web analytics
September 17, 2014 / 22 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘cousin’

After A Few False Starts, A Match Made In Heaven

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

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.

First of all, I was only redd to my husband on the rebound. My brother-in-law had been learning in Lakewood for many years and was in a prime position to scout out prospective chassanim for me. He did some research, came up with a very promising candidate, approached the boy, and suggested the shidduch. Bingo! The bachur was interested in pursuing the shidduch, except for one minor hitch: He had just started dating another girl. I was next in the queue – except that my turn never came. Baruch Hashem, he ended up getting engaged to the girl he was seeing.

So it was back to the drawing board for my brother-in-law. He mentioned the dilemma to his wonderful chavrusah of many years and the two of them brainstormed together. Actually, they just raised their eyes a row or two ahead of them in the huge beis medrash and spotted the chavrusah’s first cousin. He had serendipitously just returned to the U.S. from learning in the finest yeshivos in Eretz Yisrael, in order to start the shidduch parshah. After a brief interlude of “botteling,” the deed was done; they had decided to set up the sister-in-law with the cousin.

The bachur readily approved of the suggestion, and the ball quickly passed to my court. Ordinarily, after past dating blunders, I was generally very fussy and discriminating about the boys I dated, and usually came armed with an exhaustive list of questions and demands, one more trivial than the next. He should not be too tall or too short, too thin or too heavy, beards were definitely out, etc.

This time, however, I either forgot or skipped the interrogation, and accepted the suggestion without launching an FBI investigation. Had I followed my usual pattern, we probably would not have made it to the first step.

The next hurdle was the boy’s name. I had no problem with his unique and cool-sounding first name, but my two very yeshivish brothers were up in arms. That is, until they read that week’s sedrah and encountered that very name in black on white. They then offered a sincere apology along with their blessings.

I later found out that when my mother-in-law was in the hospital following my husband’s birth she had asked her mechanech husband to bring her something to read. He did. A Chumash! She read through several parshiyos and ended up selecting a biblical name that was far from run-of-the-mill.

Kishmo kein hu, like his unusual name, my husband had likewise always been unique in many ways. Following the orchestrations of the exalted Shadchan on High, he also became uniquely mine.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Screening Our Calls

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

As I sit at my home computer typing these words, virtual gale-force winds are blowing through my apartment, filling it with fresh – and free – air. This has not always been the case. In fact the electric bill for the past two months was astronomical, due in large part to our high usage of air conditioning virtually around the clock.

When we purchased our apartment “on paper” a number of years ago, we were among the first to buy in our particular development, and as such were in the enviable position of having first choice among the 48 apartments in the project. It was a no-brainer. We immediately selected the last upper unit in the complex, which afforded us the least noise, the most privacy and the best view and exposures. We have never regretted that decision.

The only downside to the arrangement was that although our cross-ventilation was incredible in theory, the lack of screens on our windows made it impractical to implement. So we did some research and came up with the name of a highly recommended “tris” and screen man. I immediately wrote his numbers on the first page of our local phone directory for safekeeping. We then contacted him, explained our dilemma and requested that he come by at his earliest possible convenience to measure for three screens that would afford us adequate cross-ventilation, even during the hot summer months.

He was very friendly and receptive over the phone, and somehow figured out multiple connections to a number of our friends and relatives. However, he was busy with larger, more lucrative jobs – and never showed up.

Every few weeks we would call him again, have a pleasant conversation, and await his arrival. But he never came.

Finally, we decided to throw in the proverbial towel and try to locate another workman to do the job. We added that task to our lengthy to-do list, and promptly forgot about it.

A few days later, a cousin who lives in our neighborhood phoned to invite my husband to attend her husband’s first ever siyum on Shas. My husband was not available to speak to her, so she gave me her cell phone number and I assured her that I would deliver the message and that he would return her call later that day. I did not want to risk forgetting this wonderful simcha, so I wrote her number on the very first page of our local phone directory.

