Monday, February 8, 2016

Dealing With the Hand You Are Dealt

courtesy of

“No,” I snapped. “I don’t want to play cards.”

“Just one game of gin rummy,” Ron* coaxed.

I shook my head. I wanted nothing to do with Ron or his wife or his daughter or anyone else in the room besides, of course, my son. He, my son, had been in that six-bed hospital ward already for nine days, not counting Shabbat out for good behavior. It had been nine days since the blood test had shown his infection rate was sky high, more than nine days that  he‘d complained about being in pain whenever he walked. Nine days of him only leaving his hospital bed in a wheelchair.  Nine days of doctors shaking their heads and suggesting more and more tests.

Monday, February 1, 2016

This is What I’ve Wanted All My Life

courtesy of

So spoke my son when he unwrapped the Popeye shirt my parents had given him. Only four-years-old “all his life” had not been a very long time but his grandparents certainly enjoyed his enthusiasm. They’d always been creative gift-givers. Almost ten years earlier they’d given me a present that I’d also been wanting all my life. Well, at least since the Six Day War five years earlier. In 1972, at the age of eighteen, they presented me with a trip to Israel.

It was a seven-week vacation filled with travelling and hiking, sightseeing and working, learning and growing.  During the last couple of days the organizers decided it was time for some serious workshops. Although usually a good student, I cannot tell you anything about those sessions except that I was hot and tired and more focused  on buying presents to take home than anything the lecturers were telling me. What I do remember was the trip to Jericho we took at the end. The goal of that outing, I assume, was to illustrate some of the many facts we’d been presented with.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Too Much Early Morning Cheerfulness

When I was a university student I shared a house with five other coeds. Actually the house was made for a family of three but with creativity we were able to squeeze the six of us inside. Curtains changed the dining room into a bedroom and more curtains made the loft into a room for two, me and my roommate. Amazingly, all of us usually managed to cope with each other’s different habits, schedules, and idiosyncrasies until the morning my roommate began raving at me.  
“I can’t take any more of your early morning cheerfulness,” she cried in frustration. The other four fully agreed with her and from then on I tried curb my enthusiasm for life until after noon.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Reach Out and Touch Someone

When I was living in America, some thirty years ago, AT&T had commercials that never failed to bring tears to my eyes. Whether it was the grandparents hearing their grandchild say his first word over the phone, the homesick college student calling his house, or the city dwellers dialing the farm down home, I’d choke up seeing such strong emotions expressed over the long distance wire.
AT&T coomercial courtesy of Youtube

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Thoughts of a Libra

In 1933, on the day Hitler became chancellor, my then twelve-year-old father, came home from school to find his mother crying. Already then my grandmother knew the Jews of Germany were doomed and she resolved to take her family to America. That wasn’t an easy resolve. The quota system was firmly in place and the American State Department had no sympathy for Jewish refugees.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Another Good Reason to Make Aliyah reprinted from 2012

“So, are you all ready for the holiday?” The man in the hospital elevator was full of December good cheer.
“As ready as I’ll ever be. How about you?” My mother answered from her wheelchair.
Standing behind her, my mouth dropped open in amazement. What an excellent answer. Totally true, without explaining that she was Jewish and did not celebrate Xmas, my mother had returned the stranger’s goodwill. I should not have been surprised. Having spent almost her whole life in Kansas, center of the Bible Belt, she had had many years to perfect her answer. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Stubborn and Stiff-necked

We were newlyweds in Phoenix, Arizona when my husband started a fledging scrap iron business. In the beginning he had only one employee whom I will call Bob Roberts. To say that Bob took advantage of my spouse’s goodwill and inexperience would be an understatement.  He was notorious for missing work and would come up with the most outlandish excuses for his absences. Truth was that the real reason he didn’t show up was that he was too hungover to get out of bed. His most notorious explanation was that he’d been in an iron lung the day before and unable to get to a pay phone to call his boss.

That was the excuse that broke the camel’s back. My husband fired Bob. This happened on December 23rd and Bob did not take his dismissal kindly. He complained that his holiday would be ruined because, without a job, he’d have to cancel the layaway present for his wife. The holiday came and went but the abusive calls my husband received at work didn’t stop. And then Bob called our house phone. “Hitler didn’t get enough of you,” he declared.