Everyone who has made Aliyah, leaving family behind, knows that sooner or later that The Phone Call will come. The Phone Call can come at any time: the middle-of-the night, early in the morning, just as the family is settling down to supper, or as everyone is running out of the house. It is the phone call that we all dread, the call telling us that a loved one in the Old Country is seriously sick, injured, going into emergency surgery, or, the worst-case scenario, already dead.Our first experience with The Phone Call happened twenty-one years ago on the fourth night of Chanukah. It was late evening. The candles in the menorah had long burned down and our latkes were a nice memory. The younger children were already sleeping and we were winding down for the night. And then the phone rang. It was my brother-in-law. He was not calling to wish us a happy holiday. Rather he had sad news. My father-in-law had passed away.
My husband, Avraham, had been blessed with a wonderful visit with his parents in Phoenix less than a month earlier. That did not mean he did not want to return to America to be with his mother and the rest of the family. Knowing that our parents were not in the best of health we always kept our passports up-to-date and in the house. We had an international credit card so that we could buy an airline ticket at a moment’s notice. All my husband needed was reservations, a little extra cash in case of emergency, and a ride to the airport. We moved into action.