Thursday, June 22, 2017

Joys of the Summer Swimming Pool

There are some days when there’s just so much to do and so little time to do it. Recently, when the weather was extremely hot, I was having one of those days. Probably the heat added to the tension and everything seemed to take so much longer than I’d thought it should. I’d promised myself a half an hour at the pool but as the morning wore on it seemed like a prudent idea to forget about my outing. Still, I looked at the calendar and realized there wasn’t going to be another time I could go to the pool that week. It was now or never.

Thursday, June 15, 2017


One moment I was at the top of the stairs and the next moment I was lying on the landing. My husband was the first to reach me. He helped me back up and the first thing I did was give my frightened grandson a hug of reassurance. Then I collapsed into my husband’s easy chair.  It was Friday afternoon, close to candle lighting, and once I’d lit my candles I spent most of that Shabbat in the easy chair. By the time we’d had Havdalah I was convinced I needed an X-ray of my ribs.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Rebuilding the Temple

It was July of 1967 and I was in Oklahoma staying with my cousin. She’d just celebrated her fourteenth birthday. I still had almost four months to wait for mine. The days were lazy but we were never bored. There were books to read, cousins to see, soap operas to watch, daily visits to my grandmother, outings to the municipal swimming pool, weekly excursion to the town’s one movie theatre, shopping in our great-uncle’s department store located in the one-block downtown, walks in the cow pasture, and endless conversations about almost everything. One afternoon an unexpected phone call caused an interesting stir.

Friday, June 2, 2017


courtesy of

In many ways it was a perfect vacation in America. For almost a week I slept in a cabin on the bank of a bubbling brook, picture postcard perfect. The rest of the time was spent with old friends and dear relatives. Still, there was something a little off, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I wasn’t truly homesick. My husband was at my side. My children and friends were a short text message away. What was I missing?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Fifth Commandment

courtesy of

 “Ellen!” The older woman excitedly cried out my secular name.

I was in the dairy aisle of a supermarket in Wichita and my mother was perched atop a motorized shopping cart. Technically she wasn’t disabled but due to emphysema walking and breathing at the same time didn’t work too well for her. The special carts were a godsend.  My father and I could enjoy walking along beside her as we searched out available kosher food.

“It’s so good to see you,” my mother’s friend beamed. “Your parents were so excited about your visit.”

Her words, said kindly, caused me to inwardly cringe. I could just imagine what she was really thinking.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Again: Memories of the Six Day War

Once Lag B’Omer comes the weddings begin. Two-thirds of the mourning period for Rabbi Akiva’s students is over and many rule the stringencies of remembrance can be relaxed. Forty-six years ago, though, the period after Lag B’Omer was anything but joyous for the Jews in Eretz Yisroel.
At that time I was thirteen-years-old living in Wichita, Kansas and the build-up to the Six Day War barely touched my untroubled life. Summer vacation had begun. The municipal swimming pool had opened. I was going to have a fun summer. One morning I came home from a sleep-over at my friend’s house to find my mother listening to my father’s transistor radio. She was crying and she was angry as she listened to an Arab leader proclaim that Allah would assist them in this Holy War to push the Jews of Israel into the sea. Some of her concern did penetrate my carefree existence but I did not feel threatened. The same could not be said for my contemporaries living across the ocean in Israel then.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Minding the Kids: A Short Story For Grandparents Only (any resemblance to persons alive or dead is purely coincidental)

courtesy of

“Guess what!” Sophia excitedly told her mother.

“What?” Mimi cradled the phone on her shoulder and continued sorting papers.

“Avi’s mother’s giving us the greatest present for his birthday. A long weekend in Greece!”

“Isn’t that nice,” Mimi exclaimed but inwardly she braced herself for what she was sure was coming.

“So we need to know when you can watch the kids.”

“Ah-ha,” Mimi said, but just to herself. Out loud she calmly stated, “Let me talk to Abba and I’ll get back to you.”