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Simchat Torah is a holiday of dancing and joy

"Simchat Torah is a holiday of dancing and joy. We were looking forward to it," says Avital Schindler of Kerem Shalom, a mother of six children. "Nothing could have prepared us for what happened on that day, which only later would be called - a miracle."

Simchat Torah morning. While sleeping, Avital and her family heard a loud noise - it was a red alert siren. They entered the safe room and waited. "At first we waited patiently and thought that everything would soon be over and we would be able to go to synagogue. But then we got a message to stay home. We were very surprised. This was unusual."

Gunshots were heard. "We had never heard shots like this, so nearby," said Avital. "The only thing we could think about was that this would come to an end and we could go out to dance with the Torah and throw candy."

Suddenly, knocks were heard on the safe room door. Everyone’s hearts started pounding harder. Everyone was confused and frightened. Then there were calls in an Arabic accent: "We are IDF soldiers, open for us!" They were lying.

"My husband Amichai did not lose his cool or his judgment. 'Get out of here or I'll shoot you!', he shouted bravely as we all huddled in the corner of the safe room in a panic."

Two Long Hours

Avital took her phone and called for help. But it was too late, because a large explosion shook the house. Amichai was injured. Avital gazed at her children with a gentle look and told them that everything would be fine. "Mom", they cried, "how do you know it will be okay? How do you manage to be so strong?" She answered, “Because I know that we will be taken care of.”

A long time passed. It seemed as though time was standing still. Finally, people arrived at the entrance to the room, panting. They were from the armed civilian squad, in charge of protecting the community. They took care of Amichai, but the family still could not leave the room. Tair, the eldest daughter, ten-and-a-half-years-old, began to read Psalms together with her siblings Avishai, Matanya, Talia, David, and even one-year-old Yehuda. They sang and prayed for two hours until they were rescued.

Avital and her family were saved. Amichai was treated by the dedicated medical team and is now recovering with the help of his family.

Have you ever waited for something so important for two hours?


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