Thursday, March 22, 2018

When I Stood Up to a Bully

It was fifty-nine years ago and I was in kindergarten. Usually I either walked home from school with the neighbor kids or, if the weather was bad, one of our mothers would pick us up. Sometimes, though, I’d find myself walking home alone and then I’d be afraid to pass the house at the other end of the block where Billy (not his real name) lived. For Billy was a four-year-old bully.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

I'm a Criminal?!?

When I was a teenager growing up in Wichita, Kansas my mother had a nagging worry that I would be arrested. Not for smoking marijuana, drag racing, or shoplifting since I never did any of those things. Her concern was that I’d be nabbed for something far more innocuous, namely wading in the fountain at the downtown civic center. My friends and I had discovered it was an illegal act and in the wisdom of adolescence decided the law was absurd and should be changed. I don’t remember if we ever really did stick our toes in the municipal water. I do know that we were never apprehended for such a deed.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

What a Blessing

From the neck down my body was encased in a metal tube. Behind me were all sorts of controls. Above me was the sound of grinding. Despite the noise I could not put my hands over my ears. I couldn’t even scratch my nose. For I’d been told that even the slightest movement was forbidden. No, I was not held captive by some sadist. Nor was I a bit player in a science–fiction movie. Rather, I was submitting to torture so my doctor could diagnose the lump in my thumb.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Another Purim Miracle

This one happened more than six months before I was born. I didn’t even know about until some forty years later when I read the book, Voices in the Silence. Written by S.Z. Sonnenfeld it tells the captivating story of Basyah Barg. Born in the Soviet Union she and her parents managed to keep the commandments of the Torah despite the ever present dangers. The book is fascinating and, for me, the most fascinating section is about Stalin’s Final Solution.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Good Must Triumph

Last week in Israel we marked the tenth anniversary of the Mercaz Harav Massacre by remembering the eight murdered students. Last week in the United States Americans were shaken by the mass shooting in Stoneman Douglas High School which left seventeen students murdered. It doesn’t matter if the attacker was motivated by political, criminal, or mental health reasons. The end result is the same. Murder!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

A Blizzard in Shilo: Reprinted from on the Tenth Anniversary of the Mercaz HaRav Massacre

Yonaton Eldar h'yd

In Israel the winter of 1992 was famous for its blizzard. Shilo, the Shomron village which is my home, was snowed in for three days. For two of those three days the electricity, the water pump and phone lines were all not working. At one point I went to my neighbor across the street and she told me, "I think Avital is in labor." I could not understand how she could know such a thing. No one could have called her. The two block walk to Avital's house was almost impossible to trek due to the snow drifts. Her answer floored me. "I heard it on the transistor radio," she said.
Although Avital was not mentioned by name, the national news had indeed reported that a woman in Shilo needed to be evacuated in order to give birth. It had not been easy to evacuate her. The first idea was to send in a helicopter but it was not able to land because of all the snow. The second try was to send in an army half track truck. It's mission was successful. It took Avital all the way to Tapuach Junction where there was no snow. There Avital was transferred into a waiting ambulance and arrived safely at the Tel Aviv hospital. She gave birth to a healthy baby boy. A week later when Yonaton Yitzhak had his brit milah there was still some snow on the ground. The story of his birth became one of our favorite Shilo legends.

As in most communities Shilo has its share of beloved stories. Many of them come from watching most of our children grow up, mature into responsible adults, marry, and have families of their own. Lives become very intertwined when living in a small community and we share sorrows and tragedies, as well as joys and happiness.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Growing With My Cousin

Last week was the birth announcement of my novel and here’s the prologue. Want to read the rest? Go to  
“Is this the Chazon family?” Sondra asked uncertainly in Hebrew. She’d checked her watch before dialing the number. It was almost eight in the morning in Israel, not quite ten o’clock in the evening in Phoenix.