, constantly checking news sites, updating my Facebook status. I couldn't pull myself away.
Having spent so much time online, it was inevitable that I ended up reading more about the escalation of rockets in southern Israel - Ashdod, Ashkelon and Beer Sheva coming from Gaza. And the analyses that suggest that war is coming once again to Israel.
Because I spend a lot of time in the world of bloggers who write about the impending geula and rabbis who teach about world events in the context of moving Jewish history forward, I have a spiritual context for attempting to understand what's going on in the world.
I feel sad about the fact that I can't talk about it with many of the people I care the most about because their worldviews are so different from mine.
A cousin and his wife are visiting Israel this week for the first time ever. We had been looking forward for weeks to meeting them in Jerusalem for dinner tonight, but that didn't work out. All for the best. I have no clue how to talk about all this with people who are just now experiencing Israel for their very first time.
I'm having a hard enough time dealing with my own reactions and doing what I know is the right thing - having emunah and holding on tight to Hashem.