The writer is a native Floridian who now lives in the coastal city of Ashkelon and works for the local Chabad-Lubavitch center there. His record of observations during Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip provide a unique window into what life under the constant threat of rocket attack is like. He lives in an apartment building several floors up from the nearest bomb shelter.

Thursday, Jan. 8, 2009, 5:25 p.m.

“We walked all over the city, dropping in on businesses and trying to buy a little something here, a little something there, or at the very least give a kind word.

“No sooner did I get home than the alarms started going off again.

“Too much walking today to have the energy to run for a bunker - I'll wait this one out....”

2:05 p.m.

“Most businesses in the area are closed, residents aren't going out due to the heavy rocket fire from the last two weeks. However in spite of that we decided to go to a restaurant located at the Ashkelon marina. The waitress said that there had only been three tables since eight in the morning.

“No wonder, as we sat there the sirens went off. Most of the workers made a mad dash to special shelters the owner has purchased, some came running from the opposite direction to see where the rockets would land. One explosion, far off.

“We sat down and finished our lunch.”

1:07 p.m.

“Do I go out or not? That is the question. In the end my decision was that I have to show other residents of Ashkelon that life must go on.

“Grabbed my camera and together with a friend we started walking the streets of Ashkelon.

“Just as we got to the end of my street I pointed out a corner that was hit by a rocket last week and the wall that two people were trying to use as a shield – and were still wounded – when the siren went off.

“A quick jog later I was against the same wall. Two explosions. Safe to keep on walking.”

12:33 p.m.

“We just had another alarm go off after a few hours of quiet.

“I’m going to head out and wander around a little with my camera and cell phone.”

7:57 a.m.

“The rocket alarm went off a little after 7:00 this morning, just as I was starting my first cup of coffee and going over all the e-mails that came through the night. Roughly 20 minutes later, the alarm went off again.

“I ran to my kitchen window and looked out below as I saw people that were on the street, running toward buildings.

“The military says to wait five minutes, but we have gotten used to the fact that whatever is going to hit, hits within 30 seconds of the alarm stopping. So we count.

“You hear a few booms, get a little past 30, then you walk out from whatever structure you used to protect yourself.

“It seems that everyone does the same thing. You look up, but you don’t know what everyone else can see: Maybe it’s another rocket coming in, or maybe they’re just lookin up and saying thanks that we survived another one.

“Then, you try and go on with your day, until the next one comes.”

2:45 a.m.

“Just before midnight, we had a siren. I stayed in bed.

“At 2:30 in the morning, we had another one. I figured that by the time I threw on a sweater and got ‘presentable’ enough to go running out the door and down the stairs that the rockets would have landed. That’s exactly what happened.

“You just wait, lying in bed, saying little private prayers for yourself and your fellow citizens.

“You hear the boom, and then it’s back to bed.”