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Soldiers' Tales

tales Noam at Shacharit (second row far left) in Gaza’s conquered Al Azhar University converted to a Shul


Grandson, reserve paratrooper, Noam,

Visited me with his young wife, Shira,

Explaining while tea vapors steamed up

His sturdy army black framed glasses.

Through lenses, intent grey eyes focused

Reaching my heart with his explanation...

"We focus on our mission, motivation's high

Training's professional. Not only physical

But spiritual, as with Kavana we pray

Sincerely intent on every word we say.

Family boosts our morale when you send us

Special night torches we fix to our helmets

So we see in the dark. Sixty pairs of socks,

Special pressure plasters, so feet don't get sore.

It helps you are there, keep sending parcels of 'Nosh'

Crisps, cakes, Coca-Cola make sleeping sounder

On field's rough ground. Our life's no feather bed.

We're fighting a war for Jewish identity."

With his hand on mine, Noam urgently repeats,

"That's what this war's about, Jewish identity."

He's lifting my heart with his words and warm hug

Strengthens me with his deeply held conviction

Now we understand that the war is about

Jewish identity - Israel's survival.

What a surprise! Comes knocking at my door

A uniformed soldier. Met him before?

My younger grandson, nicknamed Aharoni

Intelligence unit gave him a furlough

Came to visit me with Efrat, his Mom.

His brown eyes shine at my surprised delight.

This young grandson tells me that he's lost weight

In intelligence, his shifts' hours are maybe ten or eight,

Usually at night. So when morning comes

Too tired for breakfast, so goes straight to bed.

When he wakes up it's for supper and off

Onto his next duty - keeps us all safe.

Grandsons - They're up in the North, down in the South.

The Iron Dome's all the while being deployed

A Nobel Prize contender., supposedly!

If so, better give it to our boys, each one

A Noble defender of our only land, our home.

Say No to vulnerability, Yes to positivity, unity!

Sitting on Jerusalem's sunny balcony,

Wonder why it's so very hard to be Granny

Being a 'stopper' - fill in whenever needed

Rushing to help my granddaughters trying, coping

Alone with husbands on the front – sometimes arriving

Then going. Sometimes contacting – just never knowing.

Making calls, challot, packages, we help society

And our sanity. Thread fringes on T-shirts' four corners

Called tzizzit, soft shield against hardened enemy

While as years before, in bomb shelters we sitting

In our very own country, where we've every right to be.

Or so it seems to us, though not to crazed barbarians.

My response? Why! Off to see my grandchildren

Entertain great grandkids – blessed next generation!

While uniformed grandsons with their guns shouldered

Again fight Israel's War of Independence.

This campaign we will win, we tell one another

We'll fight for this land, for we have no other.

It's no coincidence then, that despite it all,

We never despair, sing our national anthem

As our soldiers guard us with heart and with soul.

Resilience empowers all of us, as we know.

Israel, we trust, will never be abandoned

In every Jewish heart, echoes Hope - Hatikvah! 

Noam, on his army base, in the North
Noam and Shira on holiday in happier times
 

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Friday, 19 July 2024

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