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      A Soldier’s Mother
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      One mother’s journey through the Israeli army with her sons

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      Paula R. Stern is CEO and founder of WritePoint Ltd., a leading technical writing company offering documentation services and training seminars. She made aliyah in 1993 when her oldest son was 6 years old. In March 2007, her son Elie entered the Artillery Division of the Israeli army and Paula began writing about her experiences as A Soldier’s Mother. The blog continues as Elie begins Reserve Duty and her son Shmulik is now a soldier. She recently opened a publishing house, helping other authors fulfill their dream to publish.

      Links to the Author's blogs:

      Cheshvan 13, 5770, 10/31/2009

      Understanding the Love of Rain and Water in Israel


      Decades ago, a representative of another country...I don't remember which any longer...came to Israel and toured our land with our prime minister. After quite a bit of time and many miles, the man turned to our leader and complimented him on the amazing job Israel had done to "deforest" the land. In his country, trees covered everything and the only way for people to create cities and homes was to first clear vast areas of land. Something that was time consuming, expensive, and slow.

      Many years ago, I lived in a land that gets rainfall almost weekly. Certainly a month would not go by without some rainfall and at times, it was quite plentiful. Snow fell in the winter, rain all year round. Water came from the pipes in our home without thought and at little cost.

      If the water was dirty in your cup, you spill it down the sink and fill the glass again. If you took too much, you spilled the rest out. Long showers, baths - whatever. Water was not a consideration, not a thought. There was water today, yesterday and would be tomorrow.

      Rain was beautiful, but often inconvenient, wished away for another day. I was raised in a country where we sang, "Rain, rain, go away. Come back another day." Some child and I want to go out to play...and we did.

      I moved to Israel and water became something more precious, as it is perhaps meant to be. We don't take it for granted - ever. We are obsessed with how much falls in each area of our country, the state of our national reservoirs. There is water coming out of the pipes today and yesterday and we hope tomorrow. We don't take long showers, baths much less often.

      If the water in our cup is dirty, we go over to a plant and pour the water on it. If we can't possibly drink more water from our cup, we find a tree. We soap up our dishes with the water turned off and wash them quickly and all at once. I will often collect the dishwater from the sink and pour it into the garden. Many homes divert their shower water directly to the garden as well.

      That's the water situation. As for the rain - we view it as a gift, each and every drop - as it should be viewed. We pray for rain from the holiday of Sukkot, which we just celebrated, until the holiday of Passover in the Spring.

      And when it comes, as it did yesterday, we thank God for it. We marvel at it.

      "It's miserable out there, thank God."

      "Don't forget to wear your coat and find an umbrella. It's really nasty, thank God."

      Yesterday it rained and I did something I haven't done in so long. I went outside and just stood in the falling rain. The drops were huge, the downpour a relief from a dry summer in which it never rains, after a dry winter in which it didn't rain enough.

      We are hoping this winter will be filled with horrible, wet, nasty days that will replenish the Sea of Galilee, flow through the Jordan River, and bring alive the dying Dead Sea, which is drying up each month. Now is the time when we are filled with hope for what the winter months will bring. At some point, some scientists with suggest that based on predictions and formulations and tests, they expect this winter to be...wet, dry, normal, above, below - all words. What matters are the clouds, the heavens, the drops.

      Last night, I stood quietly on the balcony of our new home, slowly getting wet and enjoyed the wet, wonderful gift God has given to this land this day.

      May we be blessed with a winter full or rain and growth...and may Hezbollah in the north continue to not want to fight in the winter (and beyond).