Nursery school opens despite attack

Director of Shikma preschool: Maintaining a routine strengthens us.

kassam damage 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
kassam damage 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Dina Amoyal woke on Tuesday fearing a warning siren like the one that rang out before a Kassam landed next to her Sderot preschool the day before. So Amoyal, who directs the Shikma nursery school, was nervous as she returned to work, but determined to return to normal as fast as possible. Luckily there was no siren, Amoyal told The Jerusalem Post. "We have decided to open the nursery today as usual and to welcome the children and the parents, who also need to go back to work ... because maintaining a routine strengthens us," she said. "Most of the parents brought their children in," said Amoyal. Only four out of the more then 30 small children stayed home from the Naamat-network preschool. "The main thing that bothers us now is knowing that we are within firing range of the Kassams," said Amoyal. She spoke calmly as she explained that up until Monday's attack, which left 12 children in shock, no Kassam rocket had landed so close to their preschool. "Now it sinks in that it's possible for us to be hit," she said. Although the attack had occurred just 24 hours earlier, in her mind, she said, "it feels like it happened a long time ago. I can hardly recall yesterday's exact sequence of events." One father said that after he brought his two-year-old son home on Monday, the boy "was upset and a little shocked throughout the day. He kept saying, 'Boom, boom at the kindergarten.'" The father added, however, that "this morning he was happy to go back there." He, too, believed there was no choice but to return. "As far as we are concerned, nothing has changed. We have no other choice but to live here. We can't lock our children at home, we can't quit our jobs and we can't leave this place because no one will buy our house here," said the father, who has two older children. "I didn't move to Sderot for ideological reasons - but now I don't want to leave it because of ideological reasons," he said. "Besides, who can promise me that if I move to Ashkelon in one year, the Kassams won't reach there, too?" Local parent Keren Malkiel's excitement over sending her one-year-old son Liem to preschool for the first time this week was dampened by the almost-disastrous events of Monday. The mother of three kept Liem, her youngest, home on Tuesday, but hopes to send him back soon. "We decided to stay at home and relax because Liem was upset from the experience, and I was, too," said Malkiel, who was at the preschool when the Kassam exploded outside. "I fear for all of my children, not just for Liem, but I can't tell them to stay home. They really suffer from being under a constant siege; they can't play outside, they can't play on the computer in the house's second floor and they really need to be around children their own age," said Malkiel. However, Malkiel does not plan to stay at home for too long. She wants to go back to work and is seeking a job that would allow her to take the time to phone all three of her children and her husband after every Kassam attack. "If I could have, I would have left Sderot today. I know it's not the answer, but I can perfectly understand those who do so," she said. "It's very convenient to sit in the Knesset and the government and tell us to be brave and to stay here, but until the decision-makers come here and spend an entire day of Kassams here, together with their children, grandchildren and families, their word means nothing to me."