I relayed the message to my husband as soon as I saw him. In addition, in my capacity as his unofficial secretary, I even offered to place the call for him, instructing him to pick up his extension on my signal.

You guessed it! In my haste to follow through on my commitment, I accidentally dialed the wrong number. The friendly, vaguely familiar voice that answered was definitely neither our female cousin nor the ba’al simcha. As my husband was about to apologize to the screen man for inadvertently dialing his number, the latter recognized my husband’s voice as well.

“I’m just finishing up by another Klein,” he said. “I’ll be over in just a few minutes.”

I quickly dialed my cousin’s correct number and my husband graciously accepted the invitation to participate in the upcoming siyum. He had barely hung up the phone when the screen man appeared as promised, just a couple of months late. He set to work measuring and ironing out the details of our order, as we looked on incredulously.

The following day, my husband attended the very moving and simchadik siyum, along with family, friends and neighbors. I stayed home and supervised the installation of our sleek new screens.

Now, as the cool fresh air blows through our house, I not only enjoy the pleasant breeze. I also marvel at the uncanny sequence of events that brought us to this very welcome new reality.

The Gemara in Chullin tells us that a man does not strike his finger below unless it was decreed from Above. I guess that principle may also apply to “screening” our calls!

Making Amends

Wednesday, October 17th, 2012

Where I now work, there is a small kitchen where workers can have lunch. We take our lunch breaks at different times, and I usually take mine at the same time as an unassuming young man named Benny Green, a 25-year-old who works in the company’s stockroom.

In conversation, he asked me if I am a ba’alat teshuvah. I answered in the affirmative. He then said that he was a ba’al teshuvah.

“At what age did you do teshuvah?” I asked.

“Thirteen,” he said. “At the end of seventh grade.”

I raised an eyebrow.

“Thirteen is kind of young to do teshuvah,” I commented. “I mean, it’s hard by yourself.” He agreed but said that his parents were okay with his decision, and even sent him to a religious school upon request.

“It started with your bar mitzvah?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said, recalling that his mother always knew he would become religious because he told her so when he was just four years old.

Certain children, from a young age, display sensitivity to religion whether or not they are raised in religious homes. Benny’s mother attributes it to zechut avot. Her father, the grandfather he never merited to know, had been an illui at the Chochmei Lublin Yeshiva in Lithuania before the war. After the Holocaust, he came to Israel and left some of his faith behind.

Benny started attending shul Friday nights while learning for his bar mitzvah.

“It felt good,” he said. He was happy to be there. “There was this old man, Naftali; I think he must have been 90 years old. There wasn’t a place on his face that wasn’t wrinkled, but it’s his fingers that I remember. He used to show me the place in the siddur. I remember always watching his hands.”

Naftali, who has long since been collecting his reward for turning Benny on to prayer, not only influenced a young bar mitzvah boy but all of Benny’s family eventually followed in his footsteps and are now at least partially observant.

That’s the first part of the story. Benny took me aside a few weeks after our conversation and told me the rest of it.

His grandfather had left a diary. Benny’s cousin recently found it and was perusing it when he came across an interesting entry. It seems that his grandfather had transferred Benny’s mother from a religious school to a secular one that was closer to home. That was a decision, he wrote, that he regretted his entire life. He described it as his worst mistake and hoped that he would one day be able to make a tikkun. The cousin, intrigued, asked Benny when he had switched schools. Benny told him that it was around the time of his bar mitzvah, at the end of seventh grade. His cousin told him that it was at that age when his grandfather transferred his mother to her new school.

“But there’s more,” Benny told me. The reason his mother had wanted to change schools was because of social problems related to being overweight. Benny had wanted to change schools for the same reason.

Apparently Benny’s grandfather wasn’t as much at peace with his decision as his family had thought.

Today, Benny’s mother is quite thin (and has been for years) and Benny has managed to shed the unwanted pounds that caused him discomfort as an adolescent in a secular school.

