The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
One night last week I heard a bloodcurdling scream coming from upstairs. “Mommy!” Cries at that level of urgency, panic, and volume can mean only one thing: My children had seen a cockroach that had wandered out of a newly-formed hole hidden behind the bathtub.
Every summer we have about three or four cockroach sightings, and after each of them my husband searches for the new hole, caulks it up, and then we are safe for another week or month or two. But when you least expect it, the cockroaches are back, and there is another bloodcurdling scream shattering the quiet of another summer night.
For a long time, my kids had a hard time falling asleep after seeing a cockroach. But a few months ago my husband came up with a really effective way to cope with post-cockroach trauma. The new policy is that whoever sees a cockroach gets an ice cream the next day. This means that nowadays, while there is still the initial “Mommy!” at first sighting, as soon as my husband has squashed and thrown the roach into the garbage the kids are in their beds drifting off to sleep, dreaming of ice cream cones, not insect legs creeping up their ankles.
At other times, I am called to my children’s bedsides on account of fears that are a bit more difficult to dispel. My eight year old lies in bed biting her nails because she is afraid that her math teacher will yell at her like she yelled at her friend the day before. Or my six year old is lying in bed afraid of flying in a plane next month to visit her grandparents overseas. Or my four year old cannot sleep since she is afraid that a thief will sneak into our house while we are sleeping.
My response to these worries tends to be fairly standard. I listen carefully, repeat my children’s fears back to them like an obedient parenting class graduate, and then I do everything within my power to cause their fear to disappear as quickly as a discarded cockroach. I promise to call the math teacher, pontificate on the safety of modern air travel, and remind my four-year-old that our door is equipped with the best lock on the market. If that doesn’t work, then saying a short prayer together nearly always does the trick.
This is not so easy, however, when my children fear the same lions and tigers and bears that haunt me as I lie awake in my own bed. It’s very hard to comfort our children when we are afraid. Children are absolutely telepathic when it comes to detecting our fears and worries. If you have a fear of dentists, for example, then no matter how much you try to smile and hum and calmly do needlepoint during your children’s dentist appointments, there is little hope. If you are afraid, your children will be afraid too. You don’t have to say a thing. Children just smell your fear.
Last night, as I returned to my kitchen from the cockroach hunt upstairs, my mind wandered from my own children drifting off to sleep to the mothers who are raising children in the war zone two hours to the north of our home in Jerusalem.
How, I wondered, does the mother of seven-year-old Rivky Levy of Safed comfort her daughter when Rivky lies awake in her hospital bed, thinking over and over about the rocket that pierced through her bedroom wall while she was playing with her Barbie dolls the week before, exploding next to her and leaving both of her legs full of shrapnel?
Can Rivky’s mother tell her that she is safe in the hospital, when a rocket shattered the windows of the children’s ward the day before, cutting open the back of another patient’s scalp like a rainfall of razors?
And what about the mother of five-year-old Shachar Goldberg of Kiryat Shmonah, who sits at Shachar’s bedside after spending most of the past three weeks crowded with more than fifty neighbors in a municipal bomb shelter? Shachar tells his mother that his ears hurt from the air-raid sirens and rockets that provide constant background noise for his games throughout the day.
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The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR
Pentecost, derived from the Greek word for 50, is celebrated 50 days after Easter.
U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.
During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai
20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse
Connecting Bamidbar&Shavuot is simple-A world without Torah is midbar; with Torah a blessed paradise
Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting
She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes
Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times
Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program
“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me
Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.
The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.
The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.
Ten years ago I was newly married, newly immigrated to Israel, and newly enrolled as a Masters student at an Israeli University. In most of my classes I was the only Orthodox student, and at least once a semester every pro-fessor could be counted on to make a derogatory comment or two about Jews like me. We were hypocritical, primi-tive, etc.
What else could I do? This past summer, former Israeli chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu instructed Jews around the world to recite Psalm 102 for the release of captured Israeli soldiers Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. So every day, rain or shine, tired or not, with time to spare or in a big rush, I read Psalm 102 without fail.
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