Monday, May 10, 2021

Jerusalem Day

 

Fifty-four years ago, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria attacked Israel, vowing to destroy the tiny, Jewish state. Thankfully, they didn’t succeed. Not only did the country survive, but it also miraculously liberated dozens of Biblical towns and holy sites. No one alive then can forget the impassioned cry of “The Temple Mount is in Our Hands”. A week later hundreds of Jerusalemites made their way to the Kotel for Shavuot holiday prayers.

Since then, every year, except for last year when Corona shut down so many activities, the Kotel is the site of day-long celebrations to mark the reunification of Jerusalem. This morning my husband and I drove to the city, parked our car a kilometer away from the Kotel, and had a pleasant walk there. Once at the Kotel we went our separate ways for meaningful, morning prayers. Halfway through the services, though, we were interrupted by the loud, popping noises of tear gas cannisters and stun grenades on the Temple Mount. From the Al Aska mosque rocks were hurled down upon some of the worshippers.

It was hard to concentrate. It was hard to hear.  For the first time, in a very long time, I was discouraged that redemption was on its way. Instead, I feared we’re on the brink of another war, G-d forbid.

Suddenly, though, I remembered a lesson we all know. It’s always darkest before the light. Labor pains are the worst right before the birth. Recalling this, I felt a slight surge of optimism.

Please, HaShem, let us see the light at the end of the tunnel. Please make it happen speedily. Please no more wars or terror or plagues or tragedies.  Please bring the world true peace.

 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Thoughts on Pesach Preparations

 

It is impossible to get ready for Pesach this year without contemplating last year’s preparations.

This year I can do my own food shopping instead of making phone orders and waiting for deliveries.

This year retail is open, and I can buy presents, new clothing, and books.

This year my grandchildren can come into my house and help me clean, cook, and set the table.

This year I can take a break and go to a restaurant, if I so desire.

This year there isn’t a one-hundred meter restriction and I can plan holiday outings for the week of Pesach.

This year I can have guests at my Seder table.

This year no one needs to be alone.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Thoughts on the Horror in Itamar, Written on Ta’anit Esther, March 17, 2011, seven days after the murders, reprinted in commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the tragedy

 


Monday is my Jerusalem day. My husband and I leave the house early so we can pray at the Kotel. Then after a quick breakfast we part ways and I go to three Torah lectures. This week I greeted my friends and acquaintances and told them I had a new grandson. Their responses were more than happy. We needed good news. Then I told them the brit would be the next day in Itamar. Their faces crumbled revealing their grief. It was a grief that had gripped the whole country since motzei Shabbat. That was when we learned of the brutal murders of the Fogel family that had taken place Shabbat evening in Itamar. Because of the new baby my son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren had not been in Itamar for Shabbat. So there was not a moment that I worried about their physical well-being. Their emotional well-being was another story. How would they be able to return to their home a mere five houses away from the Fogel’s home? How would my grandchildren be able to go to nursery school the following day and learn their playmate had been murdered? How can any of us be okay with such evil in the world? 

Thursday, January 28, 2021

In Memory of Devorah Chava bat Avraham Zvi written on Thursday, January 23rd , 2020: reposted to commemorate National Holocaust Day

 



Today marked seventy-five years since the liberation of Auschwitz. Today the World’s Fifth Holocaust Forum was held in Yad Vashem in Jerusalem. Today, in light of security for the many heads-of-state who came to the conference, it was difficult to navigate the streets of Israel’s capital. And today Devorah Chava, my friend’s mother and a graduate of Auschwitz, returned her soul to her Maker


Her funeral was scheduled for midafternoon in Jerusalem and I wasn’t sure that I would succeed in arriving at the cemetery. Still it was important for me to pay my respects to Devorah so I set out in the rain. Apparently HaShem wanted me at the funeral because somehow or other the public transportation had returned to almost normal. I arrived minutes before the service sta

Seventy-five years ago Devorah z’l was set free and miraculously was able to rebuild her life. Despite the darkness of the war years she and her husband built a home full of light and laughter.  They had children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Well into her tenth decade her death was no surprise and yet, her loved ones wept as they parted from her.

They were not only losing their family’s matriarch they were also saying farewell to a woman who’d refused to let the anti-Semites of the world break her spirit. Her strength is a lesson for all of us. May her memory be for a blessing.


courtesy of Times of Israel

My short story of fiction, written eight years ago, was inspired by Dvora's life:

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

A Recipe for Disaster

 

Disheartened by the discord I see all over the world among past friends I’ve devised this fool-proof recipe for ruining a relationship:

Blame him or her or them for the problem

Tell him or her or them they need to work on themselves, to change, grow up, be less selfish, whatever

Absolve yourself of any responsibility

Sit back and continue to criticize him or her or them

Never examine your own thoughts, motives, and actions

Watch the relationship with your spouse, parent, sibling, friend, neighbor, or co-worker completely unravel

Console yourself thinking it was all his or her or their fault, not yours

And for a recipe to save a relationship and bring harmony in the world:

Do the opposite!

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Praying for the Success of the Vaccination

For the last ten months I’ve been in awe of the heath-care, food-chain, and other necessary workers, who have put their lives on the line to protect and help me continue a semblance of normal life. Meanwhile, except for an occasional supportive phone call or cake, doing my best to follow the health guidelines, and praying a lot, I felt I wasn’t doing much to improve the situation. That changed this week when I went for my Corona vaccine. Finally, I was doing something pro-active to aid in ending the pandemic.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Once Upon a Time

I went to the Kotel every week and it was one of the highlights of my life. With time, though, going there began to be routine and I didn’t want that special place to lose its magic for me. So, I thought long and hard about how I could recapture the enthusiasm I’d always had for the privilege of being able to pray at the site my ancestors had only dreamed about. HaShem sent a solution, a solution I didn’t like, a solution named Corona.