Monday, September 18, 2017

Losing Weight

courtesy of 

“Do you want to play cards with me?”

That was the question my child asked one of our Shabbat guests many years ago. She, I’ll call her Bracha, considered his suggestion and shook her head. As she did so I seethed with annoyance. Bracha hadn’t gone to Friday night services and she wasn’t looking over the Torah portion. She didn’t want to nap nor did she ask me if I needed help getting the meal ready. Would it have been so difficult to take ten minutes or so to entertain one of my children?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Like Every Year: Sensible Suggestions for High Holy Day Preparations (please share with new parents)


One of the saddest sounds, in my opinion, is that of a mother irritably shushing her toddler while in the synagogue for High Holiday services. Babies learn communication by gurgling, cooing, and laughing and this should not be inhibited. On the other hand, most women go to services to concentrate on their prayers. Why should they be distracted by adorable, sociable little beings? On Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur young mothers feel the need to pray with the community so they bring their children with them. Those youngsters make noise, other women are annoyed, the mothers impatiently quiet the children, the children decide the synagogue is not a welcoming place, and the mothers are not really able to pray. There has to be a better solution.

Monday, September 4, 2017

With the Help of HaShem

Man Plans and G-d Laughs
Many, myself included, glibly recite this Yiddish expression without giving the words much thought. This past week, though, I did think about them and I don’t like them at all. They seem to imply that there’s a Supreme Being who maliciously enjoys thwarting our dreams. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Sometimes It’s Hard To Be So Far Away

          These are the words of Lisa, one of the characters in my new novel, Growing With My Cousin, which should be released this winter. She says them at her dinner table to her husband in Israel after telling him that her grandmother had just died in America. I no longer have a living grandmother and no one has just died but I totally understand Lisa’s emotions.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Many,Many Cakes

Six and a half years ago my son and daughter-in-law found a cake waiting for them on their doorstep. Attached to it was a supportive note* that subsequently hung on my refrigerator for months. The impetus for that cake was the grisly murders of their neighbors, Rut and Udi Fogel and three of the Fogel children, Yoav, Elad, and baby Hadas in Itamar. The cake and other similar expressions of support made my family understand that they were not alone in their grief. So when the email recently went out on the Shilo list offering to take gifts to the people of Neve Tzuf I didn’t hesitate to prepare a cake tray.

Monday, August 7, 2017

In Honor of Tu B'Av

Tu B'Av: Written Six years Earlier
courtesy of

Among the many reasons we chose to make Shilo our home was the agricultural connection that the community had. When we first came twenty-four years ago there were several herds of sheep, a number of fruit orchards, and it was not unusual to hear chickens clucking in neighbour’s gardens. A few years later the planting of the grapes began. 
Now about a half a dozen Shilo families own and are responsible for their vineyards. Even an American family, who wants to have a share in the Torah laws applicable to working the Land of Israel, owns a grove. Fifteen years ago the family hired a manager to clear the land and set up the irrigation system. After working for two weeks, he hired ten teenagers to do the planting and my oldest daughter was among them. She remembers getting up early in the morning, something she usually avoided, dressing in old clothing, and spending three hours planting the 5,000 seedlings. It was hard work and the pay was minimum. Still, she has fond memories of her experience.

She also remembers how that vineyard was almost destroyed shortly after the planting. One Friday morning in August carloads of Arabs, accompanied by their reporters and cameramen, came to the fields to burn the plants and cut the pipes. Evidently they wanted a story on Arab land being stolen by Jewish settlers. That land belonged to Shilo, though, and before the grapes were planted it had been barren of anything save rocks and thorns.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Who Runs the World?

My last post, The Temple Mount, ended with a number of prayers. Some were answered as I desired and some were not.  I cannot complain, though. Even Moshe, our greatest prophet, was refused when he prayed to be allowed to enter the Land of Israel. And so I must believe that Hashem has His plan when He acts in ways I do not understand.