Beraha Astruk, head nurse in the ophthalmology department at Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya, works long shifts during the day in the hospital’s protected underground complex just six miles from the Lebanese border.
Because Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon are shooting rockets into northern Israel, most of the residents of her town north of Nahariya are staying in a hotel in central Israel – including Astruk’s husband and three of their five children. The other two are fighting with the IDF in the south.
But she will not leave. She is determined to keep giving care to her patients at the medical center and she is also determined to keep caring for the soldiers of two Israel Defense Forces battalions stationed near her home these days.
After her day at the hospital is done, she comes home and cooks for the soldiers and even invites them to shower and do their laundry at her house in Moshav Liman.
“I am not afraid of the missiles. I believe that every person has his own destiny written from above,” said Astruk, who’s been working at the medical center for 33 years.
Ahead of Shabbat last week, she prepared for the soldiers a big pot of hamin, a slow-cooked stew, along with 300 pieces of kubbeh, semolina dumplings stuffed with spiced ground meat.
“I am of Kurdish descent and I finally found a suitable use for the giant pots in my kitchen,” said Astruk with a smile.
A commander in one of the IDF battalions who is enjoying Beraha’s hospitality describes her as “a true blessing. Sometimes I feel she wants to give us more than we are even capable of receiving. I don’t have enough words to thank her on my behalf and on behalf of hundreds of soldiers from the region.”