An urgent call from a neighbor. Bring your children inside. School closed. Make sure to secure all doors and windows. Don’t leave the house unless necessary. Nightly curfew.

Sounds like instructions which you might hear in Israel, up north or down south, depending on which area is currently under fire. But these instructions weren’t given in Israel. They were given today in Baltimore, Maryland, a city currently under siege.

I lived in Israel as a newlywed during the second intifada. A bomb exploded on my corner. I narrowly missed a shooter down the block from my doctor's office. A restaurant was bombed on a Saturday night, exactly a week after we had dined there. Yes, I was scared during that time. It was certainly an unsettling feeling. But it didn't compare to the fear I felt today.

Shomrim, our neighborhood watch patrol, sent out an email that a "purge" was scheduled for the Owing Mills Mall at 3:30 p.m. today. While mostly deserted, as it is in the process of closing down, this mall does have one special distinction. It is about a two minute drive from the yeshiva elementary school which my boys attend. Images flashed in my head of the riots in downtown Baltimore last night: cars on fire, angry, violent mobs. Soon after all the local orthodox schools sent out texts that they would be closing early. But it wasn't early enough for me.

I loaded my very rudely awakened baby into the car and proceeded to drive around picking up my five school-aged children from their respective schools, four stops in all. Not usually considered neurotic by nature, all I knew was that I would not feel any semblance of peace until I had my children locked securely inside the house with me. (I called my husband too and begged him to leave work early, which he did).

I handled living through an intifada, but this was completely different. The love I had as a newly-married 20-year-old for myself and my husband cannot compare to the fierce devotion I have to my children. Taking my life in my hands when walking through the streets of Jerusalem during the intifada was my choice; I would be the one to reap the consequences. But when it comes to my children, the whole equation is different. It is my responsibility, right, and privilege to do all I can to keep them safe and sound, with the help of God. It is an obligation I take very seriously, and feeling that my ability to protect them was under threat, that some rioters were depriving my children of their sense of security, was downright devastating.

I had a very different afternoon today. The usual bickering, whining, and neediness did not grind on my nerves the way it usually does. I was just so grateful to have my family safe and together. We must appreciate every single day that we are privileged to have our families together. Too often it takes a loss, be it of health, money or even a sense of security, to make us appreciate what we have. That doesn't have to be the case.

Give you child an extra hug simply because you can. And pray to God, the only source of true security, that this exile should soon end so that we are no longer forced to witness conflicts which are not our own.

Wishing all the citizens of Baltimore a peaceful conclusion to this difficult time period.