[Back during Operation Cast Lead, I had the opportunity to travel with a FLIGHT mission around Israel’s South. The following post was originally published on January 23, 2009. The YouTube video was not available at the time.]
The UJC’s Breakthrough Solidarity Mission continued Tuesday morning with a visit to Sderot.
Driving through town, the first thing one notices is the extensive use of concrete reinforcement. Whether it is the small sheltered stations on almost every corner (especially where no underground shelters exist) or the concrete roof built over an outdoor basketball court, one cannot escape being aware of the continuing threat to residents and visitors. Something CNN, who was camped out near the police station, didn’t seem to be processing.
Our first stop was a kindergarten – complete with a concrete case draping the building for added protection. All four sides plus the roof. The kids had been out of school since Chanukah and this morning was only their second day back. Like kindergartners everywhere, they seemed happy, verbal and glad to be in school. To us, as observers, you could have picked up the students and classroom and dropped it pretty much anywhere in the U.S. and it would have fit right in.
But, as we all know, life in Sderot is anything but normal. And for this age group, who hasn’t known anything since birth of life without alerts and bombs, the trauma was hidden under the surface. To help alleviate the ongoing stress, the JDC has initiated a program to assist the children in remaining calm, helping them quickly move to the safe rooms when the siren sounds. For in Sderot, children and adults alike, build up anxiety – and they know running as fast as you can may save your life.
A song was written for young children, a nursery rhyme set to music, they sing as soon as the sirens go off – a preventative tool to help remain calm and to teach them what to do. The song transforms the warning siren, a frenzied time of chaos and fear, to a time of reassurance and calm.
Listening to the kids practice, was a particularly moving experience.
A song to the “Red Color”
Hurry hurry hurry to a safe place
Hurry hurry hurry because it’s dangerous
My heart is beating – boom boom boom.
My body is shaking – doom doom doom.
But I am overcoming.
Cause I am a little bit different
Falling down – boom.
We may now stand up
We shake our body – shake shake shake
We loosen our legs – loosen loosen loosen
We will breath in deep
We will blow out as far as possible
We will breathe in deep
We can laugh
It’s all gone.
And I feel good it’s over
cross posted to Voices from Sderot.