Yom Yerushalayim, a national day of thanksgiving to Hashem for the liberation and reunification of the Holy City of Yerushalayim, is celebrated in Israel with many different meaningful programs. One of them is the annual bike ride from Hebron to Yerushalayim, celebrating the former’s liberation.
In a way that decision was the first in a series of miracles with which Hashem blessed us.
It was in the late 1980s. Retired FBI agent Tim McCarthy, Inspector General for the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, took the call in his office from Kevin Green, the head of the FBI-NYPD Inter-Agency Task Force investigating official corruption in New York State and City government.
I almost never met the man I married. No, I am not from a very strict chassidishe home where dating is taboo and a brief meeting suffices before the engagement is announced. My husband and I actually dated for a few months, by which time my parents were beginning to grow concerned and the neighbors were having a heyday gossiping about us. But if not for a significant helping of siyata dishmaya, we never would have managed to get together in the first place.
This was the Sixties, and they shared the ideals of their adolescent children. Pro-civil liberties, anti-war – the epitome of unaffiliated, liberal Jews.
To have arrived at the momentous occasion, therefore, the zchut of participating in this simcha – the tears flowed freely, as my husband benched our dear granddaughter at the kabolat ponim.
The woman closest to her smiled and said, "I'm not, but my great grandmother was, and I like Jewish people."
The wedding was going full blast, with the joyful Jewish music playing. The sound of the violin awoke unfulfilled longings and triggered moisture in the eyes.
Note to readers: When I heard the words, "You give us seven minutes and we'll give you the world" on the radio at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday morning, July 13, I never thought that what I was about to hear would shake me to the core and change my world forever. I could not come to myself - and I'm sure most of klal Yisraelcouldn't either. So I sat down and the following poem spilled forth. Because it is written in a simple style, simple enough for any child to understand, I hope it does not seem to trivialize what happened; it is just my humble reaction to an earth-shattering event.
Kidney transplants from a living donor are infinitely preferable over a transplant from a dead person. The chances of it being rejected by the body are much lower, the life expectancy of the newly transplanted kidney is twice as high, and the recipient’s life and diet can return to normal much faster.
A flash of red caught my eye, and I looked up and saw a cardinal perched on the picnic table on my deck. What a miracle, I marveled. You’re beautiful. Thanks, Hashem. And then my mind’s wheels began to roll, and it struck me that several miracle stories had come my way this week. The stories prodded me to think of and feel Hashem’s presence as a more tangible and vivid reality.
Seeing my distress, a very kind employee named Lori (whose last name I regretfully forgot to ask about) very compassionately offered me the use of a stroller she just “happened to have” in the back room of their office.
She walked into my husband's office, accompanied by her father. They were clearly from Israel's lower socioeconomic class. The father was a large, frightening man who reeked of alcohol, and his daughter was a recent ba'alat teshuvah.
David was very saddened both at the untimely death of his good friend and also seeing how depressed his widow was.
Where could we go? There was no shelter anywhere! But then we noticed a small white house beside an old red barn hiding behind the trees.
I was walking down Coney Island Ave. when I saw an old acquaintance eating in a non-kosher restaurant. I wanted to approach him and ask him if he would be interested in putting on tefillin. But I felt hesitant, and wrestled internally to overcome my embarrassment. Finally I gathered enough confidence to enter the restaurant and approach my friend. Greeting him warmly, I gently asked if he would like to put on tefillin. He politely refused and, after a brief conversation, I was on my way.
While daydreaming about finding the perfect job, I never expected to be rewarded in spades for my aforementioned experience.
There were two pokerfaced police officers standing at our door.
My husband and I had the distinct pleasure and privilege to join a group of English speaking Israelis on a visit to Gush Katif. The trip was organized for the World Mizrachi and Tehilla movements. Both organizations are involved in aliya and living in Israel. Our goal was to become reacquainted with Gush Katif, while for some, it was their first time there.
He handed it to me and hmm… yes, it was definitely a private check book left unattended, with a woman’s name, address, and phone number printed at the top.
Approximately 30 days before Shavuos, my fondest friend, Joshua, a prominent diamond importer, invited me to his Fifth Avenue office. “Chaim, I want to show you a beautiful stone. Maybe you have a customer, and I am sure you could use the broker’s commission” (usually not more than two percent).
Avi and Rachel had always assumed, as most people do, that within a year or two of their marriage they would be blessed with a child. But, as we know, that isn’t always the reality.
I know what you’re thinking. You have already concluded that this is one of those heartwarming stories about the anonymous tenth man who completes a minyan in some far-off region, under mysterious, if not downright miraculous, circumstances. Likely as not, he turns out to be Eliyahu Hanavi.
Baruch Hashem, I have plenty of family in Israel, but Miriam’s host was not “family” per se, though her host would differ with me on this fact, rather someone whose family had an impact on me over 50 years ago!
My home is furnished simply. One notes the customary family photos and bric-a-brac that makes a house a home, but certain items are my priceless treasures.