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August 27, 2014 / 1 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘heart’

Netanyahu Vows on Jerusalem Day, ‘We Will Never Divide Our Heart. Never!’

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu vowed Tuesday evening in a passionate address marking the start of Jerusalem Day “never” to divide Jerusalem.

The day marks the 47th anniversary of the liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem from Jordanian occupation during the 1967 Six Day War, and the capital’s unification since. Jordanian forces expelled the Jews from their 3,000-year-old ancient capital in 1948 during Israel’s War of Independence.

The venue for Netanyahu’s speech – at Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav Kook — was anything but accidental: In 2008, an Arab terrorist murdered eight boys and men and wounded 18 others in a shooting spree that left the learning hall and holy books covered in blood.

Netanyahu was blunt in his vows not to allow talks with the Palestinian Authority to get in the way of keeping Jerusalem united, despite diplomatic commitments to the “two-state solution” being forced on Israel by the U.S. and international community.

“Forty-seven years ago Jerusalem was reunited – that was the way it used to be and that is the way it will always be,” the prime minister stated.

Jerusalem is Yad Vashem (the Holocaust Memorial Center), [Theodore] Herzl’s grave (the founder of Zionism – in the military cemetery at Mt. Herzl), and the Mount of Olives, where both my grandmother and grandfather are buried, as well as [former Prime Minister] Menachem Begin and our forefathers,” Netanyahu said.

“Jerusalem is also Har Tzion (Mt. Zion) and Har (Mount) Moria (the Temple Mount) and Jerusalem is the Western Wall – Israel eternal!”

Netanyahu vowed to keep Jerusalem united, saying, “Jerusalem is our heart, and we preserve our heart – the heart of the nation – and we will never divide our heart. Never!”

Weeping for Jerusalem

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

I’m in Jerusalem, the city every Jew should be in love with. The world has become a very small place; in the blink of an eye we can cross continents. We belong to the generation that can visit so many cities, so many villages, so many vacation sites. After a while we become immune to them all. But Jerusalem is different.

If you are a Jew, Jerusalem is in your blood. It’s a city engraved upon your heart. Centuries ago Yehuda HaLevi wrote, “My heart is in the East while I am in the West.” No matter where life has taken us, our hearts have forever remained in the East, in Jerusalem.

When I was a little girl in Hungary I may not have known where Paris or Rome was but I did know the location of Jerusalem. My parents of blessed memory, HaRav HaGoan Avraham HaLevi Jungreis, zt”l, and Rebbetzin Miriam Jungreis, a”h, nurtured us with the milk and honey of Yerushalayim. Nowadays, few still thirst for that sweetness. And yet, with all the distractions of modern life, Yerushalayim tugs at our hearts.

I just saw with my own eyes and heard with my own ears the veracity of this connection between the Jew and this Holy City.

I was speaking at the Great Synagogue. There was no spare seat to be had and despite the lateness of the night people kept coming. Many lingered after I finished my speech. Some sought advice and guidance. Others just wanted to talk.

Above all they asked for berachos – for shidduchim, for health, for sustenance. And then a tall, lovely, blond-haired girl stood before me. She was crying. Something prompted me to ask, “Are you Jewish?” Her voice cracking with tears, she whispered, “I’m a convert. I came to Yerushalayim to become part of the Jewish people.”

She explained that she came from a country where Jews had been beaten and tortured and maimed and killed during the Holocaust. But her soul whispered the message, “Go, join the people who stood at Sinai; go to Jerusalem!”

I naturally assumed she sought a blessing for a good shidduch. “No, no,” she protested, “that’s not why I’m here. You just related a story that entered my soul. Please bless me with the ability of not forgetting.”

And then she repeated one of the stories I had told in my address.

The story was about a mother who lost her husband and eleven of her children in Auschwitz. She made aliyah but still had no peace. She couldn’t sleep. She couldn’t work. She couldn’t come to terms with her fate.

She sought out a rebbe – perhaps he would offer her some consolation. She spilled out her heart and described each and every one of her children. The rebbe listened and wept with her. And then he said something amazing. “I think I saw someone among the newly arrived children now settled in a kibbutz who fits the description of your Dovidl.”

The rebbe told her he would try to trace the lineage of that child.

