Thursday, February 18, 2016


“Go take a shower,” I instructed my fourteen-year-old son after hugging and welcoming him home. “Then take the comb and check your hair.”

“No,” he shook his head. “You don’t understand. I was in the new wing of the prison. They opened it special for us. My mattress and blanket were brand new. I tore the plastic off them.”

What a relief! At least we wouldn’t have to worry about lice. I studied my son carefully. He looked exhausted and in need of some tender loving care.

This happened in the spring of 2005. Then Prime-Minister Arik Sharon, along with his Deputy Minister Ehud Olmert, had pushed through the acceptance of what they called The Disengagement Plan. We called their plot to evict all the Jewish residents of Gush Katif, located in the Gaza Strip, The Expulsion Plan, and there were numerous protests against it.

That week many of us had taken to the highways and using lessons learned from Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. we blocked roads with our bodies. My son was among the dozens arrested and spent two nights in Maasiyahu Prison located in Ramle. Since then there have been other protesters blocking roads for various causes but few, if any, precipitated any arrest and incarceration.

At that time I resented Sharon and Olmert for trying to make my son and the others into criminals. And now, eleven years later Sharon is dead and Olmert, convicted of corruption, has moved into the once-new section of the Maasiyahu Prison.
 Maasiyahu Prison courtesy of

When we enter the month of Adar we declare our joy increases. That is because we anticipate the happy holiday of Purim. Much of our elation comes from the upside-down aspect of the story. Haman planned to annihilate the Jews and, instead, he was hung on the gallows he’d prepared for Mordechai who took over Haman’s position as prime minister to Ahasuerus.

Now that we’re already a week into the first* month of Adar I cannot help thinking of the upside –down facet of Megillat Esther. Mr. Olmert has fallen; maybe not as hard as Haman fell, but he took a big tumble. Unlike Haman, though, Mr. Olmert is a fellow Jew, not part of the nation of Amalek who wants to destroy us. Therefore I must not rejoice in his downfall.

Rather, I can hope that he uses his jail time for self-introspection and repentance.  I can pray that he, and all the other corrupt leaders, turn upside-down and become responsible servants of the public. While I’m at it I can pray for the Moshiach and look forward eagerly to when everything will be turned upside down. War to Peace, Sickness to Health, Hunger to Satiety, Darkness to Light, Diaspora to Gathering of the Exiles.

May my prayer be answered soon!

*In leap years there are two months of Adar

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