And Benny’s mother and brothers have followed in his footsteps – and are now religious.

Benny’s grandfather never did personally get to see his tikkun; instead he got it with the help of another grandfatherly figure – literally pointing the way.

The symmetry of Divine Providence never ceases to amaze me.

What Would it Take to Make You as Happy as This Woman?

Monday, August 20th, 2012

http://thisongoingwar.blogspot.co.il/2012/08/20-aug-12-it-was-great-you-could-sense.html

Please spend two minutes and 46 seconds in watching the edited extract of a television  interview with the woman who planned and executed a massacre of innocent civilians, most of them children, eleven years ago. Following the killings, she went to her place of work which happens to have been a television studio, and calmly read the evening news bulletin, starting with a report of the massacre that she herself had perpetrated some hours earlier.

After an intense criminal investigation, she was arrested less than two months later and charged with the murders of fifteen people, along with a host of other felonies. She was convicted and sentenced to sixteen terms of life imprisonment. But as a result of a controversial and cynical political deal, she was freed (not pardoned) in October 2011 and released to the land of her birth where she has become a major celebrity. Her recent wedding to her cousin, another unjustly freed murderer, received live television coverage and extensive media attention. Not only a celebrity but a hero.

Watch how the woman’s face radiates the joy that comes from recounting how the death toll grew steadily in the hour or so that she spent fleeing the scene via public transport, unhindered by the police. Absorb the message of how members of the public, unaware the murderer was seated beside them, expressed happiness at the deaths of anonymous children.

Imagine the feelings of the families of the innocents murdered by a person like this as they see her achievements celebrated and honored, as they listen to the prideful boasting of an unrepentant killer whose only regret is that she did not manage to kill more. She has confessed over and again since being allowed out of captivity. There can be absolutely no doubt that her deeds are an inspiration to countless others seeking the glory and vindication that her society has delivered to her.

The video, which went to air in July and has just been translated and edited by MEMRI, is here.

 

 

 

 

Ahlam Tamimi, a very happy person, lives in complete and unfettered freedom in the Kingdom of Jordan from where she has traveled several times in the ten months since her release to such places as Tunisia, Lebanon and Qatar to give public speeches. She hosts a television program of her own that is broadcast by satellite throughout the Arabic-speaking world. She married her cousin in June.

Among the fifteen people murdered by her on August 9, 2001 is our daughter Malki who was fifteen years old. A sixteenth victim, the young mother of a two year old child, has remained in a vegetative state since being injured in the attack.

What should a civilized society do in the wake of this woman’s story?

Canadian Singer Wins International Hallelujah Song Contest

Monday, August 20th, 2012

Canadian singer songwriter Evan Malach won an international Hallelujah music competition.

Malach, 27, sang the Israeli rock classic “Canaanite Blues” before a live audience in Hod Hasharon. The 14 finalists performed personally selected Hebrew songs.

Malach won an $8,000 prize and will be invited to record a duet with Israeli singer Dudu Fisher. The song will be distributed to Jewish radio stations throughout the world. He will also go on tour, singing in Jewish venues around the world.

The contest’s 30 entrants had spent three weeks in Israel touring and performing.

Courtney Simons of New York finished in second place and won $4,000. Polina Zizak of Russia was third, winning $2,000.

Last year’s winner, Mexican singer and distant cousin of David Ben-Gurion Adam Kleinberg—who made aliyah earlier this year—concluded the evening with Meir Banai’s “Geshem” (Rain). What followed was the rainiest year in recent Israeli history.

Looking forward to a year drenched with sad Canaanites…

JTA content was used in this report.

Gadhafi’s Mother Was Jewish, his Protocol Chief Says

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Muammar Gadhafi’s mother was Jewish, the late Libyan leader’s chief of protocol Nuri al-Samara told Al-Hayat.

Last year, a 76-year-old Jewish resident of Netanya told Maariv that Gadhafi was her cousin.

