The Terror Attack and My Son by Yehudit Janey Welis

The Terror Attack and My Son by Yehudit Janey Welis

My son Kopel & I were affected by last week’s bus bombing in Jerusalem. I’ve written about it to try to relieve some of the trauma, and to share the experience from a non-political, mother/child perspective.–Yehudit Janey Welis

Wednesday, March 23, 2011, 2:59pm. I’m finished with my meeting in Jerusalem and I call my 14-year-old son Kopel from the bus stop. We have plans to meet and do a few things in town together before we return home to Shilo.

Me: Hey Ko, where are you?

Kopel: I’m just outside the Central Bus Station.

Me: Do me a favor, I’m going to catch the #8 bus. It goes past where you are. Go across the street to the International Conference Center and get onto my bus.

Kopel: No Mom, I’m going to start walking toward the market, I don’t want to take a bus. Mom?

Mommy, there was just a big boom…

Me: Really? But why don’t you want to meet me on the bus? That way we can go to your dental X-rays and then…

Kopel: Mommy, there was a REALLY big boom- I’m scared- it was really loud- people are running-

(At that point I heard a man’s voice in the background clearly saying ‘PIGUA!’ (terror attack!). It dawns on me that Kopel must be right at the site of the explosion!)

Mommy, I’m scared- I see a boy with a bloody hand… a woman is on the ground…

Me: KOPEL! WHERE ARE YOU! (I start to cry) ARE YOU OKAY?! WHERE EXACTLY ARE YOU?!

Kopel: Mommy, something happened- there was a really big boom, I can still hear it- I’m scared, what should I do?!

Me: GO INTO THE BUS STATION AND WAIT FOR ME! I’m coming to you right now!! Go inside!

I get on the bus and see countless racing security vehicles, ambulances and Zaka motorcycles, sirens blaring. I’m crying on the bus and I call Kopel back to tell him I’m on my way to him. I call my husband to tell him what’s happening, and he calls Kopel. I call my daughter at home, and then the overburdened phone lines shut down. I’m desperate to reach my son. I finally get off the bus and run into the bus station, to the second floor where the windows overlook Jaffa Road. I find Kopel right away and we hug and hold onto each other. I’m so relieved to be next to him, I can’t stop touching him. He’s scared- he doesn’t want to go outside, doesn’t want to leave the bus station, wants to go home. We’ve just missed the 3:30 bus to Shilo and the next one’s at 4:45, so I buy Kopel an ice cream and we sit down at a table overlooking the road below. We talk, hold hands, try to calm down. There’s a woman leaning against the window and crying.

Kopel: Why did Hashem save me?

Me: You’re needed here, Kopel. He wants you here, you have so much more to do, so much still to become, so much more to grow, to give…

We look down to the street where a few people gather around a small pool of blood on the sidewalk and Kopel explains that that’s where the boy with the bloody arm stood.

Me: What happened to him? Can you describe what you saw?

Kopel: He was a Yeshiva boy, around 10 or 12. He wore a white shirt. His right sleeve was torn and his arm was all bloody. An ambulance took him.

(There’s a commotion out the window, a bunch of cops and soldiers running down the street)

Kopel: I keep hearing the boom… the explosion was so loud!

Me: I’m so glad you’re okay, Kopel, so grateful you’re alive. So glad you didn’t want to go across the street to meet me on the bus.

Kopel: Can we make a kiddush this Shabbos? Hashem saved my life. I want to make a kiddush.

Me: Absolutely.

I feel so grateful that he’s making a spiritual connection out of all this, I feel like crying again. We’re quiet for a few moments and then I’m blown away by his simplicity, his innocence and faith as he throws the clincher that makes my tears spill over, asking the purest question that binds his thoughts with the collective yearnings of his People… a plea for a time when ultimate peace and justice will prevail…

Kopel: Mommy, how come ‘One Day’ hasn’t come yet?
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Photo courtesy of Flickr.com user IsraelMFA

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One comment

  1. I just discovered your site and am so impressed. This was a simple yet beautiful story, and it made me realize how much I love my own son. That kind of love grows- he is only 7 months old, but every day I am blown away by how much I love him. May we merit to once again see a peaceful Jerusalem.

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