It’s 8:30 in the morning. The school bell rings and students enter the classrooms, but not us. We usually get to school during or after the morning recess.
We live in Ma’ale Efraim, which is located “behind the green line.” Every day we travel about four hours (back and forth) to school in Jerusalem, with our brothers and sister. The roads in our area have seen very hard times. The way is very narrow and hilly. To begin with, the Arabs only threw stones or put tires and boulders in the middle of the road, but since last year, they have been shooting and putting explosives or bombs on the road instead. We used to get to school on time because it actually takes only an hour to Jerusalem, but since it became dangerous, we travel by “Eged” bus, which is bulletproof.
The bus stops off in all the settlements and army camps along the way. It goes up and down a long winding hill to each of the settlements, so the trip is not easy at all. Many times, the bus is over crowded with soldiers, so we don’t even have place to sit. If we had a private bus, we would get to school on time and sit comfortably, but it’s better to travel safely. The truth is that even the bulletproof busses were shot at, and unfortunately, people were wounded and killed. Whenever there is a shooting or explosives, the army closes off the roads, and then we have to travel by a different route.
There are also “Machsomim” on the way, where the soldiers stop every car and check them, and then the bus waits a long time on line. Once, at the entrance to Jerusalem, we waited for so long, that by the time we got into the city, we didn’t even get to school, we just went right to the bus that brings us home. Our trip to school always shows us how G-d watches over us. We have seen so many miracles. Many times, there was shooting a few minutes before or after we passed a certain place. Also explosives went off on the road, but always missed the bus we traveled on.
We used to take 10 “agurot” to school for charity every day, but since it became dangerous, we always take 30 “agurot.” 10 we put in charity on the bus, (we always travel with a charity box), 10 we put in school, and 10 we put in charity at home as soon as we arrive. This way, we are sure that we will have a safe trip. Even so, we must admit, that the security situation does have an effect on us. When we get off the bus, we have to walk about 20 minutes to get to school. Last week, while we were walking, we suddenly noticed a man on a motorcycle that stopped near a house and threw something towards the house. Then he went to the next house, and did the same thing. All three of us were quite scared, because we thought that he was a terrorist who wants to kill Jews (Heaven Forbid), and we started running away. Only afterwards, we realized, that he was just throwing newspapers into the houses.
This is how most people in Israel feel. For example, we always take a cellular phone with us because of the situation. One day, the phone fell out of our briefcase, and we didn’t realize right away. Afterwards, we found out that the people who saw it were afraid that it was a bomb. Also, anyone who sees a bag or anything on the sidewalk, in a store, on a bus, etc., right away thinks that it may be an explosive.
Since we spend so much time on the bus, we try to use this time to speak to the people or soldiers on board about keeping Torah and Mitzvoth. Our teachers don’t understand why we can’t do homework on the way, but the trip is so winding and hilly, that it’s too hard to concentrate and if we try to read we get nauseous. Instead, we speak to the people. They ask us all sorts of questions, like – “Aren’t you hot in the summer – why do you wear long sleeves and socks,” or “Do you really believe that Moshiach will come.” Most of the people on the busses are soldiers or people who don’t know much about Torah and Judaism.
We try our best to explain to them how important it is to serve Hashem and how happy we are to be religious, even though sometimes it can be a little difficult. We tell them that Moshiach is ready to come! Usually, we don’t know what came out of the conversations, but once we did find out. Our older sister has a friend who runs a Tzivos Hashem club in Jerusalem for girls who don’t know about a Torah way of life. One day, a new girl began to come. She told the Madricha (counselor) – “Do you know why I decided to come? Believe me, I never thought I would be coming to this kind of club. But one day, when I traveled on a bus from Jerusalem to Tiberias, I met some girls who live in Ma’ale Efraim and we had a very interesting conversation, and because of that I decided to come.” The girl was surprised that the “Madricha” also knew us… That was real Divine Providence!
Most private families cannot afford to get a bulletproof car, therefore there is a “G’mach Shachpatzim” for people who live in “Yehuda and Shomron.” A “Shachpatz” is a very heavy metal bulletproof vest, which you can put on, and they have all sizes. When we wear a “Shachpatz” we simply can’t move the whole way, and it feels very heavy on our shoulders and on our backs. But we don’t complain, because we see how G-d helps us and watches over us every day. But unfortunately we keep on hearing the sad and scary stories of all the people who were wounded, or killed, or lost their parents. It makes us very worried and sad, and we immediately recite Psalms for them.
One thing is for sure. Because of the security situation, so many people have started praying and begging Hashem that we need Moshiach immediately! Even people in Ma’ale Efraim who used to think that it is just a dream, today, they tell us-“Nu, what’s with Moshiach? Something has to happen. Things can’t continue this way!” We know that if Jews around the world will really ask Hashem to bring Moshiach, he will come immediately! So anyone who reads this article and wants to help us, should try to tell all the people you know to pray and do Mitzvoth so that Moshiach will come TODAY!