Adar….

February 15th, 2013

My family had lots of good news this week!

My daughter found a turtle. There has been a three-year campaign (at least) for a pet, that resulted in my finally declaring that if they found a turtle and it lived in the yard, they could keep it. So this find means not just an adorable (???) turtle named Sheldon in our midst, but a triumph over the parents that said “no” to pets. Very exciting.

Turtle

Not Sheldon the Turtle, but similar.

I have two boys that have been accepted into a high-quality private school in Jerusalem, who have decided to commit to the longer commute and increased hours of Torah study. I am proud of them for deciding to take on the challenge. More than that, I am relieved for them because their acceptance in their current school has not been great, has caused them a lot of tears and frustration and has not helped their aliyah one bit. It is very hard to move at 11 years old, and it is also hard to accept new and different boys into your circle when you are 11 years old.  The school itself starts in seventh grade, so the rest of the boys will be “new” as well, and I hope this will help.

I also have three boys (two of them are the same boys) that were accepted into a boys’ choir based in Jerusalem. They all love to sing, we love to let them, it will give them fantastic opportunities and experiences, help them make new friends, and involve three boys in one chug  (after-school activity) – always a logistical plus.

We want you

The most important part for now about both the school and the choir is that word accepted. After feeling rejected socially by their peers for so much of the past six months, the three of them feel wanted, and we all need that.

I also am feeling a more “wanted”. I have accepted a part-time job that is challenging, exciting and rewarding. I hope to have more of an official “announcement” soon, when we finish finalizing the details at work. In the interim, I often come home feeling like I have done a little bit of good out there in the world. As I drive to work I get this ‘high'; the feeling of freedom and escape from mundane housework, the astonishing views on my commute that just feel like a daily gift from Hashem, and the knowledge that I am working in the Holy City of Jerusalem with ideas and people that make a difference just come together in a moment of endless gratitude.

My children are daily beginning to experience their first Purim in Israel. It is one of the moments in the year that olim internalize deeply, because it is so radically different than in the rest of the world.

There is much for us to be celebrating this Adar,

our first as a family in Israel. 

…BUT…..

It is hard to ignore that Adar is also a month of azkarot, memorial services. Purim is the story of the return of Amalek, and our triumph as a people over it – with Hashem’s help. Israel has suffered an inordinate number of terror attacks in the month of Adar. When people pause to remember, they realize that it was Adar when a terrorist killed eight young boys in the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva. Adar when the Fogel family was torn apart, leaving those young children orphaned in a way that so clearly screamed “bloodlust”. Unfortunately the list goes on.

Fogel family, z

Fogel family, z”l, killed two years ago today.Boys murdered at Mercaz Harav yeshiva March 6, 2008.

As the Jewish calendar is cyclical, we know that Adar beckons Amalek back every single year. In our age, we triumph by simply going on, building our state, celebrating life and not death. But it is the modern day “ad lo yada” challenge for us to be b’simcha (joyful) not only over Mordechai but also Haman, and to rejoice in Adar, our month-long Purim-fest, while also attending memorial services.

Ad Lo Yada, celebrating on Purim until we don’t know the difference between blessing Mordechai and cursing Haman.

 

I pray every day that in Adar this year Amalek doesn’t add any names to the list.

 

 

**If you would like to support Israel’s victims of terror financially you can do so by ordering mishloach manot for them or sending your matanot l’evyonim to them. If you want more information or ideas, please just leave a comment here, and I will respond.  

 

 

Like breaking the glass?

March 24th, 2011

Yesterday was my birthday. I turned old.Which is okay. I am lucky to be getting older and only count my blessings.

But I posted on facebook that it was tough to feel celebratory when people are blowing up my country and slitting babies’ throats.  A friend responded that it is “like breaking the glass under the chuppah. You can feel sad and celebrate at the same time.”

That made a lot of sense to me — but just doesn’t feel right. Somehow, I am sad about the Beit Hamikdash which feels so far away; so long ago and so far into the future (may it be tomorrow, B”H) but it doesn’t quite compete with the overwhelming joy in the here and now of a wedding.

But these attacks are here and now, not the distant past. I think this means I have to work on really feeling it when we mourn the Beit Hamikdash at weddings. I am supposed to feel that loss every single day.

But in the meantime, the thought of mourning and celebrating at the same time just doesn’t feel possible.  I also am tired of the helplessness I feel sitting in the US watching and listening to the news. I want to drive to Itamar and pay a shiva call. I want to visit a hospital and look at things that turn my stomach. I want to cook for someone. Anyone.

I always feel so helpful when I cook for someone.

Today in Mommy and Me I asked my Mommies and Mes to dance to “Shalom Al Yisroel” . That felt like a something. Wishing for peace. A very small something.

I hope that as you read this that you have found the best resources out there to learn about and empathize with the daily horrors in Israel this week. But in my feeling of powerlessness, I do want to share with you some of what I feel are important reads on the situation:

1. This: http://unitedwithisrael.org/tamar-fogel-speaks-out/ is an article and video of Tamar Fogel, the 12 year-old who survived her family’s massacre, and her desire to speak to Klal Yisroel.

2. This is a great blog in general. Here, he writes  one Dad’s take on why these attacks really make him so angry. As an Ima, I just relate to this peiece with every cell.  http://www.crossingtheyarden.com/2011/03/toes-terror-and-tears/

3. The One Family Fund has an  updated, accurate list of the wounded and who needs our prayers; http://www.onefamilyfund.org/article.asp?ID=2138.  I wish the organization didn’t need to exist, and that systematic solutions for the post-traumatic-stress disorder of children could be wiped out.  Until that happens, I remain in awe of the work that they do.

PLEASE PLEASE add to this list in the comments if you feel there is something that is missing. Thank G-d I no longer have to rely on American newspapers to know what is going on.

And for any of my friends and readers that are in Israel, feeling scared and angry or G-d forbid have a friend or loved one who has been hurt:

I would cook something for you if I could.  I really would.