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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Am I afraid of a big bad bomb?

The Sunday morning after the Madrid bombings, I stood at the front desk waiting for students to join me on a “Walk of Peace.” We would walk from the Res Hall to the Spanish Consulate. I made ribbons in red, yellow, and black—the colors of the Spanish Flag and the color of mourning. I leaned on the counter and talked to Udi, one of my security guys from Israel. He’d been a bomb specialist in the army and was now finishing his undergraduate work.

“If we stopped to walk to the embassy for every bomb in Israel, work would stop forever. This is our life at home. Bombs. The world doesn’t stop when there is a bomb in Jerusalem. There is not world-wide mourning when there is a bomb. It is how we live. This is why it won’t stop.”

The conversation was nine months before I stepped into a synagogue to meet with a Rabbi for the first time. Udi and Assaf gave me glimpses into Israeli life. These are the nice Jewish boys who ate the ham I cooked on New Years Eve—what 20-something student would say no to a free meal? They taught me the difference between being religious and being Israeli. They taught me that Israeli’s lead normal lives—that it wasn’t just war and meager existence. There are pizzas to be ordered with different toppings on every slice. There are clubs to go to, DJs to listen to, wine to drink until dawn. There are Israeli snack foods and herbs to remind them of home. They knew how to use an English keyboard to IM in Hebrew characters.

I don’t have a visceral, gut reaction to bombings in Israel. Maybe because I haven’t been to Israel yet. Even after I’ve gone, will I have the energy to cry every third day when a bomb explodes or will I become immune to it?

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