It is 9.00 am on a Sunday morning, and apparently my week is about to start the same way that any other week starts – with a mad dash to get out the door and to campus on time for my first class of the week at IDC Herzliya.
Forty minutes later, as I lock my apartment door behind me, I am thinking of nothing more serious than the Economics assignment that is due on Tuesday and the midterm exam that is scheduled for next week.
Somehow, despite my late start, I make it to campus with en
ough time to grab a coffee with a couple of friends before class. As we sit, talking about the weekend, like we would any other week, we hear a loud noise that doesn’t sound like it is too far off in the distance. About a minute later, the calls and texts start pouring in… friends back home in Tel Aviv saying that yet another “tzeva adom,” another warning siren, has gone off and they have all scrambled to take cover inside bomb shelters and safe rooms.
For a little while following the news, the atmosphere on campus is one of nervousness and uncertainty. It’s scary not knowing exactly what has happened or where the rockets have fallen, hearing conflicting reports and not knowing if the Iron Dome managed to intercept the rockets in time to prevent casualties, but after those few terrifying minutes, life goes back to normal. Classes resume, and life continues, almost as though the terrifying five to ten minute interlude of uncertainty and fear had not occurred in the first place. Almost, but not quite.
The rest of the day progresses, and somehow, I manage to listen in class and the day winds down with the sense of normalcy that one would associate with a regular school day. I get on the bus to go home, and walk into my apartment again just as it has begun to get dark outside.
I sit down with my laptop and begin my valiant attempt to read the 150 pages of textbook readings that have been assigned by my various professors over the course of the day. Not ten minutes later, the screaming of the tzeva adom siren breaks through the night air, the signal that it is time for me to abandon my studies and take refuge inside the nearest shelter.
Right now, only an hour later, I again sit with my laptop and my readings. My books are open, and to any passersby, I would look like any other college student, in any other city in the world, attempting to keep up with my studies. Tonight, though, I manage to accomplish very little. The sirens of earlier tonight have ruined any chance that I had had of managing to study tonight. Although my eyes may be on my schoolwork, I am still listening intently to the silent night, half expecting the tzeva adom siren to go off again at any moment.