A few days later the rebbe called. “I may have some good news for you,” he said. Heart pounding, she returned to the rebbe’s home – and there was her little boy.

“Dovidl, Dovidl,” she shouted. “Mama, mama,” he sobbed as he ran into her arms. When the little boy caught his breath he asked a painful question. “Where is my father? Where are Moishele and Rochele?” As Dovidl enumerated the names of all his brothers and sisters, he and his mother cried uncontrollably. They continued to weep long into the night.

As I told that story, I remarked to the audience that it occurred to me that Dovidl’s children and grandchildren have no memory of those who preceded them. Similarly, we come to Israel, rush off the plane, pick up our luggage and make our way to Jerusalem. And what do we think about?

We’re busy asking ourselves and each other, “Where is a good place to eat?” “Any new restaurants around?” “Did you try out that new hotel?” “Is it worth it the price?”

But do any of us ask, “Where is the Beis HaMikdash?” Does anyone really miss the Beis HaMikdash? Does anyone search for it? Does anyone even think about it? Does anyone even want to remember?

The girl who stood before me begged with tears, “Please, Rebbetzin, give me a berachah that I should never forget to cry for the Beis HaMikdash. I’m so afraid I will forget and become oblivious to its loss. I do not want to be like Dovidl’s children.”

I could only look at her. She had taken my breath away. I couldn’t recall anyone ever asking me for such a berachah – to be able to remain constantly aware of the Beis HaMikdash and, yes, to weep for it.

For thousands of years we prayed, wept and hoped for Yerushalayim. To see Yerushalayim again, to behold the rebuilt Beis HaMikdash, has always been the center of all our prayers. At our weddings, in the midst of our joy, we break a glass to remember our Temple that is no more. When painting our homes we would leave a small spot empty to remind us that no home can be complete if the Beis HaMikdash has not been rebuilt.

We have a thousand and one reminders in our prayers, in our traditions, in our observance, that constantly recall to us Jerusalem and the Holy Temple. And yet, now that we have Jerusalem again we have somehow forgotten our dream – our Beis HaMikdash that we prayed for and continue to pray for.

Sadly, our prayers for the Temple have become just words recited by rote. And here comes a young woman new to our faith and she seeks a blessing not for shidduch, not for parnassah, not for good health, nor for personal happiness – but for the ability to shed tears and yearn to see the Beis HaMikdash rebuilt. Should that not give us all pause? Should that not make us think and consider?

Should we not ask again and again and still again, “Where is the Beis HaMikdash?” I miss it so. I’m in Jerusalem but the shinning crown of the Holy City is absent and my joy cannot be complete until I see its glory restored.

Be A Savior

Friday, December 7th, 2012

A child, who can’t swim, jumps into the deep end of the swimming pool. A man chokes on his food while eating in a restaurant. A friend goes into shock. A woman faints. All of these scenarios share common ground. They all include a victim who is lacking oxygen. People need to know what to do in these emergency situations.

Approximately 330,000 people die annually because they do not reach the emergency room in time. This number would decrease rapidly if the emergency room paramedics weren’t the only ones who know what to do. Recently, I was at a friend’s house. There was a platter of candy and gum near us, and her little sister was inhaling more of it than could fit in her mouth. She started choking. We all started screaming, but not really doing anything. We were five girls who had no clue what to do. Yet, just knowing a few simple steps can save a person from possible brain damage.

First off, if someone can talk or breathe, they aren’t choking. Have them continue to cough until their airway is clear. There are certain signs that can tell you if someone is choking. For example, if a baby is choking, his or her skin will change to a reddish color, and then turn blue. An adult’s neck might start to bulge, and his or her face will turn red and puffy. If you are qualified, and you see that someone is choking, start to employ CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). Place a fist below the victim’s ribcage and do thirty rapid compressions in less than eighteen seconds, but on a child or infant, remember to do the compressions in a more gentle manner.

There is a mnemonic device that can help you remember the steps to follow in an emergency situation: DR911ABCD.

D-DANGERS. Look around you and make sure that there are no dangerous objects near the victim, such as fire, glass, gas, or open wires. Assess the victim.

R-RESPONSIVENESS. Check to see if the victim is responsive. You can do this by inquiring as to whether he or she is okay and if you can help.

911- Call 911 and report your emergency.

