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December 22, 2014 / 30 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Sydney’

Australian Woman, 96, Making Aliyah Calls it ‘a Dream Come True’

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

A 96-year-old woman from Australia is immigrating to Israel.

Lily Hyde will leave the Sir Moses Montefiore Jewish Home in Sydney on Wednesday morning for Tel Aviv, where she will be reunited with her family. She is believed to be the oldest Australian ever to immigrate to Israel.

“It’s a dream come true,” Hyde was reported as saying Tuesday just hours before her departure. It will be comforting to have “so many of my family by my side.”

Her son Robert, 68, made aliyah with his family in 2010. Hyde, a native of Durban, South Africa, who worked as a music teacher in an orphanage in Johannesburg, has a great-grandchild she has yet to meet.

“She took ill recently and we thought of her on her own, and I made enquiries with an aged care home in Herzliya and booked her a room,” Robert Hyde told J-Wire, a local Jewish website.

The State Zionist Council of New South Wales had to fast-track Hyde’s application forms, according to the report.

“We managed to work with Israel and get all the necessary paperwork taken care of in less than 24 hours,” a Zionist council official said.

Hyde is scheduled to move into Beit Protea in Herliyza, which was opened in 1992 by the Zionist Federation of South Africa.

She is not believed to be the oldest immigrant to Israel. Two Jews from the former Soviet Union were said to have been 111 when they arrived in the 1990s.

Phillip and Dorothy Grossman were 95 and 93, respectively, when they arrived in February this year from Baltimore — the oldest married couple to make aliyah.

Pesach In Thailand

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

                It isn’t often a person from West Bloomfield, Mich., shares a PassoverSeder in Thailand with someone from Sydney, Australia, but that’s exactly what I did this year.

               Newlywed Australian, Rebbecca Saidman, and her husband looked up the nearest Chabad House during their stay in the city of Chiang Mei. “It was really quite incredible and weird to be in Thailand in a place where a Seder was taking place. I have never had a Seder with 350 people,” said Saidman. “The non-judgmental atmosphere, which made everyone feel so welcome, is a huge part of what made this holiday so special for us,” she said.

               This year, the Chabad emissaries in Chiang Mei, Rabbi Moshe Haddad and his family, hosted 350 guests for the first Seder and more than 60 for the second. I was offered the opportunity to come and help.

               Getting to Chiang Mei was an adventure in itself, with stopovers in Germany and Singapore, and finally arriving in Bangkok and the last leg of our journey, a short flight north to the mountain resort.

               I left from New York at 4:00 p.m. Sunday, and arrived at our destination at 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Though I came only a day before the festival, there was still plenty of work left to do. One of the major tasks was preparing lettuce for the Seder. Jewish dietary laws forbid eating bugs, and Jewish tradition dictates using lettuce, which can be infested with little white bugs. Lettuce is one of the symbolic foods for the Passover Seder so we had to check more than 2,000 leaves of lettuce to make sure they were bug-free.

               Finally, after a long day of feverish preparations and a Sederthat lasted almost to midnight, we thought we could go to sleep. Then another 20 people showed up who needed a Seder, so we did it all over again. Sleep didn’t become an option until the early hours of the morning.

               There were other adventures and unusual circumstances – some unique to Jewish tradition, some unique to Thailand, and many due to the intersection of cultures.

               This year, Passover and the Thai New Year overlapped, which meant that Jews coming to and from the Chabad House had to navigate their way through Mardi Gras style festivities in the streets. Many of us were doused as revelers happily sprayed each other with water guns during the celebration.

               While we were in Chiang Mei, the King of Thailand’s son decided to take a stroll in the area around the Chabad House. All cars, trucks and tuk tuks – a type of bicycle – were towed away to clear the streets. This happened during Mincha, afternoon prayer service.

                When Chabad guests went outside, they had to search for their bikes. No one understood what had happened. Then it became clear that officials had simply moved everything to the side to clear the area for the prince and his entourage.

