Thursday, May 17, 2018

It is My Prayer



It has to be part of the Divine plan that Jerusalem was reunited just a week before the Shavuot holiday fifty-one years ago. As I stood at the Kotel Plaza on Jerusalem Day, this past Sunday morning, I sensed the history of my people on my shoulders.

There were my grandparents and great-grandparents who recited Next year in Jerusalem but never really believed they would arrive here. There were the brave souls who managed to make it to the Holy Land and prayed in the tiny alley in front of the Kotel, forbidden to sit in a chair, have a mehitza*, or blow a shofar. There were the Jews who for nineteen years following the War of Independence could only try and catch a glimpse of the Kotel from the rooftops of buildings on what was then the Jordanian border. There were the paratroopers, along with Rabbi Goren, zt”l, who liberated the Wall in 1967, their faces filled with wonder as they looked up at the holy stones. And there were my Israeli-born friends who clearly remember walking to the Kotel on that very special Shavuot fifty-one years ago.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Who Can I Believe?



A Follow-up to my post of April 26th

It’s amazing how differently various journalists view the situation on the Gaza border. Some proclaim Israel is using disproportionate force against peaceful demonstrators. Others declare that there is nothing peaceful about the weekly rioters who try to storm the fence, hurl rocks, send incendiary kites, and use children as human shields. I have not been at the border. Nor do I plan to visit there in the near future. Therefore I cannot unequivocally state that the second group is correct and the first is using skewered reporting. However, my sympathies lean more to the second group. Is it just because I like their platform that I want to believe them?
courtesy of Ynet news

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Everyone Knows



Everyone knows you don’t leave a small child alone in the car. Except for when, fill in the blank with whatever excuse you can come up with. For me, it was because I’d left something inside the house. That happened thirty-eight years ago but I haven’t forgotten it because a near disaster occurred in those few minutes my children were left unsupervised.

Everyone knows one doesn’t go hiking in dry river beds when there’s flash flood warnings. Except for when, again fill in the blank with whatever excuse you can come up with. That’s what happened in Israel last week and we’ll never forget it because a horrifying disaster occurred. Ten promising, pre-army youths were drowned in raging waters.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Believe Half of What You Hear and a Fourth of What You See



That was my mother’s advice five decades ago. The first part made perfect sense to me. Lies could gallop faster than horses, getting bigger with each telling. But not to believe what you see? My mother stood behind her words, though, and declared our eyes could play tricks on us. This was lightyears before the advent of Photoshop and I wonder if she had an inkling what the future would hold.

Recently I received an email with a slide show of Warsaw Ghetto pictures in honor of Holocaust Day. Interspersed with the sobering photos was a headline from the May 10th, 1943 New York Times proclaiming Warsaw Ghetto Uprising An Over-Reaction: European Leaders Blame Jews For Disproportionate Response. For a few minutes I fell for it and indignantly decided to write an article about the injustice of the world. Thankfully a quick search on the internet showed me that the headline was nothing more than a hoax. Had some Holocaust denier slipped it into the clip to discredit all the pictures? Or had a fool fallen for the lie?

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Miracles

The Kotel Plaza


Last Friday, right after Holocaust Remembrance Day, I met someone I know at the Kotel. Her arm with its blue tattoo held tight to her cane. Her other arm was supported by her daughter who guided her to a seat. Despite her age she held her head regally and I imagine she was full of pride. For she’d come to the Kotel to celebrate another milestone. Her not-quite thirteen-year-old great-grandson was putting on his tefillin for the very first time.  When she was liberated from Auschwitz seventy-three years ago I’m sure she never thought she’d would one day see four generations of her family living in the Jewish state and serving HaShem faithfully.

My neighbor’s parents also survived the Holocaust. When they died, well into their nineties, they left behind one hundred grandchildren. Those grandchildren learn in yeshivas, give years of their lives to the army and national service, and are integral citizens of the Holy Land.  What a sweet revenge on Hitler.

Every time I look into the mirror I can see another miracle. Not only did my father and his family escape Nazi Germany, allowing me to exist, I also managed to stay Jewish despite the fact I grew up in the middle of the Bible Belt. If that wasn’t enough of a wonder, I managed to move to the heartland of Israel and raise an observant, Israeli family.

I know one can see miracles everywhere but I think they’re more visible in the Jewish Homeland. For how can we possibly explain how such a tiny country, surrounded by enemies and constantly condemned, can have not just grown, but thrived? Israelis are leaders in medicine, technology, agriculture and more.

Most of all, though, we’re experts in survival. As we enter our seventieth year as an independent nation no one can deny the marvel of our existence. We may have to deal with war, terror, and other problems, but we are here to stay.  For I believe, with perfect faith, that HaShem will continue to assure our existence until He sends us the most perfect miracle and our Redeemer will come. I’m so thankful that He has allowed me to live here and give my descendants a front row seat for the most major miracle of all.
  

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

If you missed this last year


courtesy of jjcjax.org

There were many silent heroes during the Shoah. Among them was Felix Zandman, z’l. Within his vast accomplishment he founded the company, Vishay. Our family business has worked with Vishay for twenty years. After seeing the documentary of Mr. Zandman’s life I am very proud of that connection.  The movie, an hour long, can be viewed athttps://vimeo.com/127819629 . It’s a worthwhile way to spend an hour on Holocaust Remembrance Day or any day of the year.

Temper Tantrums

courtesy of ravenfoundation.org


According to my mother, may she rest in peace, I only threw a temper tantrum once when I was a child. She and my father were on their way to Friday evening services at their Reform Temple. Apparently I hadn’t behaved well the week before and they’d hired a babysitter to take care of me. I hadn’t liked that idea at all and as they were leaving I collapsed face down in front of the door with my legs kicking and fists beating the carpet. My parents ignored my outburst as they stepped over me leaving me, their wailing child, to the ministrations of the poor sitter.