Couple starts collection for Israeli victims
At the height of the Persian Gulf war, David Shimony and his wife, Etti, would phone long-distance from Baltimore to her parents' home near Tel Aviv, Israel, and hear the wail of air-raid sirens over the line. They would watch CNN or listen to Israeli reports on shortwave radio and pick up news of Scud attacks on the Jewish state.
"It's a horrible, helpless feeling," David Shimony says of the fear he and his wife felt during those calls. "You're totally defenseless, and there's nothing you can do about it."
The Shimonys, native Israelis who own the Posh Kids clothing shop in Owings Mills, had even more cause for worry when Etti's father suffered a heart attack during a Scud attack and was hospitalized for two days.
With the people of their native country in mind, the Shimonys have set up a collection center at their store for food, clothing and medical supplies to be sent to Israeli victims of the bombings. The center will begin accepting items from the public Monday.
The supplies will be delivered to Israel through the local chapter of the Zionist Organization of America and the Associated Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore, according to David Shimony, a former commander with an Israeli paratrooper unit.
"I fought in the 1973 [Yom Kippur] war," he says. "So I know about war, yes. Unfortunately."
WELCOME HOME DAY?
Rep. Helen D. Bentley, R-2nd, yesterday introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives calling on President Bush to proclaim a National Welcome Home Day for American troops serving in the gulf war.
"While each town and city throughout the United States marks the return of active duty military units, reservists and National Guardsmen, there should also be a National Welcome Home parade in Washington, where our president and leaders of this victorious effort, and the American people, may review contingents of American forces and acknowledge their return home," Bentley said.
FIGHTING WAR STRESS
The HealthCare Corporation of America, which operates three local health maintenance organizations, has established a network of support groups and a crisis hot line to help residents cope with the war.
Since Feb. 18, HCCA has held weekly support sessions for family members and friends of soldiers serving in the gulf. The sessions, free of charge and open to the general public, are held throughout the Baltimore area.
The support groups have been scheduled through March and will run from 6 to 7:30 p.m., on Mondays at the Bel Air Health Center, 212 S. Bond St., 879-9913, and the Catonsville Health Center, 405 Frederick Road, 744-4300; on Tuesdays at the North Point Health Center, 1005 North Point Blvd., 282-7300; and on Wednesdays at the Glen Burnie Health Center, 6320 Ritchie Highway, 789-7081, and the Towson Galleria Health Center, 1407 York Road, 828-9600.
HCCA also has started a Gulf Crisis Hot Line, at 528-7090. The line offers three-minute recorded tips on how to manage stress associated with the war. New tips are added each week.
Soon after President Bush declared a cease-fire in the gulf war, foot-high letters in the changeable sign at Wild Bob's restaurant in Cockeysville read:
If you know of an interesting story about how the war is affecting life on the home front, please call 332-6478.
Patrick Ercolano, Laura Lippman and Susan Reid contributed to this report.