Friday, February 17, 2017

Circle of Love

My daughter was crying when she called me almost a year ago. “Avinoam got his diagnosis. Now we know why he’s been dropping things and shaking and falling. He has ALS.”

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, causes the death of neurons controlling muscles and leads to difficulty in speaking, swallowing, and eventually breathing. I’d seen The Pride of the Yankees* and read Tuesdays with Morrie. Like my daughter, I understood that the prognosis for her husband’s friend wasn’t pretty.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

How Did the Manna Taste?

My father was about as old as I am now when my son asked him this question. His mouth opened wide in astonishment.

“How old do you think I am? You think I was alive when the Children of Israel wandered in the desert?”

“No,” my son was quite matter-of-fact. “But there was manna in the Holy Temple.”

Friday, February 3, 2017

Jews Don’t Expel Jews

courtesy of

At the end of the beloved musical Fiddler on the Roof the constable of Anatevka hands Tevye and his friends an order that states they must sell their homes and leave their village in three days. Understandably they react with horror but as one of the villagers reminds them, our forefathers have been forced out of many, many places at a moment’s notice.

Twelve years ago the eighth grade girls of Shilo chose Fiddler on the Roof for their class play. Only they made some minor changes. Tevye and his family didn’t move to America but rather to Israel. He relates the story of Anatevka to his youngest child who was born in the Holy Land.

“That’s so sad,” she tells her father at the end of the play. “Could it ever happen here?’

“No,” he shakes his head empathically. “Jews don’t expel Jews!”

Friday, January 27, 2017

The April Fools

That was the name of the movie my cousin and I went to on a Wednesday afternoon in the summer of 1969. The one theatre in my cousin’s small North Carolina town changed its films once a week. I don’t think we were expecting to see that particular movie but that’s what we got.
courtesy of
It was a romantic comedy about a couple who met at a party and fell in love. There was a problem though; both of them were unhappily married to someone else. However, that didn’t prevent them from running off together. The movie ended with one of them sitting on board an airplane waiting for the other. It seemed as if he or she was being stood up. The tension was palpable as the audience rooted for the other one to make the flight. And yes, just as the doors to the plane were closing, the second half of the couple sat down in the vacant seat.  We breathed a sigh of relief as the aircraft soared high and they went off into the sunset to commit adultery.

Friday, January 20, 2017

One Hundred Year War

When did I study the Hundred Year War? Junior high, high school, college? Not only do I not remember when I learned about it, I also don’t remember at all what I learned.  All except the name and the impression it made on me.
courtesy of

Friday, January 13, 2017

Nachul Amud: A Site in Israel

Probably every healthy couple has moments where one looks at the other and wonders why in the world they have stayed married. I know my husband and I have had several. The one I remember most happened in the bottom of a canyon twenty-seven years ago.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Dream Abandoned: In honor of the fast of the Tenth of Tevet that marks the siege of Jerusalem when the first Holy Temple was destroyed as well as a day of remembrance for those who were murdered in the Holocaust.

As a girl I longed to visit Europe. Heidi’s Alps, Hans Christian Anderson’s Denmark, Gigi’s Paris, and Holland of The Winged Watchman had all captured my imagination. How I wanted to see them with my own eyes! Then I learned more and more Jewish history. My desire waned. There was just one place I hadn’t given up on and that was Jesberg, Germany.

A small village, about an hour’s drive from Frankfort, it wasn’t a tourist spot. My sole desire to go there was because it was the birthplace of my father and his home until 1937 when he fled the Nazis at age seventeen. Pictures and stories of his life there only whetted my appetite to see Jesberg.
The Synagogue in Jesberg with my father and his cousin, Jack, circa 1944