Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My Coping Skills

On Wednesday, November 19th, the day following the synagogue massacre in Jerusalem, there was a news headline that announced Police Make it Official: Intifada 2014. No one needed a PhD in political science or criminology to understand that here in Israel we’re in the midst of another Intifada. Just walking down the street and seeing pedestrians tense whenever there’s any suggestion of unusual noise is enough of a clue. We seem to be back in the mind set of dreading to hear the news but at the same time not being able to ignore it. We’re beginning to instruct our loved ones to call us as soon as they get there. And we’re weighing carefully whether it’s even worth it to try and get there. All signs that life is not as normal as we’d like it to be.  

Thursday, November 20, 2014

That This Prayer Will Be Answered

Following a terror attack there are usually rhetoric and opinions galore. This week’s assault on a Har Nof synagogue leaving four worshipers and a policeman murdered was no exception. People can make the most extreme statements when they’re dealing with such horror and shock.  To me, some of those statements made perfect sense, like the suggestion to ban all Muslims from the Temple Mount until the terror ceases. I also agree with the calls for CNN to dismiss the reporter who broke the story of the synagogue massacre with the headline, Police Shot, Killed Two Palestinians. And I fully support Rabbi Ronsky, former head rabbi of the IDF, when he states that when Jews are murdered while praying, it is important to unite and not divide.

There are other comments, though, that leave me troubled. Right after the butchery a witness on the street spoke to a reporter. He was quoted as saying, "This is a yeshiva community. Ninety percent don't serve in the army. We're not violent," I have no idea if he was misquoted or if his words were taken out of context. However, the implications of his words are an anathema to me.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Paying for the Chupah: sequel to the short story Praying for a Chupah (July 2011)

My last three posts have dealt with the on-going terror in Israel and I was determined to post something fun this week. I haven’t wavered from my resolution but in light of the gruesome murders in the Jerusalem synagogue this morning I beg all my readers to pray for the wounded*.
It was happening. It was finally happening. Tirza felt like a character in a romance novel, pinching herself to make sure she wasn’t dreaming. But the batch of brownies she was pulling out of the oven smelled too delicious to be a dream. Neither was her sparkling clean house. As she arranged the already cooled marzipan bars on her grandmother’s china plate she hummed happily to herself. Tonight they were going to meet Gavriel’s parents. Tonight, with HaShem’s help, Bracha would finally become a kallah. Tonight, at last, Tirza would be able to hold her head up and no longer think everyone was feeling sorry for her since she had three children in their mid-twenties and no one was even close to becoming engaged. Oh, she couldn’t wait to drink the l’chaim and then begin calling everyone.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

We Don't Have Another Land

Everything moved to slow motion Monday afternoon when the news broke of yet another murder, this time at a bus stop in Gush Etzion. The frivolous activities I had planned were forgotten. The phone calls I needed to make were postponed. For how could I know who was connected to this newest victim of Arab terror? I kept abandoning my necessary tasks to click on the computer screen. Had the news released the name yet? Was there an email with information about the young woman? Soon enough I learned enough details. Dalia Lemkos, age twenty-six, a physical therapist who was known for her love of children and continuous giving, was stabbed to death by a convicted Arab terrorist, who’d been released in a goodwill gesture made when Israel bowed to American pressure.     
Dalia Lemkos H'YD 
I felt numb. Then I felt angry. Underlining it all was a feeling of dread.

“We got through this before. We’ll get through this again,” My husband told me. “I don’t know how we did, but we did.”

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My Arab Knight

More than a quarter of a century ago I stood catty-cornered from Ammunition Hill waiting for a bus in Jerusalem. It was fall and we’d already begun reciting the prayers for rain. The previous year had seen a good rainfall so I wasn’t as anxious then, as I am now, for precipitation. In truth, at that point in time I rather preferred the sunny skies so I could keep on top of the constant laundry that needed to be hung to dry. That morning, without a cloud in the sky, I’d hung two loads, dressed in a light-weight, cotton dress, and headed to town without even a sweater. As I stood at the bus stop, though, the temperature dropped and dark clouds began rolling in. Before I knew it the skies opened and we were in the midst of a heavy downpour. I huddled in the corner of the covered bus stop with nothing to protect myself from the rain blowing in. An Arab teenager, probably about seventeen-years-old, pulled his jacket tighter around him and glanced at me. Without a word he moved closer, positioned himself in front of me, to keep me from getting wet, and stayed still until my bus arrived.    

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


In my private life last week I was at the height of thankfulness and joy. My daughter had given birth to a healthy, baby boy. New life is always a cause for celebration but this one was even more so. The baby’s older brother had spent the first eight weeks of his life in the neo-natal intensive care unit. Now, almost eight years and a number of operations later, he is, blessedly, a happy second-grader. Still, it was a relief to know that his brother would be able to go home from the hospital and have a normal start at life.

As a Jew living in Israel, though, I was overcome with sadness learning about the murder of little Chaya Zisel Braun, Hy”d, the same week.
To my knowledge, I do not know her family, but I know very well the spot where she was murdered. I cannot count the number of times I have stood at that same light rail station waiting for the train. I can only attempt to imagine the horror and grief the baby’s parents are having.

Monday, October 20, 2014

From Shakespeare to Rabbi Akiva

It was eighteen minutes past seven one sunny Monday morning when my ten-year-old son charged into the kitchen, his favorite pair of jeans in hand.

“Can you wash these for me quick?”

The bus for his long-awaited school trip was scheduled to leave in exactly twenty-seven minutes. 
Obviously the child had no understanding of the laundering process.

“We have a microwave oven, but they haven’t invented a microwave washing machine yet,” I answered calmly. “Go pick out another pair of pants.”