In Israel, during the summer of 2014, air raid sirens rang off and on for 50 days during Operation Protective Edge. Down south, near the border with Gaza, people slept in bomb shelters and sealed rooms. In the center of the country, where we live, we marched on life-as-usual mode, only nothing was usual. The ear-splitting up-down-up-down alert undid me. Long after Israel and Hamas reached a ceasefire and sirens stopped, I couldn't shake the sound.
I thought about how people living in the cities, villages, kibbutzim surrounding Gaza had 15 seconds to run. Our 90-second warning seemed luxurious. I thought about what 90 seconds represents, what else I could do with that time if I didn't have to race for cover.
* * *Founder of Israel Writers Studio, I obsess over where I live. Israel is complex and intense and the political and the personal inseparable.In 2016, Ascent nominated "Fifty Days of Summer, 2014" for a Pushcart Prize.In 2019, "Uprooted" won first place in The Baltimore Review's themed contest: Up in the Air.In 2017, "The Fabric of Peace" won finalist in Crab Orchard Review's John Guyon Literary Nonfiction Prize.
Read Jennifer Lang's Mixed Genre work, "90 Seconds to Shelter:
If an air raid siren didn't sound and I didn't have to run for cover then I would"