Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Only In Israel


This story is totally true. There are no exaggerations. And I witnessed it all.

It happened on the first day of Chol HaMoed* Pesach. My husband and I eagerly made our way to a small maternity hospital in Bnai Brak in order to meet our less than a day-old granddaughter.  We came without presents. There would be plenty of time for gifts once she and our daughter were safely home.

In Israel it’s usually impossible to enter a hospital without going through a security check and this place was no exception. Inside the guard shack the man working as sentry sat at a table next to the metal detector.
A security checkpoint courtesy of mops.gov.il
He checked the visitors’ bags as their owners walked through the aluminum gate. We approached empty handed except for my purse and expected to move quickly. In front of us, though, there was a loud commotion.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Man Plans; G-d Laughs




In my opinion, every man, or woman as the case may be, needs to plan. Otherwise nothing would ever get done. However, while planning it’s important to remember that those plans will only come to fruition if HaShem wants them to. This past week I had that lesson hammered into my head over and over again.

It all began Sunday morning when I decided to skip my errands and leave Jerusalem early. I was motivated by the fact that I wanted to get to the Shilo clinic well before it closed at 1:30. Since I have an appointment scheduled for a routine ultrasound the following week I need to get a voucher from my health fund. My idea was once I had that voucher in hand I’d update the appointment. There’s nothing like being able to cross those necessary tests off my to-do list.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Remembrance Day

Tonight Remembrance Day for Israel’s fallen begins and I plan to go to the ceremony in the Shilo gym. I’ve learned my lesson. This year I indeed to take a full box of tissues with me. Last year I couldn’t even make it to the entrance without crying. By the time I sat down next to my daughter in the bleachers I was sobbing. For I knew that the difference of a couple of meters and a few seconds were what kept her for becoming a young widow* in our last war, Protective Edge.

Now that war is almost two years behind us. And still we have added so many more names to the roster of those we mourn, those murdered in terror attacks and those killed protecting us in battle. How do we keep going? How can we end Remembrance Day Wednesday night and immediately begin celebrating Independence Day with such happiness? Although not easy questions to answer I believe we get our strength from our Torah and our faith. With this in mind I decided to repost the article I wrote two years ago, several months before the kidnapping of Eyal, Gilad, and Naftali and the subsequent war, Protective Edge.
I Believe

My eyes hurt. They are swollen. It is not because of the allergy season although that doesn’t help. No, my eyes are puffy and sore because I cried last night. I cried a lot. It happens every year at the Remembrance Day Ceremony in the Shilo Gym. Every year I realize I did not bring enough tissues with me. Every year I am amazed anew that I still have tears left to cry.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Grandma Trudy and Grandpa Julius


They were German-Jews living in New York more than fifty years ago. I don’t know if they fled to America before or after the war. I don’t know if all their family perished in Hitler’s inferno or some survived. All I really know is the one time I met them they showered me with love.

We weren’t related. They were my cousin’s stepbrother’s grandparents. It sounds more complicated than it was. When I was three-years-old and my cousin (whom I’ll call Jerry) was two his mother died. Several years later his father remarried a widow with a son (I’ll call him Ronny) a year younger than Jerry. All this happened on the eastern seaboard and for us living in the Midwest it seemed a perfect situation. So much so that my parents planned a family vacation to spend with them.  

Monday, April 18, 2016

My Father’s Revenge


We did it! We got our seven children, their spouses and children, my husband and me all in one picture. Okay, it wasn’t a great picture. Some of the grandchildren made faces. Others were half hidden by taller relatives. Still, I was thankful to have a picture of all of us together.

All of us! My eyes keep returning to the refrigerator door where the photo hangs. As I study the dear faces I can’t help thinking of several verses from the Pesach Haggadah.

And it is this that has stood by our fathers and us. For not only one has risen against us to annihilate us, but in every generation they rise against us to annihilate us. But the Holy One, Blessed be He, rescues us from their hand.

courtesy of timesofisrael.com

In 1937, at the age of seventeen, my father fled Nazi Germany. Thanks to a well-to-do uncle in America, and of course, Divine intervention, he and his family were among the privileged who had a country to flee to. My father was blessed with a good life, a loving wife, and one child, me. It couldn’t have been easy for him when I moved halfway around the world to live in the Land of Israel but he tried to be supportive.

In his later years my father crossed the ocean three times to attend the weddings of three of his grandchildren. He spent the last year of his life living with us in Israel. During that year he merited knowing four great-grandchildren. Since his death all of his grandchildren have married. Hashem blessed us with a number of additional grandchildren. Hence the crowded family picture and my father’s revenge on the Nazis.

My father’s story is not unique. Just as it says in the Haggadah in every generation they rise up against us. But they never succeed in totally annihilating us. The picture on my refrigerator bears witness to the truth of that statement.

As Pesach nears my heart is full of many prayers. I pray that this will be the year that when we say Next year in Jeruslaem it will truly happen and all the Jews will come home. I pray that when we open the door for Eliayhu the Prophet he will herald the coming of the Moshiach. More than anything else, I pray that this will be the year that our enemies will give up trying to annihilate us and we will truly have peace.


Sunday, April 10, 2016

Virtual Hugs


courtesy of clipartbest.com

Who would have thought I’d need tissues for Grandparents’ Day at my third-grade grandson’s school! Indeed, in the beginning there was nothing to cry about. He greeted us with a hug. We saw his classroom. Then we stood in line to have our picture taken for a magnet. All was nice, not very exciting, but pleasant. And then the children were instructed to escort their grandparents to the basketball court for the program.

Several hundred plastic chairs had been set up for us. My grandson joined his friends and schoolmates on the ground. The principal stood up and with his words I began to realize that I’d made a mistake not packing any Kleenex.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Peacemaker

My composure was shattered along with the bus’s front windshield. The man in front of me cried out when a boulder fractured his arm. More rocks were thrown and as the gunshots started I, along with most of the other passengers, slid out of my seat.
Fifteen minutes or so earlier my ten-year-old son and I gratefully boarded the Shilo bus, glad to be out of the cold, dark evening and on our way home to a warm supper. There were two vacant seats in the second row from the front but my son wasn’t interested in them.
“I want to sit in the back,” he declared.
“Sitting all the way back there makes me nauseous,” I informed him.
“So, you sit here and I’ll sit back there.”