A-AIRWAYS. Make sure that none of the victim’s airways are blocked.

B-BREATHING. Make sure the victim is breathing

C-CIRCULATION. If the victim is not breathing, start doing CPR. After four to six minutes without oxygen the heart will stop beating. Brain damage is certain after ten minutes, so time is of the essence.

D-DEFIBRILLATION. If the victim is not breathing, and the CPR has had no effect, use a defibrillator. An AED (automated external defibrillator) interprets heart rhythms. Two heart rhythms can mean cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest is when the heart stops beating. Ventricular Fibrillation (VF), when the heart is shaking like jelly, and Ventricular Tachycardia (V-Tac), when the heart pumps 200-300+ a minute. Chances of survival decrease 7-10% for every minute waiting for defibrillation.

The DR911ABCD measures can be used for most emergencies, in addition to hypothermia (when the body temperature is 95 degrees or lower), and shock (when there is a lack of oxygen in body tissue).

This past summer, my two-year-old cousin was at the pool. As the whole area emptied, he ran back, alone. He slipped and fell in the deep end. He didn’t know how to swim, so he sank to the bottom. The lifeguard on duty didn’t see him. She finished up and started to walk out. Glancing down, she saw a blue form at the bottom of the pool. Instinctively, she dove in and pulled him out. Screaming for help, she started to do CPR. My cousin was brought to the hospital, and now, Baruch Hashem, he is fine. His parents have started a program called Project Moshe- Learn to Save a Life.

Do you want to be ignorant or knowledgeable? The information that you can acquire may be the very thing that saves someone. While you may convince yourself that this isn’t something you need, trust me, you do. It could be your mother, sister, cousin, or best friend. Don’t take the risk! Learn CPR, and learn how to save a life.

From Rockets to Roses

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

Look at the amazing, amazing things created by this artist – Rockets into roses….my greatest wish is that he soon runs out of base material from which to create his amazing art and that he never be supplied with more.

Look at this website to see what beauty can be shaped when love and art is stronger than hate and destruction:  http://rocketsintoroses.com/

I hope you’ll buy something to support this – but even if you don’t – just going there to see what beauty he has created is one way to show support. I hope one day soon to buy something myself…they aren’t cheap…but God, they touch my heart.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

What if the Siren Goes off When I’m Alone?

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

I’m in the office today until late. I spoke to Aliza shortly after she came home. I explained I’d be here for a while, at least. She’s home alone until my husband returns from work and some errands.

“Ima, what if the siren goes off when I’m alone?” she asked me.

“Go quickly into the bomb shelter and close the door,” I told her, my heart clenching at the thought of her in a  bomb shelter alone.

“I’ll take my phone with me,” she said, and I quickly agree.

“I’ll call you right away and you can call me,” I answer back.

“Can I take Simba in with me?” she asks. Simba is our dog.

“Of course you can. That’s wonderful. You take care of Simba and call him into the room.”

What world do we live in that a 12-year old has to consider going into a bomb shelter alone? If I could leave now, I would but Al Jazeera English contacted me and asked me to be on their show. Check out my next post on that…

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

Our Friend, Adversity

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

It is painfully difficult to start and end the hectic day seeing my daughter wander, almost lifelessly, from room to room and sibling to sibling with no desire to venture out into the scary world of society. With her bundle of strengths and weaknesses, and despite my countless pep talks, our 27-year-old daughter chooses to spend most of her time in the comfort and safety of our home. That is until recently, when terrible loneliness finally pushed her out the door.

With many children in the family, our daughter could always manage to find a sibling, at one point or another, throughout the day to hang out with indoors. Her minor attempts in childcare employment were sporadic, as hurtful memories of jobs gone sour haunted her. She felt paralyzed and refused to take another risk at entering the workforce.

I decided to seek help from a kind community social worker who gave freely of her time away from her busy schedule to help improve our daughter’s quality of life. Meanwhile, during the summer months, two younger daughters traveled to Los Angeles and a younger son went away to overnight camp – leaving our older daughter painfully lonely.

Over and over again she called me at work and I would urge her to at least volunteer at the Center for Special Children, where she had once worked part-time in the afternoon so she would not have to be alone. Finally, one morning it happened. With the quiet at home too much to bear, my daughter called me to say that she was taking a taxi to the Center. I was overjoyed. The only thing worse for her than the challenge of being around other people was being absolutely alone at home.

