Monday, March 19, 2012

Follow my new blog on the BAP website

Hi All,
You may have noticed that there have been no entries in my blog lately.....
This is just to inform you that I have now closed this blog and I have opened a new blog on  the Baltimore-Ashkelon Partnership website . I hope you will follow me there. 
It is easy to register and subscribe to the new blog to receive my updates automatically.
Here is the link to copy-paste into your browser:
Lehitraot !

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wishing all our friends
a very Happy Hannukah !
 ! חג חנוכה שמח

Monday, November 7, 2011

Family Exchanges

While Shani Yamin, our shinshinit* in Baltimore, is staying with the Abbott-Caplan family in Baltimore, her adoptive parents visited the Yamin family in Ashkelon.
Rebecca Abbott, the Abbot-Caplans daughter, visited Ashkelon as part of the Baltimore Diller delegation and all her friends here welcomed her parents with open arms.They toured the city, and had fun in Ashkelon.
* Shinshin - Abbreviated "Shnat Sherut" which means "year of service". ("shinshinit" is the female version).Two Ashkelon Shinshin teens, ROI DOR and SHANI YAMIN are in Baltimore for a year, doing volunteer work in the Baltimore community, before they start their compulsory army service back in Israel in 2012. Read more and see photos of ROI DOR and SHANI YAMIN HERE

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Social Services Team visit Baltimore

A Social work crisis intervention (first response) delegation from Ashkelon visited Baltimore on Sept 7th for a week in order to receive training and consultation on how to develop and implement on-going Bereavement support Groups for those who have lost loved ones in Ashkelon.
At the same time the Ashkelon crisis intervention staff provided training to the Baltimore professionals in crisis intervention.  
The Ashkelon delegation received home hospitality which helped to strengthen the bonds between people and create life long friendships.
The week was full of "hard" learning and "hard playing including a visit to Washington and the famous sites in Baltimore. We also had a chance to do some shopping !!! and also a lot of good eating!!!!!!
We from Ashkelon had a wonderful experience and are looking forward to on-going connection with the JCS workers in Baltimore in order to share our experiences, get feedback and consultation while we begin to implement the Support Groups in Ashkelon, scheduled for Jan. 2012
Debbie Vaknin
Social Services, Ashkelon

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Rockets in Ashkelon again...

3rd day that the kids are home, the schools and kindergardens are closed since they are not protected. The kids are quite happy with the unexpected extra vacation they got and the parents feel safer that they are at home close to shelters and safe areas. It's hard to belive that this is our routine now - every few weeks rockets from Gaza that creat balagan in our lives. In a way it's like snow storms in other places that mess up life- schools are closed , people are asked to stay home if they can , and you don't know how long this will last , But here , out of the blue, literaly blue sunny sky , no wether forcast , rain of rockets starts! I hope that today is the end of this round of rockets, who knows till when ? I miss a good night sleep when you really sleep , not like the past night when your body sleeps but your mind is wild awake , waiting for a siren to interupt your sleep....

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rockets continue

More rockets late last night and early wake-up at about 4:00 am this morning. It seems that calm is nowhere in sight. Thank goodness for the Iron Dome system that so far intercepted most of the rockets before they could hit the population.
See below a car that was standing between two houses on a kibbutz near Ashkelon, and received a direct hit from a grad rocket fired from Gaza last night.A baby in an adjacent house was hurt in this attack, but luckily the car itself was empty. Another miracle.
Car hit by grad rocket from Gaza yesterday - Zev Trachtman photo

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday morning

Update: It is apparently Beersheva's turn with almost constant rockets all day today. see photos below
Since this morning's siren it has been quiet in Ashkelon.

7:15 am another siren wake up... I didn't hear it till Shay elbowed me, and I grabbed Gily , ran under the staircase . We heard nothing. I then saw on YNET that Iron Dome intercepted 3 rockets.
After the attack in Beer Sheva last night , and 2 direct hit with a man killed (he had a 9month pregnant wife) , inspite of Iron Dome system , you can't avoid the tought " what if ....' Gily , 9 and half , doesn't want to stay here , so we are going to Cinema City with friends for the day , it;s near Tel Aviv .
My 2 older ones contiuing thier routine : Shir studies hard for the university entering test , Ron doesn't study hard for a test in bible
Site of grad attack in Beersheva - Photo:Ohad Zwigenberg
Grad attack on school gym hall in Beersheva,
luckily it was empty at the time - Photo: Herzl Yosef

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Oh well ...

