3:30am. Some sounds are so strange and surreal, you can never really get used to them. Everyone should have been sleeping, but a strange echoing siren was ringing through the air. I’d heard it many times before, but still wasn’t sure if I was dreaming.
“I think that’s a siren.”
“Yeah,” my husband sleepily answered.
“You get the boys, I’ll get Chaya.”
Here in Be’er Sheva, a siren means 60 seconds to run to shelter before a rocket could land – or really, before the Iron Dome takes it out midair. I wasn’t sure how long it had been going on for, but we met with all the kids in our safe space – our hallway, seconds before hearing a boom.
My daughter wanted her blanket, “I’m scared.” She told me.
“Don’t worry, that boom was the sound of our army breaking the rocket. Hashem (God) is watching over us, we’re okay.”
We calmed the kids down, and put them back to bed.

“That boom sounded different this time.” I commented to my husband.
“Yeah it was more flat. Put your phone away, you need to sleep.”
I knew those booms well from the last time we were bombarded with rockets, during the 2014 operation. This one was too unnerving. I had to check.

3:40am and Be’er Sheva’s local Facebook groups were buzzing. Everyone agreed the boom sounded wrong. It wasn’t the comforting sound of the Iron Dome that we were all used to. It was different.

3:50am, the first photos were shared.

Moments earlier I had told my children that we didn’t need to worry, because the Iron Dome held back all the threats. Now I was looking at a family home in our very own city, destroyed. An entire floor taken out. A child’s bed hanging out of a hollowed building frame. Rubble everywhere. Where was the family? Were they ok?
Suddenly reality changed. We weren’t running to shelter “just in case” the Iron Dome missed. The rockets weren’t “just presents from Gaza.” There was a real reason we were waking our kids and rushing them to shelter. There was actually something to be concerned about — and it looked terrifying.

Word finally got out. A mother had been home with her three children. She calmly rushed them into their shelter, and slammed the door shut. At that exact moment, the room behind them exploded. A heroic mother, and a huge miracle from God.

4:30am, I could finally go to sleep. Because sometimes God uses the Iron Dome to hold the rockets, and sometimes God simply holds us.