               Unfortunately, not everything happening in Thailand these days is so festive. As I left during the intermediate days of Passover, there was rioting in the capital city, Bangkok. Many governments issued warnings to their citizens traveling in Southeast Asia. The Chabad Houses urged visitors to call home and let their families know that they were safe. It is one of the many services Chabad in Thailand has grown accustomed to providing for Jewish travelers. Chana Kroll contributed to this article.

Pesach In Thailand

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

                It isn’t often a person from West Bloomfield, Mich., shares a PassoverSeder in Thailand with someone from Sydney, Australia, but that’s exactly what I did this year.


               Newlywed Australian, Rebbecca Saidman, and her husband looked up the nearest Chabad House during their stay in the city of Chiang Mei. “It was really quite incredible and weird to be in Thailand in a place where a Seder was taking place. I have never had a Seder with 350 people,” said Saidman. “The non-judgmental atmosphere, which made everyone feel so welcome, is a huge part of what made this holiday so special for us,” she said.


               This year, the Chabad emissaries in Chiang Mei, Rabbi Moshe Haddad and his family, hosted 350 guests for the first Seder and more than 60 for the second. I was offered the opportunity to come and help.


               Getting to Chiang Mei was an adventure in itself, with stopovers in Germany and Singapore, and finally arriving in Bangkok and the last leg of our journey, a short flight north to the mountain resort.


               I left from New York at 4:00 p.m. Sunday, and arrived at our destination at 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Though I came only a day before the festival, there was still plenty of work left to do. One of the major tasks was preparing lettuce for the Seder. Jewish dietary laws forbid eating bugs, and Jewish tradition dictates using lettuce, which can be infested with little white bugs. Lettuce is one of the symbolic foods for the Passover Seder so we had to check more than 2,000 leaves of lettuce to make sure they were bug-free.


               Finally, after a long day of feverish preparations and a Sederthat lasted almost to midnight, we thought we could go to sleep. Then another 20 people showed up who needed a Seder, so we did it all over again. Sleep didn’t become an option until the early hours of the morning.


               There were other adventures and unusual circumstances – some unique to Jewish tradition, some unique to Thailand, and many due to the intersection of cultures.


               This year, Passover and the Thai New Year overlapped, which meant that Jews coming to and from the Chabad House had to navigate their way through Mardi Gras style festivities in the streets. Many of us were doused as revelers happily sprayed each other with water guns during the celebration.


               While we were in Chiang Mei, the King of Thailand’s son decided to take a stroll in the area around the Chabad House. All cars, trucks and tuk tuks – a type of bicycle – were towed away to clear the streets. This happened during Mincha, afternoon prayer service.


                When Chabad guests went outside, they had to search for their bikes. No one understood what had happened. Then it became clear that officials had simply moved everything to the side to clear the area for the prince and his entourage.


               Unfortunately, not everything happening in Thailand these days is so festive. As I left during the intermediate days of Passover, there was rioting in the capital city, Bangkok. Many governments issued warnings to their citizens traveling in Southeast Asia. The Chabad Houses urged visitors to call home and let their families know that they were safe. It is one of the many services Chabad in Thailand has grown accustomed to providing for Jewish travelers.
 
Chana Kroll contributed to this article.

Embracing The Short Leash

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007


         On October fifth, my article called “Choking on a Short Leash” was in the Jewish Press. The article discussed the need for compromise (as we age and/or are alone) with our children who may become very protective and want to monitor our whereabouts. Finding a middle ground with our protective children, without losing our independence, can be very difficult. The compromise, though livable for both sides, may be satisfying to neither.

 

         Last week, I shared a letter from a mother who wanted to call the whole compromise off as her children were not holding up their part of the deal. She had agreed to call when she was going out at night, only to find her children not bothering to pick up the phone or leave the answering machine accessible to her when she did call. She wanted to just go back to being independent and not be considerate of her children’s fears because of their insensitively toward her needs.

 

         This week, one of my readers presents a very different perspective.