Well , it didn't take long...1:20 pm as we were sitting down for Shabat lunch at my in -laws , the siren went on . Since they don't have a shelter nor safe room , we run to the corridor between the 2 bedrooms , heard the boom , and went back to the table . On the news they said Iron Dome intercepted a rocket above Ashkelon , 4 out of 4 , good odds !
Iron Dome at work Fri night - Photo Avi Rokach (ynet)

Article in Maariv- Link - How did it start, and then escalate
Article in Jerusalem PostOver 45 rockets pound the southern region

Escalation in the south

How many rockets have been fired from Gaza in the past couple of days ? We are losing count. And this time the range is broader - not only the areas immediately surrounding Gaza but all over the region, to Be'er Tuvia region, Lachish, Kiryat Malachi, Beer Sheva and Ashdod. They are not kassams but the larger Grad rockets, with a longer range. They are also more deadly and filled with sharp metal shards.

Ashkelon had a quiet night , but all around us rockets fell . You keep waiting to hear the siren that is yet to come ....
 Ironic that the last Grad launched from Gaza at Ashdod hit some Palestinians, who were illegally staying in Israel ...when you fire a rocket on civilians, you never know who you will hit.

Crater left by rocket, fired today at Beer Tuvia. Photo by Yaniv Ohana (ynet)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Shabt shalom...

I much rather write about all the great visits from Baltimroe we had in Ashkelon this past summer , we never had such a busy summer before , but the reality is diffrent ...
We had 3 sirens since last night , and thank God , for Iron Dome who was placed back in Ashkelon 3 weeks ago , and itercepted sucsefully 6 grads . Not that it is not scary to hear the sirens and the booms  of the interception , but it's a great feeling to know we are protected . Asdod is less fortunate . 2 Grads hit the city earlier this morning and few people were hurt .
Last night the Municipality planned ia free beach conceert of Hadag Nahash that the teens were looking forward to . The concert was canceled shortly before it was suppose to start because of the esclamation in the south . A lot of teens came , not knowing it was cancled and there they were caught during the 1st siren and rockets . My son who was there with friends, called right after the siren , they saw the inerception ... a few minutes later he was home ... We had one more siren and the 3rd one woke us up 6:45 am...we got to sleep through the night . Gily put a matress next to our bed and slept on the floor, she wanted to be next to me .We are all praying for a quiet Shabat and go back to normal life , Shabat Shalom .
Ashkelon municipality leadership, in the control room, discussing the security situation

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Our new Shinshinim in Baltimore

Our new Shinshinim in Baltimore   Shani Yamin and Roi Dor

L-R: Shani, Mayor Benny Vaknin, Roi, Deputy Mayor Shlomo Cohen

L-R: Roi, Sigal, Dr Alan Marcus, Shani

Mayor Benny Vaknin meets with the shinshinim, before they leave for Baltimore

Monday, August 15, 2011

Lessans Lead Lacrosse in Ashkelon

We have a new sport in Ashkelon. Lacrosse!
On Sunday 14th August the Lessan family from Baltimore visited Ashkelon.
After touring the city  and visiting the second hand store, we headed to Marcelo's Sports center.
Marcelo invited the judo kids and suprised everyone by introducing two professional lacrosse stars, Max and Jeff, of the American-Israeli team from Jerusalem who just won the Israeli national league - Tel Aviv vs Jerusalem. (link) Max and  Jeff were accompanied by David Lasday who runs worldwide lacrosse clinics.
The Lessans brought lacrosse sticks and balls, and together with Jeff and Max, they taught the game to the local Ashkelon kids who were very excited to learn this strange new American sport!

Sara Lessans a pro and a local fan

Scott in practice

Larry and Sara

David Lasday, of "Global Game Changers" explains lacrosse
 to the kids from the Ashkelon Sport Center

Jeff and Max - local lacrosse stars, sign autographs for the excited kids

The Lessans family - Scott , Gabby , Sara , Larry and Margot

,The Lessans Family with Jeff and Max -lacrosse stars
and David Lasday, who runs lacrosse clinics in Israel and the USA