The following days were filled with trepidation for all of us. Would she give up or would she forge ahead? Would the memories and fears destroy her desire and courage, or would she be able to take the risk and continue to show up at the Center? Would she be able to function despite the pains in her chest and the fear in her heart? I spoke to the directors at the Center a few times, encouraging them to make sure our daughter knew how much she was valued and liked. I bought her new clothes and coffee drinks to encourage her. She even went out to dinner with my husband and me on our wedding anniversary so we could help build on her success.

Baruch Hashem, a wonderful thing happened! She thought of bringing her keyboard and offered to play and sing for the children. They loved it. She was an instant success. Seeing my daughter smile and hearing her happy voice report the experiences at the Center are more nachas than I could have ever hoped for. It is a new life for us.

Adversity forced our daughter to confront the absurdity of doing almost nothing all day and relying too much on others for her own satisfaction. Hardship can lead to growth and change. Not everything should always be pleasant and easy. If we are to reach our potential we must be prepared to take adversity by the hand and see what is being asked of us. This is also help from Above, sometimes the best help of all.

I daven that my daughter will continue to play her many self-taught songs on the keyboard, which will give her the wonderful satisfaction that she has something worthwhile to contribute. Her joy lifts our family higher. May Hashem continue to guide us and help us achieve what we have been uniquely created to accomplish.

My Great Grandmother

Monday, November 19th, 2012

If you look up the word “role model” in the dictionary you will find the following definition: “a person whose behavior, example, or success is or can be emulated by others, especially by younger people.”

This is the ideal description of my great-grandmother. To me, she is more than just an ancestor in my family tree, she is the epitome of inspiration. She has proved herself to be a rose among thorns and a woman of valor. I am genuinely proud to call her my grandma and I am so blessed to have such an awesome person in my life.

“You don’t have to be a ‘person of influence’ to be influential. In fact the most influential people in my life are probably not even aware of the things they taught me,” (Scott Adams). If I had one hour to be with the person of my choice it would surely be my Grandma.

In May 1911, a very special being came into existence. Her name is Paula. Back then, she was just a decedent of her grandparents, but now she is the heart of the Felsenstein Family. Grandma’s loving nature and uplifting spirit is what makes people, including her family and friends, gravitate towards her. Although Grandma endured many difficult challenges throughout the years, she refused to be limited by circumstance. The long, arduous journeys that Grandma embarked on are ones to remember and pass down to the generations coming.

I can learn much about the act of giving and being selfless from my Grandma. Living in Germany she used to generously give food to the hundreds of people who lined up outside her door. Grandma and her husband owned a horse-hair brush company which also made hats for British soldiers. Both of their products were purchased by Buckingham Palace.

Grandma married young, and a couple years into her marriage the Nazis started gaining power. Grandma and her husband fled to England where they were assured safety, although their plan of escape was far from simple. They were forced to walk across mountains for days, at one point paying people to help them cross borders in the back of an ambulance truck. I am trying hard to visualize the kind of agonizing hardships they’ve lived through. And the truth is, I probably would not be able to handle it the same way they did. The amount of faith and belief they had is simply indescribable.

And the miracles. Before they left Germany, Grandpa put all his money in the bank, leaving everything behind. In 1945, when the war ended, they returned to Germany without a penny to their name. Then a neighbor called asking to buy their house. Grandpa went to the bank and discovered that all of Grandma’s jewelry had been stored in a safe under their name. Grandma and Grandpa were extremely grateful for the miracles Hashem did for them.

About 40 years ago, my grandparents moved to Israel, where Grandma continues to live as a widow.

My desire and longing to be with my Grandma right now grows stronger and stronger each day. At 101 years old, my Grandma is the strongest lady I know – mentally and emotionally. Despite her old age, Grandma is constantly helping others and imprinting the lives of many with her inspirational and motivating stories. I strive to be like her in the way I live my life and hope that one day, when I have kids, they will live that way as well.

A wise man once said, “Someone who influences the thoughts of the people around her influences all the times that follow.” I love and cherish my Grandma unconditionally.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/teens-twenties/my-great-grandmother/2012/11/19/

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