 

 

Dear Ms. Novick,

 

         I have been a fan of your articles since you began writing. These articles have been moving and poignant (as was the Wife’s Dilemma), as well as informative (as with the information on banking, long term care insurance, etc.). I have agreed with most of your opinions, but I now feel compelled to reply to your recent article, “Choking on a Short Leash.”

 

         It seems that from Sydney’s activities, she is still a young woman. I am sure that she constantly lived with “waiting for the other shoe to drop” while her husband was alive. Her daughter must have been very young when her father took ill. How much more so did this “waiting for the other shoe to drop” affect her! I can perfectly understand her concern for her mother’s well being. While the concern for the surviving parents probably affects well children more, given the precarious times in which we live, everyone is concerned for loved ones.

 

         Sydney should not view this as being treated like an irresponsible child. A two-second phone call before Sydney left home, informing her daughter of her plans, could have saved the daughter hours of anguish, especially since Sydney was gone for five hours, her car was parked in front of her apartment, and she was not answering her cell. Who would not panic given these circumstances? Did Sydney use role reversal and think of what her reaction would have been if she had come to her daughter’s home and found the same set of circumstances? Why would Sydney want to cause her daughter one more second of “agmas nefesh,” knowing what she grew up with?

 

         Since we live in the time of instant communication, as well as constant danger, both Sydney and her daughter should have an understanding that while not wanting to control each other’s lives, a simple and fast phone call before embarking on any adventure would save the other a lot of heartache. I am sure that Sydney would agree to that.


Mae


 


 


Dear Mae,

 

         Thank you for your comments. I think you raise an interesting point and I certainly agree with you from the daughter’s perspective. However, I think you underestimate Sydney’s desperate need not to be accountable after so many years of having to let everyone know of her whereabouts, in case of an emergency with her chronically ill husband. Never being able to leave your home without telling someone where you are going and when you will return, always being on call if you will, for years and years, takes its toll. For Sydney, her newly found freedom may be as important as breathing and just as hard to give up.

 

         In a perfect world Sydney would just make the two-minute call, her daughter always ready for the information and no one would have any emotional fallout. But we are all products of our experience, and our emotions rule how we feel about what we do. To Sydney, being totally accountable to her daughter is something she (and I suspect many of us) cannot live with.

 

         And what about Sydney’s right to privacy? She may not wish to share with her daughter everywhere she is going. She may not want to deal with the inevitable questions of “Why are you going there?” or “Why do you need to do that?” Imagine if she is seeing a therapist and wants to keep it private. Or she may even have a date and feels that her daughter may not be ready for her mother to date. As an adult, she just may not want to go down the slippery slope of accounting for all her whereabouts.

 

         Put yourself in Sidney’s shoes. Do you tell your children everywhere you go and why? Would you want to? There is no perfect solution to the problem, and that is why I recommended a compromise. Perhaps if Sydney’s daughter never asks her where she is going, Sidney will not lose her sense of privacy and control over her life and be more comfortable with telling her daughter each time she leaves.

 

         But is that a realistic expectation? In the end, Sidney and her daughter will have to use trial and error to find a solution that both woman can live with. This solution must allow Sidney to maintain a sense of being in control over her own life and her daughter the feeling of knowing her mother is safe.

 

         What will work for Sidney and her daughter may not be something you would be comfortable with in your own life. The one thing that is true for all of us as we age is that we do need to reach a compromise between our children’s needs for us and our own needs for ourselves. And that compromise will probably change as we continue to age and our health needs change. Let’s toast the golden years.

 

         You can reach me at annnovick@hotmail.com 

Choking On A Short Leash

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007




(Names Changed)


 


         As we age (or as our chronic illness worsens) and every day tasks take longer and becomes more difficult, our desire to remain independent seems to increase. At the same time our children worry about us more and more. And to us, part of their desire to help us seems to involve losing some of that independence we crave so much. And so a tug of war develops. Our children want us to check in more often. They want us to tell them when we go out and where we are going. They want us to drive less and not venture too far from home.

