Family, Love


Last night, the siren sounded at 8 pm for Yom HaZikaron.

I didn’t expect the tears.

As the siren sounded, my children got up from the couch where they had been watching a cartoon and all stood at attention. Even as he stood, though, my five year old started to cry.

It might be easy to assume he cried out of fear: the siren is very loud and disturbing. My older son, like I do, associates the noise with rockets falling, even though we have never been close enough to hear a rocket fall. It would have been easy to say my younger son was crying because he was scared.

But when we asked him, my five year old told us he was crying for “all the lost ‘sabas,’ he said. Saba, the Hebrew word for grandfather.

He cried, even though he did not lose his Saba in a war.

He cried for all the sabas…and the men who would never become sabas.

For a moment, I worried the worries of an immigrant Israeli mother: What have I done? How did I bring my children to this country? How can I expose them to such pain? What does a five year old need to know of war and loss?

In the next moment though, I held him. And as he cried in my arms, I knew his tears were not the result of stories told to him at Gan. I also knew with certainty that even if we did not live in a country familiar with war and loss, and even if my child was not given at Gan the words to express what he felt in that moment, I knew that this sensitive child of mine would cry real tears in response to another’s pain.

I knew, as a mother knows, that his tears flowed directly from the Source.  The siren simply opened the door.

Living in Community, Middle East Conflict

The Hope, 2012

It’s been a busy month in Israel. And a busy month or two for me, as I completed a huge work-related milestone in March — organizing and executing a 5-city U.S. Investor Road Show for 13 Israeli hi-tech start-ups.

For me, the last few months of winter were intense as I balanced the demands of work with the demands of my family. I was in in the states for the last 10 days of March and back in Israel in time for Passover, with it’s two week school break.

Now we’re deep into Israel’s nationalistic stretch: The days encompassing Yom HaShoah, YomHaZikaron, and Yom HaAtzmaut (Holocaust Remembrance Day, Israel’s Fallen Soldiers Remembrance Day, and Independence Day).  There is certainly much for a new oleh to observe and reflect upon during this time. But the truth is, I still feel very much an outsider when it comes to honoring Israel’s fallen and celebrating the miracle of her existence.

Of course, I will do as anyone living in Israel would do during this week: Perhaps I will watch a documentary or two on the life of a fallen soldier and the impact of his death on his family. I will show up to the events organized by my community. I will dress my kids in blue and white. I will snap photos of my children and my husband singing nationalistic songs. I will feel awkward that I don’t know the words or the melodies. But nonetheless I will feel pride: for them, my family, the loves of my life.

I might shed a tear or two.

But the truth is, I don’t feel these holidays in my heart of hearts.

Don’t feel sorry for me. Don’t judge me. I am sure it’s normal, and not a sign of some pathology.

The fact that I don’t feel in my heart of hearts the hurt of losing a brother or a father in the Yom Kippur War is, in fact, a blessing to me. It’s a gift. It’s a hurt I don’t miss.

The fact that I don’t yet feel connected to the relief that comes with knowing your homeland is safe, after war, is also a blessing.

The fact that I live in Israel and don’t feel connected to the pain or to the relief means that it’s possible to live in Israel and feel safe. It means that it is possible to live in Israel and experience a tragedy-free life.

There are not many who would acknowledge this to be true or even understand how such words can come from my lips as headlines shout the threat of war with Iran, or as sirens continue to wail in Southern Israel.

There are some who will call me stupid for thinking it, and insensitive for writing it.

And there are some — The ones who dream. The ones who create the worlds we live into. The ones who imagine the future as they would have it be — Those people would smile. And nod knowingly.

Those people would see that we already live in the future we all hope for.

The future in which Israel is safe. Free of violence. Free of war. Free of fear.

Because for me, that future is today. This moment. Right now.

And if for one day, I may live in Israel and not feel the pain or fear or suffering, doesn’t it mean a safe, war-free Israel already exists?

Sit with it for a moment: Israel is safe. Israel is a place without suffering.

If it is true, may this be a comfort to those who have lost loved ones in Israel’s wars?

It should be. Because it’s what their loved ones were fighting for.

May it be a comfort to those who still bear scars from terrorist attacks or from rockets?

I hope so. Because it means there is hope that there will be no more scars.

If one person can live in Israel and for just one moment feel safe and secure and free to live her life –work, play laugh, love — then it must be true.

It is in this moment, in this one moment, when hope is born; and futures, as we dream them, are real.

Culture, Environment, Family, Kibbutz, Parenting

Second Spring

The weather is perfect today.

Blissfully perfect.

And by some magical alignment, my family is perfect today, too.

Tfoo. Tfoo. Tfoo.

We spent the morning together cleaning our yard, which had gotten frightfully ghetto this winter. Miraculously, everyone pitched a hand. Even my 9 year old, whom we hardly ever see anymore because he spends most of his spare daylight hours running around with his friends.

Our hand painted inspirational tiles from last spring didn’t make it through the winter, despite what we thought was a careful choice of paint and sealant. We laid them to rest along the side of our yard to make way for another herb garden and an experimental vegetable garden.

After spending some time together at the small nursery just outside Kfar Manda, we chose which plants to experiment with. With multi-generational love and care, with songs and brachot, with a little bit of mandatory blood, sweat and tears, we planted “Bubbi’s Garden,” in honor and loving memory of Bubbi (Marion Abrams) who would have been 87 years young tomorrow.

May we all only generate joy, love and beauty this spring and in the seasons to come.