Keren Dahan, an 11th grader living in southern Israel, shares the terrifying experience of living through rocket attacks on her community:
When we celebrated Purim at my ulpana (religious school for girls) I couldn’t fathom that within hours we would be under attack. Just like in the Book of Esther, when Haman wanted to kill all the Jews, we in the south, with the sound of the early warning siren, became the hostages of murderers out to kill Jewish men, women and children just because they are Jewish.
It began on Friday evening, when we finished our Shabbat dinner. I washed the dishes and went up to bed. Before I got to my bedroom, the siren sounded. I woke everyone up and we ran to our bomb shelter.
The siren ended, we heard several explosions and we came out of the shelter. I didn’t think it was going to be serious. But after that, we woke up three more times to go to the shelter. On Shabbat there was another siren. Normally in situations like these I am the one who calms my younger sisters.
As Shabbat ended, we were told that there would be no school on Sunday. I was glad – it’s better to be at home when danger lurks. That night I was prepared to go down to the shelter, but, thank God, everything was quiet.
When the siren went off on Sunday afternoon, my mother, sisters and I ran to the bomb shelter. There was an explosion. But when we wanted to exit the shelter, an even louder explosion was heard. Even the window in the bomb shelter, which was sealed tight, blew open from the force of the blast. We were really frightened and I knew that this time the explosion was close.
After we calmed down a bit, we walked out the shelter door. What we saw was not easy to look at: The sign at the entrance of our building had been blown off, the front yard was filled with shrapnel and the glass door leading to our porch was shattered. It was terrifying.
I couldn’t calm down. The police, ambulances, fire department and TV cameras had already arrived. It was the most stressful day of my life. I just wish to get back to my routine and hope that things will quieten down, and then we can go back to more secure times. True, today it is in the south and tomorrow it could be in the north, but the day after tomorrow it could be anywhere and everywhere.