Boxing in a Bomb Shelter

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For the first time, I was able to make my way to my home away from home, the Jerusalem Boxing Gym. To my pleasant surprise, I was recognized and greeted warmly. (although one young man said to me, “Hey I remember you from when I was a little kid”).
The coach began the session today by assembling us together, and announcing that the gym would now be open 24 hours a day. It is an old bomb shelter, you see, and the municipality of Jerusalem has requested that it be opened up to all residents as a shelter once again, given that missiles are falling over the country. The coach continued by saying that in the event that the shelter would be used for refuge, he expected that each fighter would volunteer to take a shift supervising those who take shelter. By the way, for those who went to Jewish summer camp, the coach used the same word that we use to describe being a counselor-on duty, shemira, to describe the taking of a shift in the shelter. The first fighter to volunteer was a young man named Artur, who happens to also be the Israeli National champion in his weight class. (There were three national champions training alongside me today).
The gym remains a wonderful mix of Jerusalem kids- Russians, native born sabras, Ethiopians, and one young Brit covered in Star of David tatoos who looked like someone had broken his nose very recently. The only language spoken is Hebrew, with some Russian mixed in, and Yiddish when the coach gets angry. However, noticeably missing today were any Palestinian fighters-things are tense these days in the Holy City.
As it happens, while we were training, rockets were fired by Hamas at Jerusalem. Apparently two were intercepted, two fell in fields. All the while, we were boxing in the bomb shelter.


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