Wednesday, November 24, 2010


(originally featured on Blogs)

My friend died yesterday.

She used to be a great friend, and then she wasn't a friend at all anymore. She changed, and changed the parameters of our relationship. And the more she pushed me into a corner, the more I withdrew.

And within a month, a friendship of over twenty years was gone. I always hoped, that one day we would find a bridge which would bring us back together again, but we never did.

Sometimes friendships last forever, and sometimes they last a short period of time. Whatever the duration these little angels pop into our lives and change them forever.

I always say that it is a privilege to live in Israel. It isn't easy. Sometimes it isn't even safe. But it is a privilege.

When I moved to Israel, I knew no one and had no family here. Well, I did have a cousin, Shalom, Ben who lived in Netanya. We always called him Shalom, Ben because when he wrote to my Dad telling him he was moving to Israel in the early 1940's, he signed off Shalom, Ben and it stuck.

Friends and neighbors became family and the dynamics were almost the same. With the neighbors I was always 'correct'. I never took advantage of the close quarters, and if I did have to borrow a cup of sugar or a carrot or two, I always made certain that I quickly replaced them. The only thing my neighbors wouldn't take back were eggs. They said that eggs were a gift and not to be replaced.

I never heard of that before, but since I couldn't replace them, I tried always to have enough eggs in the house.

Slowly I gathered a group of women around me and we became a support system for one another. One lady taught me how to cook Moroccan food, anther lady let me pour my heart out when I thought it would break. The third lady and I discussed our children and how to survive 'the terrible twos' and worse, 'the terrible teens!'

So, friends and frienships have always been extremely important. My friends are my family, and when one is lost, for whatever reason, I mourn.

During the time that this particular woman and I were estranged, I missed the old her. But, the new one was impossible to live with and there was no way to pick up where we left off.

And yesterday she died. I have spent the last twenty-four hours thanking her for years of love and caring and praying that she rests peacefully. I miss her. I'll always miss her.

Maybe one day we will meet again. Now that will be a story!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Back to the Future

(originally featured on Blogs)
My mother was nine months old when her parents decided to leave Russia.

My grandfather had been a soldier in the Russian army, and when he returned home and tried to buy a parcel of land for his new family he was told that 'Jews could not buy any land in Russia.' He turned to my grandmother and announced, "I'm good enough to die for my country but not good enough to live here? Pack up! We are leaving!"

I remember as a little girl sitting and learning the songs of his homeland. I remember hearing the stories about his little village of Sheletz, and how they only had permission to have one cow. When she gave birth to a calf, the authorities came and took it away! My grandfather told me how they brought that cow into their home in the winter so she wouldn't die in the cold.

Every grandchild knew that Sheletz was "tzen viorsts fun Mogilov...ten viorsts from Mogilov" - the capital of Mogilovsky Gubernia! I grew up listening to old records of Caruso and Chaliapin, of Yiddish spoken more than English and an occasional splash of Russian for emphasis.

What is bringing all these memories back to mind right now?

Three days ago my oldest son landed in Moscow for a short work-related trip for five days. He called home and told us he was in Red Square. He was cold! He was at the Kremlin! When I learned that he was about to go to Russia, I ached to pick up the phone and call my Mother and my Zaidi, but neither were alive. So, instead I phoned my Tanti in Mother's sister who is eighty-five. So many stories. So many memories. My heart smiled and my eyes teared.

Many people have gone to Russia to visit, but my son is the first in my family since 1924. I never ask anyone to bring me back anything, but this time I needed to touch something that came from there. I don't know what he'll bring, but who cares? It will be just what I needed. I bet my parents and grandparents are smiling right now. I know I am.

Have a great day...stay safe...and thanks for dropping in.