Sunday, April 19, 2015

Grandma, were you in the Shoah?

So my seven-year-old grandson asked me recently.

No,” I answered him. “The Shoah ended seventy years ago.”

“Oh,” the wheels were turning in Yehuda’s mind. “So, was Uncle Gary in it?”

“No,” I repeated and explained that my brother-in-law who’d come to Israel to celebrate his seventieth birthday last summer was born in America.

“What about Opa?”

Again I was able to reply in the negative.  “Thankfully Opa and his family were able to leave Germany in time.”

“But,” his other grandmother joined the conversation. “Saba Yoel was in the Shoah. He had a wife and a daughter who were murdered. I had a sister I never knew.”

Her words intrigued our grandson but they bothered her eighteen-year-old daughter.

“Why are you telling him all this? He’s too young!”

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Finding Precious Items

Although most of us groan at the thought of Pesach cleaning there are some big benefits to doing it. The biggest one, in my opinion, is finding some of those precious items I lost over the course of the previous year. This year I had high hopes of finding my missing ring. That didn’t happen. What I did find shocked me.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

In Your Blood You Will Live (reprinted from last year)

As the month of Nissan begins my thoughts turn to Seders past. So many years I have carefully set the Seder table with a stiff, white tablecloth, sparkling wines glasses just waiting for their wine, stacks of three matzos covered with the hand-made, embroidered cloths, and time-worn haggadot next to each place. The Seder always begins with a surge of excitement and anticipation. Once it ends, though, there is little to resemble to the beginning either physically or spiritually. The tablecloth is no longer white, rather stained red, green, and brown from wine lettuce, and chorosis. Matza crumbs adorn the table, the chairs, and the once shining floor. The children who have stayed awake are tired and irritable and the adults are not much better. When I stumble off to bed I can only hope that despite the mess and exhaustion we have managed to add precious memories, ideals, and attitudes to remember throughout the coming year.

Every year the Seder is the same and yet different. There are the components that are precious because they are so much a part of our childhood. Who doesn’t remember asking The Four Questions for the first time? It was when I was six or seven that my father patiently taught me how to recite them. Now, as my grandchildren take their turns, I get teary-eyed knowing that they will in-turn, please G-d, listen to their own grandchildren.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Who's Coming for Seder?

It happened over twenty years ago and I still remember my feelings. I was in Jerusalem, waiting at the bus stop and hoping for a ride home. Another woman from Shilo, a casual acquaintance, arrived and we began visiting. Pesach was just a couple of weeks away so naturally that was our topic of conversation.

“So, who’s coming to you for Seder?” she asked.

“We’re just our family.”

Monday, March 23, 2015

I’m a Klutz

Perhaps it’s because I have my head in the clouds more than my feet on the ground. Or maybe it’s because I’m always in such a hurry to get to the future that I don’t pay enough attention to the present. Possibly, it has nothing to do with me and it’s just the genetic make-up I received. Whatever the reason, over the years I’ve broken bones at least a half a dozen times and needed stitches that same amount or more. I’ve lost count of the scratches, scrapes and bruises I’ve accumulated over the years.
This is not a picture of me!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Day Off

One of my bigger adjustments to life in Israel was having Sunday as a normal working day. There was no lazing around and starting the day slowly nor was there any packing up the car and taking off for a day trip. No, it was getting the kids up and out to school and everyone else starting work like any other weekday.

As time went on I got used to it but I can’t say I didn’t miss those relaxing Sundays. So when I discovered that Election Day in Israel was a day-off I was thrilled. It became our tradition to have a family BBQ on those elections days.

Monday, March 9, 2015

And Once Again, Practical Pointers for Pesach Preparations

After having made Pesach more than thirty-seven times and never once being late for Bedikat Chometz, I think I can say with full confidence that I am somewhat of an expert on Pesach preparations. It would be well worth your while to read my pointers.