Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Traffic Jam in Shilo

Shilo, with its population of only about four thousand, almost never has a traffic jam. Yesterday morning was out of the ordinary, though. Two policemen, a border police, and a guard were doing their best to keep traffic moving at the entrance of our village, but it wasn’t flowing. Hordes of parents were converging on the school, just opposite the Shilo entrance, keen to deliver their children back to the classroom after a two-month-long vacation. Was I thankful I’d come by foot!
Even though I have no children going to school I was determined to greet my grandson as he entered first grade. He was excited and eager, dressed nicely with a white shirt and the new shoes I’d bought for him.  We exchanged kisses and the ceremony began. There were several speeches and since they were geared to six and seven-year-olds they weren’t too long or boring. Then the music started and with it my tears.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Three Strikes and You’re Out

August 21st  in 1993 fell out on Shabbat and it was a Shabbat I think I’ll always remember. Our oldest daughter was going away to high school and her school invited all the girls’ families to come for the weekend. They housed us in the junior and senior dormitories which were not the least bit luxurious. Still, the grounds were lovely, the food plentiful, and the warmth of the staff made it possible, once Shabbat was over, to leave our daughter, feeling she was in good hands.

Following Shabbat we packed up our belongings, gathered up our younger children, got into our cars, and turned on the radio to make sure all was all right in the world. It was not.

Monday, August 17, 2015


“Oh no, not a good sign,” my husband announced.

He was referring to the three cars double parked in The Old City of Jerusalem, on the street right before the entrance to the Jewish Quarter. I bit my lip in consternation. Had we been totally foolish to come on the morning of the first day of the month of Elul?

“Maybe someone will be leaving as we drive by,” he ventured hopefully.

“Maybe,” I agreed, but as he snaked down the hill and made a right turn by Dung Gate we saw that not only were there no empty spots, several cars were parked illegally.

Monday, August 3, 2015


On the first day of Chanukah it will be twenty-two years since my husband was stopped by the army on his way down the Shilo hill to work.

“We’re looking for a man with a beard and a dog,” they told him.

My husband had a beard and next to him on the floor of the car was our pet dog, Moochie. The soldiers looked at him and then looked at Moochie.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mother, May I

When I made Aliyah twenty-five years ago I became a citizen of Israel but that didn’t mean I became an Israeli. That transformation came about slowly with a series of steps. Some of those steps were baby steps like the first time we went to a parent-teacher’s conference and had to use our rudimentary conversational Hebrew to communicate. Then there were giant steps, such as the two weeks my son spent in the hospital, unable to walk, and we began to understand the Israeli medical system.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Times Have Changed

In the autumn of 1974 my cousin was living her dream. Learning Hebrew in a Haifa ulpan she met the man she would marry. Life was good and then she discovered a lump in her breast. A visit to the doctor confirmed her suspicion that the mass needed to be dealt with.

“We can do a biopsy in March,” he told her.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Ignorance Kills

Last Friday afternoon there was a horrific car accident on the highway some twenty minutes from my home. The roads were closed and traffic was rerouted. Slowly word wafted in that the accident had been between two cars driven by Arabs. Several were dead. Who was on hand to aid the victims and help the survivors? Israeli soldiers and emergency workers. I wonder if anyone living outside Israel heard that story.