 

         These restrictions seem to help them cope with our aging or worsening illness. To many of us, however, it feels like a leash being pulled tighter and tighter until it chokes us. Further, it is not exclusive to those of us getting on in years or the chronically ill among us. As I talk to former well spouses whose partners have died, many discover that their children’s fear of being orphaned (even though they are relatively young) makes them want to keep constant tabs on their remaining parent. They too find that their children want them to be accountable for their whereabouts more and more.

 

         Sydney was a former well spouse. After her husband’s passing, she slowly began to enjoy her new ability to go out by herself or with friends whenever she wanted, for as long as she wanted to. She began to go out more and more for longer periods of time. Suddenly, she began to realize that just as she was exploring her new freedom, her daughter seemed to want to be aware of her whereabouts more often. It was not unusual for Sydney to come after 11 p.m. and find a concerned message on her answering machine. “It’s late. Where is my mother? You didn’t tell me you were going out. Please call me when you get home no matter what time it is. I am worried about you. You didn’t tell me you were leaving tonight.”

 

         The whole situation came to a head one Sunday when Sydney had gone shopping with a friend. It had been a spur of the moment shopping spree and she had not told her daughter she was going. To make matters worse, Sydney had plugged in her cell phone the night before to charge it, and forgetting it wasn’t in her purse, left home without it. Her friend drove, leaving Sydney’s car parked in its usual place. Sydney’s daughter came by her mom’s apartment to pick something up. She saw the car but missed the cell phone sitting on the kitchen counter. She began to worry. Her mother had started to exercise by walking every morning but never took identification or her cell with her.

 

         Had something happened to her? If so, no one would know whom to contact. She tried calling but the cell phone just rang and rang. After four hours of not hearing from her mother, Sydney’s daughter started calling her mother’s friends to see if anyone knew where she was. When Sydney returned home five hours later to a worried daughter and friends on the lookout for her, she was incensed.

 

         Sydney needs to understand that her daughter is not trying to control her life, but is trying to cope with her own fears of something happening to her only surviving parent. As much as Sydney dislikes how this hovering makes her feel, the opposite would be worse. She would not want her daughter to be completely unconcerned for her welfare and not check up on her occasionally to make sure she was all right. Understanding this will not make Sydney comfortable to be on a short leash, but will be a beginning to a compromise that will help them both.

 

         Sydney’s daughter, for her part, needs to realize how awful it makes her mother feel to be expected to account for her every move. She feels treated like an irresponsible child instead of a mature adult who has finally been able to do what she wants, when she wants. Once they both understand, in their own circumstances, what cause them to react the way they do, they can start to work on a reasonable solution that will work for them both.

 

         Sydney realized that, at her age, it was only reasonable and safe for her to take her cell phone with her, along with identification, when she went walking in the morning. Not only are our neighborhoods not as safe as they once were, but anyone of any age could trip, fall and need help. Doing this might give her daughter enough peace of mind so that she could cope with her other fears for her mother more reasonably.

 

         Sydney and her daughter agreed that if her mom went out in the evening, she would let her daughter know. In return, her daughter would not expect her to account for her daytime moves, providing she made a greater effort to always have her cell phone with her and keep it turned on. This compromise seemed to be something both Sydney and her daughter could both live with, at least for now.

 

         While we need to understand our adult children’s fears and accommodate them to some degree, they too need to understand our need to be treated as parents and not children. A compromise needs to be worked out that will be logical and comfortable to both, though it may not be totally satisfactory to either.

 

         You can contact me at annnovick@hotmail.com 

Yesterday And Today

Wednesday, May 7th, 2003

I was recently invited to speak to our Jewish brethren in Australia. Prior to my arrival in Sydney, I received a phone call from a local resident asking if I could find a few minutes during my stay to visit her elderly, ailing father. She went on to explain that as a young man, her father had been in a slave labor camp in Szeged, the city of my birth in Hungary, where my father, Rabbi Avraham HaLevi Jungreis, zt’l, was the Chief Orthodox Rabbi. Prior to our deportation to the concentration camps, the Hungarians conscripted all the Jewish young men for slave labor, and our city, Szeged, was one of the major gathering places in which they were assembled prior to being shipped out.

