365 Days of Not Being There.

I wanted to explain to Yael and Yoni what was happening in Israel. It’s weird to me that Israel has only been very peripherally on my mind today. I knew that all crazy was starting to break loose, but it just seemed very far away. At first, I thought we’d watch the news. But the news wasn’t reporting it at all. Apparently some abstract artist sold a painting for $75 million so Israel was bumped from the news. Also, Yael and Yoni are fearful kids. They feel things deeply and get scared easily (Yael just finished sobbing her way through Chapter Seven of The Outsiders). So I pulled up some maps, some wikipedia, some military strategy and we walked through the hows, whys and whats. But that wasn’t doing it. One map showed how far reaching the missiles from Azza are. And as we went through each city, I listed our friends who lived there or our boys who were stationed there. It suddenly became very real very fast.

I’ve spent the past hour on facebook with my friends in Beer Sheva, with a friend in the Foreign Ministry who is pulling a night shift in the situation room, and on the phone briefly with Rocky — who, while on the Alyn bike ride with our friend Jessica, is spending the night with 700 bike riders from around the world in Beer Sheva. Most of their night has been interrupted by sirens where they get up, leave their hotel rooms and sit in the hotel stairwell until they got the all clear. Only to repeat the process again and again and again. To me it is amazing and heartbreaking that bikers from around the world who are there to support Alyn are getting an unexpected education in an Israel they never expected to see.

I have been very proud of how well Yael and Yoni have integrated into the world of Cleveland. But I’m even prouder tonight of how connected they feel to home.

One last thing: Cleveland is so wildly pro-Israel that I’m often left embarrassed that I don’t reference Israel as often as many of the people here. I do feel like if I’m not sitting in Israel tonight, at least I am here.

We have friends all over the south, and we also have a few close friends who are still in the military. Our hearts and prayers are with them all.

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