On June 27, 2001, a single mother and her son landed at Ben Gurion Airport in Israel for a two-week vacation. The plan was that she would go to a seminary and he would go to day camp. Neither of them knew a soul in Israel, nor did they know any Hebrew and next to nothing about Judaism.
By 1939 when World War II broke out, Aliyat Ha'noar had brought over five thousand Jewish children and youth out of Europe to Palestine.
I was thinking of my mother today. I realized that I still have much to learn from this wise woman. G‑d blessed me with my special mother who serves as my role model, my caretaker, my friend, and above all, my inspiration.
Our oldest daughter recently came to visit us from Eretz Yisrael. We wanted to be sure to give our children a good time together in order to properly mark the special occasion. We decided that it would be fun to take everyone roller-skating after Shabbat at a rink not far from our house. Little did we know that the evening would mark the start of a dramatic change our family life.
My husband and I are living in our house for over 30 years. We have wonderful neighbors on both sides. The one on the right, a non-frum Jewish couple, lived in their house longer than we’ve resided in ours. We always got along very well with them, as they are unusually kind, friendly and helpful people.
Only when Shabbos finally arrived and the food was cooked, table set, baby sleeping peacefully, did those angels remember to come and wish us a gut Shabbos.
Shlomo explained that these were non-Jewish people who had risked their lives and the lives of their families, for no reward whatsoever, by hiding and saving Jews during the Holocaust.
“What a way to spend a Sunday afternoon,” my husband remarked. “Well, baruch Hashem we are safe, there was no accident, and I’m sure there is a good reason for everything that happened to us,” I mused.
We were not familiar with the process of wiring money to Israel when I got engaged, so I was just waiting for the money to come by mail.
There were three names with brief bios on the list. All had similar qualities and were within the correct age and frumkeit range. With nothing to distinguish one from the others, we could have enlisted the tried-and-true option of “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe…” Instead, we decided to base our decision on practical and geographic considerations. So we opted to go with the candidate from Teaneck, New Jersey, reasonably close in proximity to our son’s apartment in Edison.
The current situation with Syria reminds me of an episode that occurred in January 1991 in Toronto. I had taken my son for swimming lessons while my wife stayed in the car, anxiously listening to the news about Israel. Those were very tense times, with Iraq threatening to attack Israel with chemical weapons, God forbid.
I was about six years old at the time and recall that very special occasion so well.
I’d like to believe that I at least have average intelligence. And when in need of inspiration or to learn something to facilitate my personal growth, I gain much from adult tapes and books. I’m greatly inspired by the words of the plethora of writers and speakers who target their words to adult audiences; their sentence structure and vocabulary meant only for us grownups. Their valuable lessons are often arrived at through a series of logical steps any adult with reasonable intelligence should be able to follow. And follow I do.
Avigail took the plunge into marriage, and we are so proud of her! My walk down the aisle with Avigail by my side was a visceral reminder of the days when she was by my side in another place and another time. Let me share the story with you.
Recently, I discovered a frum website, www.jewish-e-books.com, that allows one to download hundreds of Jewish books – both in English and Hebrew. Having written a sefer myself, I was able to get it put on their website.
My husband and I were honored to attend a Hachnassas Sefer Torah celebration this summer at our upstate summer home in Elm Shade Estates. We have had a summer home for many years. We were always privileged to have a special, devoted friend take care of all the things that needed attention there - from ensuring that the grass was cut to keeping the shul spotless for Shabbos.
She told me, pointing to a blue and orange set. It wasn’t exactly a color scheme that I appreciated, nor was it especially fancy for yom tov, but having shlepped out and waited this long, I wasn’t ready to head home without something to show for my time.
It was a year of Torah learning, a year of fostering new friendships, a year of encounters with diverse educators and personalities, a year of becoming more attached to the land, and a year of relative innocence.
Off my friend and I went to search for the skirt. After trying the regular racks, we decided to search the clearance rack, which was completely disorganized.
As early morning phone calls go this was probably one of the least welcome ones to hear five days before our daughter’s wedding.
I recently returned from a visit to Eretz Yisrael, where I go yearly for my father's yahrzeit. As always, my husband, and my sister and her family accompanied me. On the way to the cemetery, we were fortunate to hail a taxi driver who spoke fluent English. He had made aliyah many years before from East Flatbush, where my husband and I lived.
This true story took place in Brooklyn, New York. It was a wintry, dark afternoon when my father collapsed before my eyes. He slumped over in the front passenger seat in the car and lost consciousness. When he slowly and dazedly opened his eyes, he was weak and pale.
We get so busy living our lives, handling our day-to-day little crises that we forget to go that one step deeper and appreciate our lives.
Saba, as we called him, was absolutely, hands down, my favorite guest. He loved to help in any way he could.
I returned to work after the pre-summer Memorial Day weekend and found on my desk a brochure sent from the American Friends of Kupat Ha’ir. It described a tragedy that had recently taken place in Eretz Yisrael. A tzedakah campaign had been created after the father of 13 children was suddenly killed in a car accident, leaving behind a wife and the 13 children – including a six-day-old baby.