Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Another Memory From the Six Day War** In Honor of Shavuot

Forty-eight years have passed since the war in which the tiny state of Israel, only nineteen years in existence, fought yet another war of survival and came out the victor. The country’s inhabitants not been pushed into the sea as was threatened. Instead they’d reclaimed much of their Biblical lands. Although I was a young girl living in America then and far from any of the action, many of my contemporaries were smack-dab in the middle of the fight. I find their memories fascinating.

“What do I remember about the Six-Day War,” Ilana answered my question. “Not all that much. I was only in sixth grade.”

She was silent for a few moments lost in thought and then began reminiscing.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Please Pray for Aryeh Ben Rina.

It was almost eleven years ago and one of the happiest moments of my life.  My son was becoming engaged and we were on our way to Elkana to meet his bride-to-be’s parents. We were nervous. We were excited. And we were impatient to get there. It had been over ten years since we’d driven by Elkana on our way to the coast, over ten years since the Oslo Accords were signed. Over ten years since it was determined that parts of Israel would be closed to Jewish travelers. A bypass road was built and instead of driving straight to Elkana via Biddya, and other Arab villages we had to use the Shomron Highway, go past Elkana, and then fork back to arrive there. It took maybe an extra fifteen minutes but when one is impatient every minute can seem like hours.
Just this past Thursday, May 15th, a crowd was standing at a bus stop on Route 367 at the entrance of Alon Shvut. That’s the same bus stop where Gilad, Naftali, and Eyal, Hy’d, were abducted last summer. It‘s also the same site that Dalia Lemkus, Hy’d, was standing the past November when an Arab terrorist stabbed her to death. Thursday an Arab terrorist, no doubt inspired by similar recent attacks in Jerusalem, ploughed his car into the crowd at the bus stop. Most standing there were students on their way home from school for the weekend. Four were injured, one of them, Aryeh Ben Rina, seriously.  I am not acquainted with Aryeh Ben Rina and only know that he learns at Yeshivat Har Etzion. Still, I pray for his full recovery.

In reaction to the attack there were calls to close the road to Arab travelers. As sensible as that sounds to me I doubt it will happen. The powers to be in Israel are too worried about condemnation from the world. I, as a Jew, can be barred from using certain highways in Israel but our politicians tend to see the reverse as too controversial. They seem to forget that forty-eight years ago the world did nothing to stop the amassing Arab armies bent on destroying the tiny state of Israel.  At that time our leaders bravely did what needed to be done and HaShem made miracle after miracle for us.

We need to remember that there is no logic to anti-Semitism. The same people who condemn Jews for walking to their death like sheep to the slaughter during the Holocaust also condemn Israel for defending itself. Now, for better or worse, we have a new government. I pray that this government will be the one to finally stop worrying about world opinion, begin trusting HaShem, see all His miracles, and do what’s right for Israel. Please join me in my prayers. And please pray for Aryeh Ben Rina.

from timesofisrael.com

Friday, May 8, 2015

Who Knew?

Springtime in Kansas is tornado season. It is also the time, at least when I was growing up, long before home videos were even thought of, that The Wizard of Oz, aired on TV. Every spring, I’d eagerly look for to the Sunday evening it would be shown. My mother, father, and I would gather in our family room ready to be enchanted, once again, by the classic American fairy tale. And every year, as Dorothy would sing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, my mother would cry.

Her tears, she always told me, were for Judy Garland and for the mess she’d made of her life. Perhaps, though, she was crying for something much deeper, something she didn’t even realize, as expressed in the following article a friend sent me. Unfortunately, I don’t know who wrote the article but it is certainly worth passing on.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Taken for a Ride

Normally I try to avoid taking taxis and stick to buses. Not only do I not like to spend the extra money I never know what kind of driver I’m going to get. I have had some pleasant experiences, like with the driver who offered a piece of his birthday cake or the one who discovered I was friends with his relative, but I’ve also met some dishonest cabbies. So when I was recently late for an appointment I warily flagged down a cab.

Once I settled in the back seat of the car the driver proceeded to sit still in traffic. It wasn’t his fault. That’s the way it can happen in Jerusalem. I told him I was running late and suggested an alternate route. He agreed it was a good idea and made a turn as soon as he could. Besides that we didn’t converse. It was peacefully quiet in the taxi until his cell phone rang.

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.