1. Take your kids to school. Don’t be late for the ha’sa’ah (school bus), which just got a new driver, an Arab. Try not to be afraid: don’t be a racist; your mother didn’t raise a racist. Believe in the good of every person. Ask a friend what to do, how to be OK with your fears; would it be better to send a 7-year-old alone 30 minutes on a public bus? “No stick with the ha’sa’ah. That’s just the stress of living here,” he says. Sometimes there are no good choices. Pray every day from 7:45 until 8:30 when you can check that your child got to school safely.
2. Debate the importance of ice coffee. Last week ice coffee was a guilty pleasure; you don’t need the calories, the extra sugar, the caffeine. This week debate the safety of sitting in a public place where anyone could walk in and God forbid do anything. On the other hand, you have so few vices. You don’t smoke, drink, or do yoga (bad knees). Ice coffee is pretty much all you’ve got.
3. Have your new standard conversation on the safest way for your husband to get to work. Debate the pluses and minuses of walking, taking the train, or taking the bus. Where was the last attack? Which blocks should be avoided completely? Which areas are populated but not too populated? Tell your husband to be careful while walking to and from work; tell him to watch himself, to be aware, to be safe, when you know full well that these attackers, no one should know from them, are so fast the victims don’t have a chance to defend themselves. Pray as he leaves the house and the whole time he is walking, or bussing, or training. Pray for all the people of Israel like you would your own husband.
4. Debate the safety of sending your child to his weekly chug (self-defense) class.Will he be more frightened by what the other boys are talking about, or will he somehow be able to hold onto his 7-year-old innocence? Call the teacher an hour before class to tell him a warning has been issued not to allow children in public parks, that today the kids should be where you can protect them, where you know they are safe.
5. Continue to worry about money as usual. Just like last week when you had clients and work and things were just regular Israeli life. No one had been killed yet. Buses were still thought to be safe, and people were not yet afraid to leave their homes.
6. Go grocery shopping for Shabbos. It’s Thursday and Shabbos waits for no woman. Try very very hard not to listen in on the Israeli manager’s conversation with the one Arab worker who showed up to work today. “I don’t understand why they aren’t picking up their phones!” he’s saying. The Arab tries to explain they may live in areas where they weren’t permitted to leave this morning. “I get it,” she says, “but why aren’t they picking up there phones?” When you need help ask the Arab, who is perfectly nice and speaks to you in perfect English, though you asked your question in Hebrew.
7. Try to go to bed at a normal time. Even though you can’t sleep no matter how tired you are. Try not to watch the footage of the attacks even though it is everywhere you look: the news, your phone, the radio, everywhere. Try even harder not to check the internet headlines 50 times a day. Try to disconnect and let go and let God and go to sleep, even though every part of your body is aching for the breaking hearts of the loved ones of the victims, and the victims themselves, and your own broken heart, and the breaking heart of the city we have all longed to see whole and serene and happy for the last 2000 years.