Summer in Israel


Natalie Sopinsky doing her lifeguard duty.

This summer, like the past nine summers, I am the Susya pool lifeguard. Everyday my day starts at 6:30 a.m. Our summers here in Har Hevron are slow and easy. Not much goes on. That is a blessing.

In the summer of 2017, right on the first day of summer vacation, there was a terrible tragedy in nearby Kiryat Arba. Some of you may remember, a beautiful 8th grade girl was stabbed to death in her bed.

The day before this horror, the 8th grade class of girls was at the pool for their class end-of-the-year party. They danced, sang songs, ate ice cream, as girls do, enjoying their last day of Junior High "girlhood" before going off to the exciting world of high school. 

 Here in our area, most high schoolers dorm. Our kids grow up fast. All-of-a-sudden, 14 year olds are living away from home. They hitchhike. They only come home for Shabbat. They really aren't kids anymore.

This week, again, the 8th grade girls had their end-of-the-year party at the pool. They danced, they sang, they ate ice cream. 

It was a good thing I was wearing sunglasses, because tears were bursting from my eyes as I watched them. They were so happy. They were so full of life.

Earlier that morning, there was a new swimmer during men's hours. He was the father of the young girl who was stabbed that summer a few years ago. I recognized him immediately.  I had been to his home with a group, had bought wine, and regularly pointed out the house when bringing tours to Kiryat Arba. As the story goes, the murderer was crouching in the vineyards that morning, watching for the family to leave the house. When our first responders were called, that was the first place they went searching - the vineyards. Turns out, the killer was in the girl's bedroom, hiding in a closet. The coward.

I am stunned everyday at our life here. Highs and Lows. And we continue on. Living our plain ordinary lives. Our emergency first responders see it all. Firsthand. And they keep going, too.  

That's why I'm sticking with this group, and I urge all of you to do the same. Continue your support. Tell your friends and family to add our charity to their lists. We need your help. Things aren't quieting down here any time soon. The "Trump Plan" is causing upheaval and restlessness. There's always something. But stick with us. We'll keep going.

Very sad and frightening accident last week in Kedumim. Three boys were swimming in a well and the ladder fell. This is particularly scary because so many of our boys explore wells during the hot summer days. This is a normal activity here. Our medics were called and managed to save two of the boys. Sadly, the third could not tread water long enough and did not make it. A distressful story. 

Since 2001, Rescuers Without Borders (aka Hatzalah Y"osh) has been the primary supporter of volunteer medics, paramedics and ambulance drivers throughout Judea and Samaria, working in full coordination with Magen David Adom in supplying defibrillators, medical equipment, ambulances and training. Today the organization has over 1,000 volunteers also in the areas around Jerusalem and the Old City. Rescuers Without Borders and is funded completely by private donations and is a registered 501 c 3 charitable organization.

To learn more, visit us at

Natalie Sopinsky is the director of Community Development for Rescuers Without Borders. She lives in Susya, Israel.


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