At about 2am Sunday morning, we got a call from the US that our oldest daughter had been taken to the emergency room on Shabbos by ambulance. At 7:30 Sunday morning, we got a call from the hospital that I needed to come to be with her as soon as possible (with Yirmiyahu, of course).
I hardly had time to wrap my head around that before I was dressing Yirmiyahu, ds3 and ds5 and heading out to the office of the Ministry of the Interior to get a passport for Yirmiyahu. I was feeling a lot of pressure because I already had a pretty full morning scheduled – two ENT appointments for ds3 and ds5 and then an appointment with dd16’s school advisor, to discuss possible Israeli seminary options for her. So when I walked out of the house needing to get to the bus, travel to the main shopping center, take passport photos, get a passport – all within an hour in order to be on time for my appointments with the ENT, I was working hard to not get uptight.
I hardly had to wait to get the photos done, but by the time we paid less than ten minutes later, the store was full of people waiting. G0d was smoothing out the timing for us! Then I went to the Ministry of the Interior; I had been there just a few days before and got the same clerk, who smiled in recognition when he saw me and immediately agreed to process the passport on the spot for us when I told him the situation. I walked out of the office with the passport in hand within thirty five minutes of walking in and got to my appointment just five minutes late – this particular specialist very recently moved her office to the same building as the Ministry of the Interior. Sometimes you don’t have to work hard to see miracles in your day to day life.
After I got back from the appointment with the high school advisor, I got busy on the phone to get in touch with the US embassy to get an emergency appointment for the following morning, then I headed out to take Yirmiyahu to physical therapy. When I got home, I probably should have immediately started packing and preparing for the trip, gone grocery shopping to stock up or something practical like that. But knowing I would be away for a couple of weeks, I wanted to spend time with the littles instead, so we went fruit picking at the home of a friend instead. Not logical but it felt right.
I stayed up until 2 am getting things together, then woke up at 4 am so we could leave on the first bus to Akko, then from there we took the first train to Tel Aviv, then took a taxi to the US embassy. We were told to get there before they opened and actually made it despite the distance from our home, amazingly enough. When we left the house, I took a bag for the flight with me, though I didn’t yet have a flight. (Someone in the US was organizing it for me but wanted to be sure we could get an Israeli passport before she made the ticket and then with the seven hour time difference, it made it trickier.)
We got a three month temporary US passport for Yirmiyahu while we waited. This was made much easier by the fact I had been in touch with someone at the embassy the day before, who sent an email to the Tel Aviv office to tell them we would be coming and explaining the situation. (If you’re ever in this situation, do this – they have emergency contact information on the embassy website, and others who came without appointments were told to come back a different day after being sharply spoken to.) Initially they told me to come back in two weeks, then told me to come back in a few hours, but finally agreed to take care of it while we waited. We left the embassy and headed across the street to a cafe with wifi, so I could check my emails what was happening with my ticket.
At that point I got a message with basic information (ie times but not airline or flight numbers) for a flight leaving that evening before midnight but further details would have to wait until 9am US time, so the agent could access his system. That meant waiting until 4 pm Israel time to get information, but I assumed that I would be traveling. I contacted a friend in Ranaana, who had offered to let me stay there if there was a lot of time between the embassy and my flight, and figured out bus details to get to her. I got there at 1:30, put Yirmiyahu down for a long nap, ate lunch and got a nap myself – very needed, since I had slept only two hours the night before.
I checked my emails at 4 pm, still no flight details. At 5, I sent a message that I needed to leave to the airport in less than two hours and needed to know that my flight was confirmed! She sent me the confirmation info and I was able to print out the flight information, then got busy figuring out what buses and trains I needed to take to be at the airport on time.
It was a very busy day but I got where I needed to be when I needed to be there, and was able to board my flight with baby and passports in hand, something I had been very worried about. I was very relieved and grateful to be on my way…