Mom Under Fire in the Golan Heights as told by Chana Frazin

Mom Under Fire in the Golan Heights as told by Chana Frazin

I grew up in Great Neck, New York and my husband, Alan, is from Arizona. We moved to Moshav Yonatan in the Golan 8 years ago, and we live here with our 4 kids: Yehuda (12), Shalom Yitzchak (10), Bracha (7), and Maayan (4).

We moved here because my husband and I have a lot of allergies, and the clean air here is healthier for us. And also because we wanted our kids to be able to grow up playing outside, free.

When I was growing up in Great Neck, there was always pressure to keep up with the Joneses…or, I guess, the Schwartzes. What car did you drive? What clothes did you wear?

It’s a simpler life here. My kids grow up going on hikes with friends, swimming in natural springs and the Sea of Galilee, running around our small moshav with their friends until dinner, the snow-capped Mt. Hermon on the horizon.

People who live in the Golan feel a special bond with one another–like extended family. When people choose to live in the Golan, they give up a lot of conveniences. It’s definitely a lifestyle choice, with clear priorities. Deep connection with family and community. With air and water and Eretz Yisrael. The Torah isn’t just a book here, the Torah is the Land.

One of the few drawbacks of living here (and admittedly this week it’s been a significant one!) is that we live 4 miles from the Syrian border. That’s pretty darn close on the map, but 99.9% of the time we don’t notice our neighbor to the East at all. Except for the occasional sound of gunshots, the fact that we live next to Syria has next to no impact on our lives.

But this week, as you probably know, things have heated up in the Golan. When I heard from my friend that Israel had bombed Syria and the Golan was on high alert, I was on an overnight work-trip 3 hours from home. My husband was also out at work, and my kids were with a new babysitter! It was a very unsettling feeling, I just started crying.

Over the last two days since we were put on high alert, I’ve gotten tons of text messages and WhatsApps from our moshav’s top-notch security team and the IDF, as well as from my kids’ teachers and the Ministry of Education to make sure that we are aware at all times of this developing situation and how to best keep our family safe.

We were instructed, for example, to prepare our bomb shelters in case Syria sends more missiles, G-d forbid, so I got our bomb shelter set up yesterday with food, water, rummikub, magic markers, lots of snacks, a fresh jar of peanut butter.

So far, our kids are going to school and gan as usual. The only impact the situation has had in school is that one of my son’s classes had to be moved to a different classroom, since that specific class usually takes place in the school’s bomb shelter which needed to be cleaned out in case lots of students need to seek shelter there during a missile attack.

All my kids’ schools and my daughter’s gan did exercises with the kids to teach them to go to the bomb shelters if a siren goes off, and at the moshav we do extensive exercises several times a year to prepare us for different emergencies that could take place–including missile attacks from Syria.

This morning, my 12-year-old asked me what kinds of weapons Syria has. But he got distracted by something, so I didn’t have to answer.

When I took my kids home yesterday, I asked them, “If a siren went off right now, where would you run to?” so they would be prepared, just in case. “If you were playing soccer, where would you run to?” “If you were at the playground when a missile was on the way, where would you hide?”

I do believe at one point there will be a war. And if that happens I won’t be sitting here calmly talking with you about it, like I am today.

We are so close to the Syrian border that if a missile was headed our way, G-d forbid, we would have only 45 seconds to get to the nearest bomb shelter. Can you imagine getting 4 kids anywhere in 45 seconds? Every mom knows that’s not so realistic. And that is scary.

But in the meantime, life here is continuing as normal.

We are hoping, please G-d, that everything will stay quiet. And if it doesn’t, I’m hoping missiles will fall in the middle of the night when our kids are sleeping, so we can just carry them to the bomb shelter like we had to a few months ago.

Today? We’re going to work in the garden. the kids will play on the trampoline, we’ll get ready for Shabbat.

And we’ll continue praying that things stay quiet, please G-d.

Thank you for your prayers for the safety and security of the Golan and Israel.

HEAR CHANA FRAZIN SPEAKING FROM HER BOMB SHELTER

5 comments

  1. Hey Chana! I’ve been thinking of you, Alan and the kids this week. When I hear the news and mistakenly think, “oh, the Golan is far…” I bring you to mind and then it feels like it’s so much more of “my business” as well. We should all enjoy a good, safe Shabbos!

  2. Yocheved

    I’m 6km from the Lebanon border, and we’re all stocked up and ready to go. We’ve had several safety drills.

    Don’t forget your pets. If you have a pet carrier put that in your mamad, and pack some food for them, too. DON’T try to catch them and bring them in with you. Either they will follow you in, or you’ll try to find them later.

    Human safety first – let Hashem take care of your animals.

    • That’s a funny line. Human safety first, let Hashem take care of your animals.

  3. Is there an email address where I can reach Chana? One of her kids looks like a doppelganger of mine!

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