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Anouncements, Announcements, Annou-ounce-ments

Friday, 9 January 2009

When do the announcements come at your shul? Right before the real praying gets started? Before aleinu? Just prior to closing song?

I am trying to imagine myself as a rabbi in Israel this Shabbat, delivering the following announcements:

*location of nearest bomb shelter
*length of time it takes to get from the sanctuary to the bomb shelter once the “tzeva adom” (code red) siren is sounded.
*the oneg, which was to be hosted by the Plonis in honour of their 63rd wedding anniversary, is cancelled as we have been advised to disperse as soon as we have completed our worship.

Of course for those civilians residing within a 10km radius of Gaza, prayer services are must be held inside the bomb shelters per the instructions of the Home Front Command.  Shabbos candles may not be lit inside the shelters so residents are advised to light their candles at home. Within a radius of between 10 and 30 kilometers, service can only be held in a building with a concrete roof, and with the participation of no more than 100 people at a time.  Within a radius of between 30 and 40 kilometers, prayers must be held in a building with a concrete roof, and with the participation of up to 300 people at a time.  Shuls without protective areas and roofs that are unsuitable for the current situation may not hold minyanim this Shabbos. Parents have been advised to leave their small children at home for their own safety.

In the event of an emergency, instructions will be aired over the radio. Because listening to the radio on Shabbos is a violation for many observant Jews, radios should be set to the “Quiet Wave. Stations on the “Quiet Wave” broadcast silence, except for when an air raid siren occurs.  

This is Jewish life in southern Israel this Shabbat. This is what the civilian population must endure as the targets of Hamas. We light our candles at home. We leave our children at home. We pray in bomb shelters. We do what we must in order to protect Judaism.

So when your rabbi makes the announcements during services this Shabbat, imagine yourself in a different place. And pray for peace.

Keyn y’hi ratzon — May this be God’s Will.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Kayla Ship permalink
    Sunday, 11 January 2009 5:08 am

    You may wish to write about the daily “school closings” list. Growing up near Boston, I was used to this happening a few times during the winter when it snowed. Here, school closings are listed for towns and cities within a 40km radius of Gaza because of the threat of missiles falling, not snow.

  2. jewwishes permalink
    Sunday, 11 January 2009 9:19 am

    We do as we must, indeed, to protect Judaism…no ifs and or buts about it.

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