Wednesday, July 27, 2016

No Regrets


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The Bar Mitzvah boy finished the Torah reading and accepted a mazel tov from his teacher. Full of satisfaction, he barely noticed the children at his feet. They were scrambling on the ground for the candies that his wife, daughters, granddaughters, and their friends showered down upon him. At age eighty-three Les Brem, after a long journey, had finally had his Bar Mitzvah.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Thirty Years in Israel

What can I write that I haven’t already written? That there isn’t a day that I don’t thank HaShem for bringing me here to live. That I’m constantly overcome with gratitude to Him for letting me stay. That I feel bad for all the Jews who haven’t taken advantage of the chance to come live in their homeland.

Sometimes I’m obnoxiously smug about the fact that I live in The Holy Land. Other times I’m officiously defensive about how good life is here. Occasionally relatives or friends, still living in America, remind me of all the wars and terror attacks we’ve lived through here.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

A Mother’s Plea

On June 30th, the last day of school for many Israeli children, Rena Ariel stood in the entrance to the Shaare Zedek Emergency Room. Behind her was the portrait of Dr. David Applebaum, hy’d, who, along with his daughter, Nava, hy’d, was murdered by a suicide bomber on the eve of Nava’s wedding thirteen years earlier. With a voice full of pain Rena described how a sixteen-year-old terrorist had entered Hallel Yaffa’s bedroom and murdered her thirteen-year-old daughter while she was peacefully sleeping. Rena’s voice then held a plea, a plea for all to come comfort and strengthen them in their home, to show that Kiryat Arba is a place to live and not die.
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Her words went straight to my heart and I resolved to find a way to make a shiva* call. It wasn’t going to be easy. At best, Kiryat Arba is a two hour drive from Shilo by way of Jerusalem in a car. By public transportation, well, that was an option I didn’t want to consider. And I didn’t have to. A neighbor posted a message on the community emails that she would be going and happy to have passengers join her. I signed up.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

To Be a Pioneer

As a child my fantasy was to go back in time and be a pioneer. Nothing, I was certain, could be more romantic than wearing a calico sunbonnet and crossing the Great Plains in a covered wagon. Sometime around adolescence, though, reality set in. I began to see the advantages of air-conditioning and running water.

Lately I haven’t been able to take the gift of running water for granted. For the past three weeks we, in Shilo, have been plagued with numerous surprise water outages, some of them lasting as long as eight hours. Sorrowfully, we’re not alone with our problem. It’s plaguing communities all over the Shomron, both Israeli and Arab.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Sin of the Spies: Reprinted in Honor of My Father

Every year as we read the Torah portion, Shelach Lacha, which deals with the Sin of the Spies*, I am amazed from anew that Jews from all over the world hear the verses with their ears and not with their hearts.  They listen to the words of Joshua and Calev, “The Land that we passed through to spy, the Land is very, very good. If HaShem desires us, He will bring us to the Land, give to us a Land that flows with milk and honey” (Numbers, Chapter 14, verses 7 and 8). No matter how many times they hear this, many Jews living outside of Israel remain unmotivated to come to that Land that is figuratively flowing with milk and honey. Somehow, my husband and I were among those who were blessed to hear the significance of Shelach Lecha.  We moved to Israel and I am thankful that we did so.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

An open letter to The Women of the Wall:

When you look at the picture of me garbed as a traditionally Orthodox Jewish woman no doubt you think you have very little in common with me.  That, however, is a mistake. I share with you the love of my Jewishness and a desire to draw closer to the Almighty. I, too, am pulled to the Kotel and consider my weekly prayers there among the best of my conversations with my Maker.

Not only that, at one time I proudly read from a Torah scroll. It wasn’t at the Kotel but rather at the reform temple where I grew up. A child of the congregation I shocked the members when, as a teenager, I insisted on having a turn to hold and dance with the Torah on Simchat Torah, just like the men.

Thursday, June 9, 2016


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Startled by the loud banging at her door in Moshav Yad Naftali Yael dropped her pins. She groaned as she looked at them scattered by her feet. Gathering them up would slow her down and she needed to have the dress finished for a ten o’clock pick-up. As the banging continued she abandoned the pins. The last thing she needed was for the children to wake up. That would slow her down even more. And her husband was out at an important meeting so he wouldn’t be able to help settle them down again. She half-ran to the door and as she opened it she gasped in alarm. There stood the rabbi, the nurse, and the local social worker, an ominous gathering. With one hand she clutched her heart; with the other she tried to slam the door closed, but the rabbi had already inserted his foot.