Monday, February 1, 2016

This is What I’ve Wanted All My Life

courtesy of

So spoke my son when he unwrapped the Popeye shirt my parents had given him. Only four-years-old “all his life” had not been a very long time but his grandparents certainly enjoyed his enthusiasm. They’d always been creative gift-givers. Almost ten years earlier they’d given me a present that I’d also been wanting all my life. Well, at least since the Six Day War five years earlier. In 1972, at the age of eighteen, they presented me with a trip to Israel.

It was a seven-week vacation filled with travelling and hiking, sightseeing and working, learning and growing.  During the last couple of days the organizers decided it was time for some serious workshops. Although usually a good student, I cannot tell you anything about those sessions except that I was hot and tired and more focused  on buying presents to take home than anything the lecturers were telling me. What I do remember was the trip to Jericho we took at the end. The goal of that outing, I assume, was to illustrate some of the many facts we’d been presented with.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Too Much Early Morning Cheerfulness

When I was a university student I shared a house with five other coeds. Actually the house was made for a family of three but with creativity we were able to squeeze the six of us inside. Curtains changed the dining room into a bedroom and more curtains made the loft into a room for two, me and my roommate. Amazingly, all of us usually managed to cope with each other’s different habits, schedules, and idiosyncrasies until the morning my roommate began raving at me.  
“I can’t take any more of your early morning cheerfulness,” she cried in frustration. The other four fully agreed with her and from then on I tried curb my enthusiasm for life until after noon.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Reach Out and Touch Someone

When I was living in America, some thirty years ago, AT&T had commercials that never failed to bring tears to my eyes. Whether it was the grandparents hearing their grandchild say his first word over the phone, the homesick college student calling his house, or the city dwellers dialing the farm down home, I’d choke up seeing such strong emotions expressed over the long distance wire.
AT&T coomercial courtesy of Youtube

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Thoughts of a Libra

In 1933, on the day Hitler became chancellor, my then twelve-year-old father, came home from school to find his mother crying. Already then my grandmother knew the Jews of Germany were doomed and she resolved to take her family to America. That wasn’t an easy resolve. The quota system was firmly in place and the American State Department had no sympathy for Jewish refugees.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Another Good Reason to Make Aliyah reprinted from 2012

“So, are you all ready for the holiday?” The man in the hospital elevator was full of December good cheer.
“As ready as I’ll ever be. How about you?” My mother answered from her wheelchair.
Standing behind her, my mouth dropped open in amazement. What an excellent answer. Totally true, without explaining that she was Jewish and did not celebrate Xmas, my mother had returned the stranger’s goodwill. I should not have been surprised. Having spent almost her whole life in Kansas, center of the Bible Belt, she had had many years to perfect her answer. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Stubborn and Stiff-necked

We were newlyweds in Phoenix, Arizona when my husband started a fledging scrap iron business. In the beginning he had only one employee whom I will call Bob Roberts. To say that Bob took advantage of my spouse’s goodwill and inexperience would be an understatement.  He was notorious for missing work and would come up with the most outlandish excuses for his absences. Truth was that the real reason he didn’t show up was that he was too hungover to get out of bed. His most notorious explanation was that he’d been in an iron lung the day before and unable to get to a pay phone to call his boss.

That was the excuse that broke the camel’s back. My husband fired Bob. This happened on December 23rd and Bob did not take his dismissal kindly. He complained that his holiday would be ruined because, without a job, he’d have to cancel the layaway present for his wife. The holiday came and went but the abusive calls my husband received at work didn’t stop. And then Bob called our house phone. “Hitler didn’t get enough of you,” he declared.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Being Lonely

Chanukah is over. Soon the menorahs will be cleaned and put away and most of us will return to our healthy diets. As I straightened up my grandchildren’s mess from Shabbat Chanukah I couldn’t help but remember the miserable Shabbat Chanukah I’d had a lifetime ago, when I was only nineteen-years-old.  I recalled how I’d been admitted into the university’s infirmary just before the first night of the holiday began. Confined to a hospital bed that Shabbat I’d tried not to feel sorry for myself but it was a difficult challenge.  Second degree burns down the front of me were painful*. The medication I was on made me weepy. And I was lonely, incredibly lonely.   

Unbeknown to me the head nurse had decreed on Friday morning that I should have no more student visitors as I was not resting enough. That ban even included my best friend and I couldn’t understand why he’d abandoned me.  There was no way that I could have known then that a little over a year later he and I would be married. I could have never dreamed that forty years afterwards my Shabbatot Chanukah would be so full of children and grandchildren that the only time I would be by myself would be when I was in the bathroom.

Like me in that hospital bed so many years ago, the nation of Israel is feeling indeed lonely today. BDS, UN condemnations, and the biased media reports leave us feeling as abandoned as I felt that Shabbat Chanukah in the infirmary.  Still, I know that the day will come, as we learn from the prophets, when the third and final Holy Temple will be rebuilt and, as it says in Zecharia, Hashem will be One and His name will be One. Then, as all the inhabitants of the world flock to Jerusalem to worship the true King, they will realize that the Jewish people were always the chosen nation. Gone will be the hate and censures. As nations beat their swords into plowshares we, the nation of Israel, will be as overwhelmed with support as I was this past Shabbat Chanukah with the joy of grandchildren.

It may not happen for forty days, forty weeks, forty months, forty years or even four hundred, but it will happen. I pray the time comes soon, speedily, in our days.

courtesy of 

*for more details see What Could Be Good About Second Degree Burns? From October 14th, 2012