"The war had been raging for three weeks," explains Leah. "As strange as it sounds, we got used to the sounds. No rockets had fallen in Rosh Pina and Michael had to check a few things at the nearby Kibbutz pool where he worked. We decided to go for a short drive."
Suddenly, on the quiet, peaceful road next to the Jordan River, the couple heard a huge boom, a sound they will never forget. A Katyusah rocket fell directly in front of their car.
"There was absolute silence. Time stood completely still," says Leah. "I don't know if it was a second later or half an hour, but I looked at Michael and saw blood streaming down his arm and knee."
"You're hurt," Leah screamed. Michael, unable to drive, relinquished the wheel to his wife. As she came around to the driver's side, Leah saw that half of Michael's leg was blown off.
"I was in complete shock," says Leah. "It was Michael who called the ambulance and friends at a nearby Kibbutz. He was worrying about our two dogs that were going crazy in the back seat, and the jeep that was drenched with blood. I didn't have a scratch."
Michael went immediately into surgery at Ziv Hospital in Safed. After hours of surgery the doctors decided against amputating his leg. Michael is unable to walk and it will take months before the bones in his leg even begin to heal
"Everything I have in life has been a result of hard physical work," says Michael with a mix of pride and anger. "I make my living as a lifeguard, leading jeep ride tours, chopping and selling wood. Our livelihood depends on my agility."
Leah, who just completed her conversion course, and returned to Israel from visiting her parents in Denmark a day before the war broke out, has a degree in International Relations and Middle Eastern Studies. Work is impossible, as her days and nights are filled with taking care of Michael.
"I received my Israeli identity card four weeks ago," says Leah. "And we were so happy. Now, I don’t know how we will support ourselves."
Because of people like Michael and Leah, the Jewish Agency will reopen its Fund for Victims of Terror, which was originally established during the Intifada to help terror victims. The Fund, founded with the support of the United Jewish Communities and Federations across North America, Keren Hayesod, foundations and individual donors worldwide, will provide much needed emergency support to the thousands of Israelis who were victims of missile attacks. It will play a vital role in meeting the humanitarian needs of victims not fully met due to various limitations, or where other types of funding fall short.
"When I came to Israel for the first time 12 years ago, I fell in love with the country," says Leah. "I knew that I had a Jewish soul. I am trying to figure out why this happened to us, but I know that this can be part of the reality of living in Israel. I just never thought it could happen to us."
The Avshalom's dream house now stands empty, as Michael cannot climb the 50 stairs that lead to the main floor.
"We are in such a shaky situation," says Michael. "One Katyusha rocket and our whole life has been turned upside down. I don't know what is going to happen to us now."
*Only low resolution photo available.