“My grandmother converted to Islam but never forgot her roots,” Gita Boaron told Maariv at the time. “She would come to visit us, give my mother money and say ‘give to the synagogue, donate to the Jews.’”

Matana’s Gift

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Dear Readers: The long, lazy days of summer are upon us and it’s time to sit back with a cold drink and good book. The following is a reprint of a fictional story I wrote a long time ago. Though it is made up, there are parts that are all too real. Long lost objects have miraculously turned up under the most unlikely circumstances. This story is in memory of a second cousin, David, who was blown up in his tank during the Yom Kippur War. His wife had their first child, a girl, eight months later.

* * * * *

It was the Thursday before her daughter’s wedding and Chana Bendiner had so much to do, so many minute details to attend to. Yet here she was in her attic, blowing the dust off a photo album that had remained buried, but not forgotten, for over 20 years. She stared at the leather-bound cover, gently caressing the embossed gold lettering, unable to open it, yet unable to put it down.

For Chana Bendiner knew that the photos that lay within, unseen for two decades, would unleash a torrent of bittersweet memories, releasing intense emotions from the deeply buried vault in her heart in which she had locked them – an soul-numbing process that had taken years of effort and a deluge of tears.

Inhaling deeply, prepared to have her breath taken away by a tsunami of memories that would flood her inner core, she opened the album book.

Looking up at her with a smile as radiant as snow bathed in sunlight was her 22-year-old self, her blue eyes as bright as the skies over the Kinneret; her hair a honey-blond cascade of curls spilling out from her bridal veil. Chana wryly touched her light brown sheitel, grateful that it covered the grey strands that had stealthily infiltrated her hair.

Her smile trembled and her face contorted as she looked at the young man at her side, her chatan, her golden-voiced Dov, Berel to the older generation. His puppy-brown eyes glowed with life, framed by thick auburn eyelashes that matched his thatch of auburn hair. A subtle brown sheen barely saved him from being labeled a gingi – a redhead.

Both native New Yorkers, Chana Rotgerber and Dov Walbrom had met at a kumsitz melavah malka at the home of a mutual friend in Jerusalem. Chana had been enchanted by his mellow tenor voice as he sat on the floor, strumming his guitar and singing Israeli folk-songs. He in turn could not take his eyes off her. He would later describe her as human sunshine. To their mutual relief and delight, they discovered that both had made aliyah, determined to give of their talents and skills to enhance their ancestral homeland.

The two and a half years of their marriage were of fairy-tale caliber: both delighted in the existence of the other. The “icing on their cake” had been the birth of their redheaded, milk chocolate-eyed baby girl.

“Go figure,” Chana had exclaimed to her ecstatic, peacock-proud husband as she scrutinized her newborn daughter. “For nine months I grow this human being inside me, my waist explodes and may ankles swell – and she’s the spitting image of you! It’s like I had no part in all this!”

“Well at least we know she’ll be good-looking,” Dov teased as he dodged the pillow Chana had thrown at him.

They had named their child Matana. Chana had had her heart set on naming her baby after her mother’s sister, who had perished in the Holocaust. She knew however that the name “Matel” was not quite appropriate for a sabra, and she was delighted when Dov, a bio-engineer with a creative bend, had come up with the name Matana, which was Hebrew for gift. It was perfect, sounding enough like Matel to satisfy the thrilled grandparents, yet preventing the teasing that would have been the inevitable fate of an Israeli child called Matel. Almost immediately after her naming, Matana was nicknamed Mati, and that was what she was called from that moment on.

For 10 months after Mati’s birth, her father would croon her to sleep, composing different tunes and changing the words to suit the baby’s mood. Often her doting daddy would spend hours playing his guitar, tape-recording the music that flowed from his hands. When Chana had asked him what he was so busy with, he told her he was working on Mati’s wedding march. It would be played as they walked her to her chuppah and her waiting chatan.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/on-our-own/matanas-gift/2012/07/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: