Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Everything Really is For the Best: A Short Story


“You sure are impatient.”
Rachel gave the woman sitting next to her an annoyed glance. Taking in her flowing skirt, intricate head covering, and serene smile Rachel decided to ignore her seatmate but that wasn’t possible.
“The bus isn’t going to get there any faster no matter how many times you look at your watch,” the woman told her.
Rachel nodded impatiently, adjusted her hat, and addressed the other passengers. 
“What’s the problem? Is there an accident or what?”

Monday, June 15, 2015

In Honor of My Mother's Fifteenth Yahrzeit: Not In Kansas Anymore (First published in Aish.com, August, 2008)

Growing up in the sixties, I, like countless other youngsters, looked forward to that special Sunday evening every spring when The Wizard of Oz would be aired on television. I clearly remember the Monday mornings following the special viewings. No teacher would dare to teach a normal lesson without first allowing discussion time for the movie. I don't know if that happened in other schools across the country or only the ones in my state. We were special. Like Dorothy, Kansas was our home.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

It’s Been a Year


A year since the three boys were kidnapped
on their way home from school.
A year since we searched and prayed.
A year since we began realizing war was likely.
Last week we had air raid drills.
There were bombs on Ashkelon.
Soon it will be a year
since the boys were found murdered.
A year since the funerals.
And then a week later the war began.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Suspicious Objects


Yesterday, upon leaving the Kotel and heading towards the southern security checkpoint, my eyes caught sight of a battered, grey SpongeBob backpack, resting on the ground, all by itself.
Looking around I could not see a single person who might be its owner. Had someone forgotten it by mistake? Was it too heavy for its owner and the naïve tourist decided to leave for a while and pick it up later? Or was the innocent-looking bag actually holding an explosive device?

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.