As the rabbi of the city, my father was able to obtain permission to visit these boys daily to bring them messages from home and impart words of Torah and hope. My father would also smuggle in medication and letters from family, but since he was searched, this was no easy task. My mother came up with the novel ideal of sending my brother and me along and secreting these items in the linings of our coats, so at a tender age, we were initiated into the meaning of ahavas Yisroel (love of fellow Jews). We saw with our own eyes the total mesiras nefesh – commitment - of our parents to every Jew, and that experience left an indelible impression on our souls. My father not only visited those young men, but he also managed to obtain permission for them to have brief furloughs so that they might visit our home. My mother cooked and baked for them while my father studied Torah with them, enveloped them in his love and blessed them.

From time to time in my travels throughout the world, I meet an elderly Yid who was one of those boys to whom my parents so caringly reached out in that time of darkness, and now I discovered that Sydney, Australia would be no exception. My caller related that her father had been among those who came to us regularly so that he might put on Tefillin. She went on to say that he remembered me opening the door for him and running excitedly to my father exclaiming, “The soldier has come to put on Tefillin!” Memories rushed back. It happened so long ago, but for all that, it could have been today. Those painful years remain deeply etched on my heart.. “B’ezras HaShem,” I told her, “of course I will visit your father. It will be my privilege to do so.”

And so it was that on my first day in Sydney, I went to visit Reb Modche Weiss. He related story after story about the amazing chesed of my parents. My eyes brimmed over with tears. To hear stories about your mother and father who are now in Gan Eden is like receiving personal regards and brachas – blessings – from them.

I share this with you so that we may remain ever mindful of the importance of imparting a story about a zeide or a bubbie, a mother or a father. If you knew someone’s parents or grandparents, if you experienced their chesed and Torah, don’t keep it to yourself. Search out their children and relate it to them. It will give them new chiyus – life.

Stories about my parents and grandparents are legion. They energize me and inspire me to continue to speak, teach, and reach out. But it is not only the past that invigorates me. The amazing people I meet in every Jewish community give me the incentive to go on. I visited Sydney at the invitation of the Jewish Learning Center founded and directed by Rabbi David Blackman, a young, dynamic force and powerful Torah teacher. In Melbourne, this same program is led by a group of committed balabatim spearheaded by Merv Adler. They are all businessmen who voluntarily give of themselves to organize Torah programs for the Jewish community.

I last visited Sydney approximately 27 years ago, when Rabbi Michael Alony invited me to speak and help found Hineni of Australia, and now I was truly elated to learn that during these past 27 years, Hineni has flourished and grown, not only in Sydney, but in Melbourne as well. It was sheer nachas for me to meet young people who proudly identified themselves as members of the Hineni of Australia group. I met some of these young people at a Shabbos evening dinner celebrated at the Central Synagogue, where Rabbi Levi Wolff (formerly of the United States) is the loved spiritual leader. The young “Rosh” - Head of Hineni told me that the original bumper stickers that I brought with me more than a quarter of a century ago are still in their office.

In Melbourne, a woman approached me and told me that her son, who is one of Hineni’s leaders (but was currently out of the country) asked her to come to convey appreciation for the work of Hineni. It was through Hineni that he and his group became shomrei mitzvot, and Baruch Hashem, he plans to marry very shortly and establish a true Torah home.

Hineni in Melbourne is hosted in the beautiful synagogue of Rabbi Heilbrun, who graciously
welcomed us and made us feel at home. It is a special feeling of nachas to see such peiros - fruits of our labors.

During my week in Australia I had the zechus to address constantly growing audiences - the young as well as the old. But more than the size of the audiences, the genuine commitment to Torah and Yiddishkeit – the sincere yearning to learn and do more, was most exhilarating. We are living in incredible times. Our people are coming home.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/yesterday-and-today/2003/05/07/

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