I recently purchased a telephone toll restriction device for one of my more public telephone lines. I taught Akiva about the PSTN, the “demark”, signal tracing the line to find the end from the telco junction box, how telephone exchanges work, international dialing protocols, and how he connects from one side of the World to the other. To say he lapped it up like a cat to a bowl of milk is an understatement.
Akiva is out of school. All of the schools in Israel are closed to limit the numbers of people together. His father contacted me and asked if we could have the lesson, even during this time. I can only imagine Akiva’s frustration and that of his siblings, as well as all of the other kids who are locked down again, now for security reasons. So I agreed to our regular time.
Akiva arrives with his backpack and empty water bottle. My dog, Mika, and I greet him at the door. His first question after saying hello was to ask where our “miklat”, our bomb shelter, is located. I showed him the one in our house. Bomb shelters have been a staple of Israel since the founding of the state. Until the first Gulf War, there were large shared spaces in neighborhoods.. Since the Gulf war, these “safe rooms” have been built into every Israeli home and apartment. Mine is upstairs and used as my dressing room and closet. Because of the fear of poison gas, which is heavier than air and settles to the lowest places, these rooms are built above ground and on higher floors.
Our project for the day was a three transistor lie detector, that Akiva could use to exact the truth from his sisters, while at the same time learning about resistor dividers, biasing transistors, and troubleshooting circuits. Mission accomplished. I always ask him if he finds what we are doing interesting. He always replies with a big grin and a “yes, this is so interesting”.
His mom arrived to pick him up just as the air raid siren went off. We ascended the stairs to my milkat, closed the steel door, and waited on the floor until it was all clear. We all have apps on our phones that alert us to the dangers and when it is all clear. While we have gotten used to these “drills”, these alerts and sitting in the shelter is stressful to kids.
Akiva is also a 9 year old musician, preferring to play Bach sonatas at his recitals, and his original works based on fantasy stories that he makes up to go with the music. He plays piano and can switch hands (show off!) while playing Bach.
To lighten the moment for Akiva and his mom in the shelter, and to take his mind off the explosions outside, I ask Akiva - “so what are you composing these days for your next recital?”
Akiva says, “I prefer fantasy themes and like to write the music in C minor”.
“C Minor” I say, “that seems pretty dark and foreboding”
His mom says, “that is where Akiva is right now”.
Akiva replies, “I do a key change to G-Major in parts to lighten it up”.
I say, “thank G-d for G-Major”
During the all clear, 15 minutes later, we learn that a terrorist rocket landed in , a community not far away from us, and 4 people were injured.
As I am finishing this article, the XYL called on the phone to say that the funeral procession for IDF Staff Sergeant Roey Weiser, the first fallen son of our community of Efrat since Saturday, was leaving the Weiser home. The procession passed the house on the street above quietly as our neighbors stood in respect to Roey, his family, and his friends who followed in their cars. The last time I stood silently on the street waiting for a funeral procession was in March, shortly after the 6th QSO Today Virtual Ham Expo, waiting to pay our respects to Rabbi Leo Dee and his family after his wife and two daughters were murdered by terrorists on the highway to Tiberias where they had planned an end of Passover holiday. Leo and the rest of the family were in another car ahead of his wife and daughters.
There are a lot of experts who have more details and expertise than I . I will avoid political commentary as much as possible in my correspondence to you. That is not my aim here with this blog. I try to stay informed, by reading everything, listening to podcasts, and looking at news feeds around the World. I will share with you some of my sources to give you a perspective that you may not get anywhere else.
Ben Bresky, who edits my podcast, also edits the podcasts for the Land of Israel Network. I have known many of the correspondents for many years and that is how Ben became my editor. Ben has his own podcast that this week tells the history of Jewish Gaza. Click here
One of these correspondents is Eve Harrow, , a public speaker on Israel issues, and a licensed tour guide. Her interview yesterday with foreign policy specialist, David Wurmser, gave a different and informed perspective on what happened in Israel this last weekend. Click here for the podcast.
Finally, I received hundreds of replies to my invitation to this blog. I am grateful for the well wishes and prayers. Please know that we (all of us here) appreciate these messages of goodwill and support. I apologize for not answering all of them.
73 - Eric Guth, 4Z1UG