My week began with a funeral. The deceased wasn’t a terror victim nor an injured soldier. He wasn’t a child or young parent felled by a cruel disease. This man was in his nineties and he died of old age. Normally our paths would never have crossed but my son married his granddaughter and we became family.
Born in Morocco, he worked in the king’s court as a tailor, but longed to move to the Holy Land. It was in his late teens, right after his wedding, that he and his bride fled their birthplace for Palestine. His dream was to build the country and a family there. The first child was born along with the State of Israel. Seven more children followed.
As I looked around the funeral hall I was amazed to see so many different kinds of Jews gathered to pay their respects. There were men with black hats, those with knitted kippahs, the bareheaded, and ones with ponytails. Some women were dressed in suits and others in jeans. I saw several IDF uniforms and heard Russian, American, and Moroccan, and, of course, Israeli accents. The skin hues went from dark Sephardim to the palest of Ashkenazim. There were youths and there were the aged. We were the people of Israel.
It was sad and listening to the eulogies my eyes teared up. Yet, it was also happy. He left behind eight children, dozens of grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who loved him very much. His vision of building the country had become a reality. He’d raised his family with a love of the Torah, the Land, and the People of Israel. Now they were bound together by those loves, their love for him and for each other. What better legacy could a person leave behind?
My novel, Growing With My Cousin, a good summer read, is available at Jewish bookstores and on line at http://www.feldheim.com/growing-with-my-cousin.html or