Thursday, June 14, 2018

How I Blew My Teaching Career

Growing up in the sixties I, along with my peers, were inundated with rules in school. We had to raise our hands and wait to be called on before we could speak in class. When the recess bell rang there was no such thing as rushing out of the classroom onto the playground. Under no circumstances could we run in the hallways. Rather we had to walk in straight lines and square our corners.  The biggest rule of all, though, was how we addressed our teachers. It was always Mrs. or Miss or occasionally even Mr. with the last name added. We were never, ever allowed to call them “Teacher”. They had a name and it was disrespectful not to use it.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Who Knew? reposted in honor of my mother's eighteenth yahrzeit

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.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

“Soldier critically injured after block dropped from building”

courtesy of

I was saddened by the headline that appeared Thursday knowing that the soldier was someone’s son, probably a brother, perhaps a husband, sweetheart, or father, certainly a friend. Somewhere in Israel there were people in pain, hoping and praying for his recovery. Those were my thoughts and then I went on with my day.  

Later in the afternoon, though, I received an email on the Shilo list urging all of us to pray for this soldier, Ronen Ben Elna. The tragedy was coming a little closer. One of my neighbors had some connection to the young man.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

A Book Review

Title: Growing With My Cousin
By Dvora Waysman - 
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Photo Credit: Mosaica Press
Title: Growing With My Cousin
Author: Ester Katz Silvers
Publisher: Mosaica Press
Sub-titled “A Tale of Love, Life and Land,” this is a novel of journeys – transitional ones from secular lifestyles to Jewish observance and Orthodoxy; physical ones – changing communities in Middle America; to pilot trips to Israel; and eventually to uplifting aliyah with its challenges, hardships and ultimate rewards.
Basically, it’s the story of a family with its many branches and personalities. It centers on two cousins – Sondra and Lisa – soul mates in some ways and very different in others. We visit American cities like Phoenix, Atlanta and Kansas; and Israeli cities and a tiny fictional settlement – Kfar Yonatan, and learn of their Jewish communities and how they cope with adversity, sacrifice and common goals that bind them together.
One thinks of family as an all-embracing sanctuary – a safe haven and a refuge from the outside world. But this is rarely the case. A family needs the loving input of all its members to make it work. Life throws many obstacles in the way, and not every member is willing or able to overcome them.
The biggest crisis in the book occurs when Lisa’s Israeli husband, Kobi, mysteriously disappears, leaving her with a young son and pregnant with a second child. She is faced with terrifying questions: was he kidnapped or murdered? Was he involved in a terrible accident? Or did he simply abandon her to start a new life with someone else in a different place? The answer only comes near the end of the book.
The author, Ester Katz Silvers, like her characters began life in small-town America and has lived in Israel for more than thirty years – in Shiloh, where the Mishkan (Tabernacle) rested for hundreds of years before King David brought it to Jerusalem. A mother of seven, now all married with children of their own, she understands the nuances of life in a small Israeli settlement, and conveys them realistically for her readers. It is a wide-ranging family with aunts and uncles and in-laws as well as cousins, some beloved but inevitably some who are difficult to deal with. It is also a story of emotional growth and commitment to Torah; of struggles to succeed among many characters who readers will feel able to relate to; and the heart-warming, redemptive love that binds the two cousins throughout their lives.
The beautiful cover of sunflowers is a delight to the eyes and will enhance your bookshelf.

Growing With My Cousin can be ordered at:
bought at Jewish books stores

Thursday, May 17, 2018

It is My Prayer

It has to be part of the Divine plan that Jerusalem was reunited just a week before the Shavuot holiday fifty-one years ago. As I stood at the Kotel Plaza on Jerusalem Day, this past Sunday morning, I sensed the history of my people on my shoulders.

There were my grandparents and great-grandparents who recited Next year in Jerusalem but never really believed they would arrive here. There were the brave souls who managed to make it to the Holy Land and prayed in the tiny alley in front of the Kotel, forbidden to sit in a chair, have a mehitza*, or blow a shofar. There were the Jews who for nineteen years following the War of Independence could only try and catch a glimpse of the Kotel from the rooftops of buildings on what was then the Jordanian border. There were the paratroopers, along with Rabbi Goren, zt”l, who liberated the Wall in 1967, their faces filled with wonder as they looked up at the holy stones. And there were my Israeli-born friends who clearly remember walking to the Kotel on that very special Shavuot fifty-one years ago.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Who Can I Believe?

A Follow-up to my post of April 26th

It’s amazing how differently various journalists view the situation on the Gaza border. Some proclaim Israel is using disproportionate force against peaceful demonstrators. Others declare that there is nothing peaceful about the weekly rioters who try to storm the fence, hurl rocks, send incendiary kites, and use children as human shields. I have not been at the border. Nor do I plan to visit there in the near future. Therefore I cannot unequivocally state that the second group is correct and the first is using skewered reporting. However, my sympathies lean more to the second group. Is it just because I like their platform that I want to believe them?
courtesy of Ynet news

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Everyone Knows

Everyone knows you don’t leave a small child alone in the car. Except for when, fill in the blank with whatever excuse you can come up with. For me, it was because I’d left something inside the house. That happened thirty-eight years ago but I haven’t forgotten it because a near disaster occurred in those few minutes my children were left unsupervised.

Everyone knows one doesn’t go hiking in dry river beds when there’s flash flood warnings. Except for when, again fill in the blank with whatever excuse you can come up with. That’s what happened in Israel last week and we’ll never forget it because a horrifying disaster occurred. Ten promising, pre-army youths were drowned in raging waters.