With so much to do before our recent trip, I was walking on a cloud. It must have been evident to one and all, since my feet barely touched the ground. Who would have believed that I would arrive at this special time – so grateful am I to HaKadosh Baruch Hu?
Nathan Mark, Esq., who passed away recently, spent many years working as a civil servant for the State of New York, first with the Human Rights Division and later, with me, at the Department of Motor Vehicles.
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.
I remembered the years of bringing up six teenage daughters. Of course they weren’t all teenagers at the same time but sometimes it definitely felt like it.
I felt good to be able to help out like this and was grateful for the opportunity. If we could not be together for yuntif this year at least I could contribute in this way.
Two husbands were there to instruct us in Texas hold ‘em – and we needed them.
We were making good time on Erev Pesach. The back of our car was packed with coolers filled with homemade foods for the Seder - savory Moroccan gefilte fish balls, sweet and sour turkey balls, and trays of delicious baked goods. My husband's white kittel lay atop our suitcases, together with the afikomen toys for our grandchildren. Everything felt just right. Then we heard the sound.
One daughter flew in from the UK for a mere 50 hours – quite an amazing feat!
I have a story to share with you - one that might change the way we look at every detail of our lives, labeling them coincidences or miracles. You be the judge!
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.
I was about 11 years old and crying on the front steps of the Bluzhever Rebbe's house. It was the late 40s, and the Rebbe had recently arrived. He miraculously survived the Nazi inferno, but lost his wife and children.
My daughter was in a state of shock. How could this be? How would she and her husband cope?
Not long after my mother died, I was sitting on campus talking with a friend and mentioned that it had been a long time since I had seen a frog. I used to love going out into the garden with my mother and our St. Bernard dog in the autumn evenings and see the frogs come out. I have a thing about frogs – probably from reading too many fairy tales.
In contrast to her Eicha-like lamentations of the previous hour or more, however, my youngest was now grinning from ear-to-ear.
“If you have children, you are a millionaire. And if all of your children have children, you are a billionaire.”
As we raced from store to store I was invigorated but Jo tagged listlessly along. I pretended not to notice and chatted gaily all the while.
I live at Scharf's Ateret Avot, a residence for seniors. I get around via a motorized wheelchair. This gives me the independence to go where I choose.
I hurried downstairs and dialed my husband again. Baruch Hashem this time he answered right away.
Normally, I enjoy air travel. But the night before a recent flight to Los Cabos, Mexico, I developed an excruciating earache. I tried nursing it with organic eardrops, but by the time we arrived at the airport, the pain had only intensified.
I said that we could call the baby Natanel Yisrael, but my husband felt that the name would be too long. (I don’t know why he said that because we already had a child with a six-syllable name.)
I found myself struggling to understand the rapid fire Hebrew spoken all around me but I forced myself to speak the little Hebrew I knew and slowly I became proficient.
I lost control of my car while driving in Brooklyn when a speeding taxi slammed into me. I thought my life was about to end when my car slammed directly into a tree. Baruch Hashem I survived, even though the taxi driver never stopped to help me.
My brother lives in Haifa. Despite his advanced age of 96, his mind is still sharp and his memory is keen. In a recent letter, he related the following episode. I was not aware of this incident since I was married and living in France when it happened.
Miraculously, the baby came out without a scratch, though some glass shards had to be brushed off his hat.
One unexpected bonus of our two-week trip was meeting up with some of our Israeli family.