20 June 2002 Tuesday’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem occurred just 250 metres from the ORT Spanien School in Jerusalem. In the course of the attack 19 people were killed, including 10 school children, and 52 people were wounded. The school’s pupils and staff, and even those not directly affected, are in a state of shock. When they returned on Wednesday for the last day of the school year, they had to deal with the immediate aftermath of the attack, and prepare for a long painful summer and the new school year ahead. Below are some written thoughts and feelings of students and teachers who have been affected by this most recent act of terror which took place only steps from them: “My name is Eliran Shalom of ORT Spanien in Jerusalem and I am in the seventh grade. I wish to share with you my experiences of the last two days. On Tuesday June 18, I arrived at school at 7:55 a.m. I saw my friend Joshua at the bus stop and invited him to come pray with us in the Beit-Midrash. Joshua said he was waiting for another friend to come. I entered the school synagogue and started laying tefillin and got up to the middle of the blessing. Suddenly I heard a tremendous explosion. At first I figured it was just a plane flying beyond the speed of sound, and so I disregarded the noise. Shortly thereafter my friend Yishai came running in shouting about the terrorist attack that had just taken place in a bus at the nearby junction (about 150 yards from the entrance to our school) and that he knows Zohar is on the burning bus. I left the sanctuary and ran toward the junction to see what had happened. Pieces of bodies were strewn all over on the ground. People were busy moving bodies away and arranging them on the side. I saw dead and wounded people lying in the street. The wounded cried for help. I continued searching for Zohar and I found Joshua sitting and weeping. I asked him what happened, and he said that Zohar was on that bus. I asked a passer-by for a cellular phone to use and called Zohar on his mobile phone. At first there was no reply, but eventually he answered the phone and said that he was fine. We started assisting people in need who had been wounded. The sights were really scary. A few minutes later there was already a long line of corpses covered with black bags being identified according to serial numbers. I hope never again to witness an event as frightening as this.” Ariel Tzaba, a ninth-grade student ORT Spanien writes: “On Tuesday June 18 I was supposed to start school a bit later than usual. When I woke up in the morning I went shopping with a friend at the Talpiot Mall. At 7:50 a.m. I heard on the radio that there had been an explosion on a bus at the Patt Junction near our school crossing. I ran right over to our school filled with a sense of fear. I wasn’t too sure I wanted to know who had been hurt. This bus runs on a route that we travel every day to get to school. I heard that many students were caught in the burning bus. When we arrived at the site we saw many parked cars and an ambulance taking wounded people away. The ruins of the bus still stood there. The most unbearable feeling was a sense of uncertainty as to the unruly fate ahead. Was anyone from my family or circle on the bus at the time of the explosion Usually in times of bombings the cellular phone lines go out, and nobody can be reached. Our school was under a lot of pressure. Teachers tried locating students, and guidance counsellors came into the classrooms to talk to the students they could find. What scares me the most is the feeling of insecurity, tomorrow I might be in grave danger, like the next turn in Russian Roulette.” The following is a personal reflection from Kelly Adar, a teacher at ORT Spanien Technological High School for Boys: “Yesterday while I was getting ready for my daily routine the news hit me. It was only 8:00 in the morning, but the shocking news was all over the screen. Another bomb had gone off in another bus. Many more people were injured. When I heard where it took place I felt all my blood running out. It was in front of my school, where I have been teaching for the past three years. Most of my students and colleagues live in Gilo near where the terrorist attack took place and come from there every day. My first instinct was to drive to school immediately to see what was going on. However, the roads leading to my school were closed, and I felt as if someone had handcuffed me. I cried a lot thinking there must be dozens of my students in the bus and wondering who might be heard about in a few hours. Luckily only two of my students were injured, but everyone here knows someone killed in the brutal attack. Israel is, after all, one big camp.” ———————————————————————————————————– Tuesday’s incident comes in the wake of a disastrous year for the people of Israel and the ORT community. Since the beginning of the Intifada 36 ORT students and graduates have lost their lives in terror incidents and military action.