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.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Four Questions


Who doesn’t remember the first time they asked the Four Questions? I certainly do. It was at my grandparents’ Seder in Oklahoma. For a couple of minutes I was the star as I stumbled through the unfamiliar Hebrew words.  Being that I was always the only child at their Seder my chance at stardom lasted quite a few years, up until my grandfather was bedridden in an old age home. Then the venue of the Seder changed to my home in Kansas and many of my mother’s side of the family joined in. I was replaced and my younger cousins became the stars. If I remember correctly I wasn’t jealous.  I’d had my years of glory and, anyway, the little ones were so cute.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

When I Stood Up to a Bully



It was fifty-nine years ago and I was in kindergarten. Usually I either walked home from school with the neighbor kids or, if the weather was bad, one of our mothers would pick us up. Sometimes, though, I’d find myself walking home alone and then I’d be afraid to pass the house at the other end of the block where Billy (not his real name) lived. For Billy was a four-year-old bully.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

I'm a Criminal?!?


When I was a teenager growing up in Wichita, Kansas my mother had a nagging worry that I would be arrested. Not for smoking marijuana, drag racing, or shoplifting since I never did any of those things. Her concern was that I’d be nabbed for something far more innocuous, namely wading in the fountain at the downtown civic center. My friends and I had discovered it was an illegal act and in the wisdom of adolescence decided the law was absurd and should be changed. I don’t remember if we ever really did stick our toes in the municipal water. I do know that we were never apprehended for such a deed.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

What a Blessing


From the neck down my body was encased in a metal tube. Behind me were all sorts of controls. Above me was the sound of grinding. Despite the noise I could not put my hands over my ears. I couldn’t even scratch my nose. For I’d been told that even the slightest movement was forbidden. No, I was not held captive by some sadist. Nor was I a bit player in a science–fiction movie. Rather, I was submitting to torture so my doctor could diagnose the lump in my thumb.