Sunday, May 29, 2016

Israel, The Land of my Heart and Home!

בס''ד
Hamilton Ontario, Canada

May 29, 1994, 7:30 a.m., we were anxiously waiting for our friend to pick us up and drive us to the airport in Toronto. 


Five months after our first appointment at the aliyah office in Toronto, we were making Aliyah!!


We made aliyah through the Jewish Agency, long before Nefesh B’Nefesh came on the scene. Many people complained how difficult it was to work with the Jewish Agency, but the truth is, we didn’t have a minute’s problem. We found them very helpful. 


In those days, EL AL allowed each person making aliyah, three suitcases or boxes plus one carry on. We were three and we each had a carry on and 9 large boxes. One box had a microwave, another bedding.


When our friend arrived and saw what we were taking with us, the blood drained from his face. “Okay” he said, “let’s solve this puzzle and get everything and everyone in the car”. 


After several tries, success! We piled into the car and we were starting the first leg of our journey home. 


When I now think about all the boxes on the sidewalk, waiting to be put into the car, and the look on our friends face, all I can say is what was I thinking! We knew he just had a regular size car. 


At the airport, we were treated royally. The EL AL staff members were wonderful. They treated us like first class passengers. The porter labeled our boxes aliyah and said he would get them to the airplane. 


An EL AL clerk brought us to a private elevator to get to the boarding gate. Our papers were checked and we were the first on the airplane.


Truthfully, I was in awe. We had talked about making aliyah for years. Every year there was another excuse. Were we really making aliyah? Our two daughters who had been in Israel for years, our son-in-laws and three grandchildren were waiting for us to come home.


The time passed quickly and before we knew it the pilot was announcing our arrival at Ben Gurion in half an hour.


The stewardess asked us to remain on the plane and she would take us to the luggage area to collect our boxes and then to the passport control, so we wouldn’t have to wait.


Ben Gurion Airport, Lod, May 30, 6:00 a.m.


We had joined Tehilla, an aliyah group, and a representative was supposed to meet us and take us to get our Teudat Oleh. She was a no show. Somehow, we found our way, and made it to the klita office. 


The clerk was so impatient, although she was holding our Canadian passports, she typed that my son was born in Hamilton, Soviet Union and Avraham and myself, Montreal, Soviet Union. When we showed her the mistake, she wouldn’t correct it and told us that we had to go to the Interior Ministry in Jerusalem and they would correct it.


The Arrival Gate 7:00a.m. 


Finished with the paperwork, we waited for our children to pick us up. Needless to say, we were tired but very excited.  


After many hugs and kisses and Avraham got to meet our youngest grandson, 3 month old Michael, today an IDF soldier, Naomi said, “show me your Teudat Oleh, I can’t believe that you really made aliyah.” I couldn’t believe it either. We had come home!


One of our sons-in-law had a pick-up truck and so it was easy to put all our boxes in the truck. 


Our first home: Kibbutz Rosh Tzurim, Gush Etzion, where we lived for 6 years.


Our children were fantastic. They cleaned and painted the house and found second hand furniture for us to use until our lift arrived. Our 3 year old grandson Yoni, drew a beautiful picture and posted it on the front door. On the bottom of the picture it said ‘welcome home’!


We moved from very large hi rise-apartment in Hamilton to a small and cozy 55 meter house. At first, we tripped over each other until we each found our space. We lived 3 minutes from Naomi, Eliezer and our grandchildren. What a special treat to be able to visit them everyday. 


Devorah and Hagai lived in the South, a hour and half away. We spent our first Shabbat, on the Kibbutz with our children and grandchildren.  What a special blessing.


Naomi helped us at the Interior Ministry to get our paperwork corrected. What an experience. That’s a blog in itself for another time. 


Life was good.


I remember our first grocery store shopping trip. It was a nightmare. I didn’t know what I was buying.  


After a month, Avraham found full time work at the Kibbutz factory. He had to learn a new trade in Hebrew. He couldn’t speak Hebrew but fortunately, there was an American working in the factory and he helped with translations. Since Avraham is good with his hands, he learned the procedure quickly.


I worked in the preschool in Hamilton, and liked being with children. I found a part time job working with the babies in the Kibbutz daycare.  


Eli-Chaim was 12 years old, and we registered him in the local elementary mamad [religious] school. They had a program for olim [immigrate] children to learn Hebrew. In three months, my son was speaking like a native Israeli. Unbelievable. 


When we knew we were making aliyah for sure, I asked his Hebrew language teacher in Hamilton, to tutor him after school. It cost us a fortune, and he learned zip.


Several months after we had our feet on the ground, Avraham and I attended a morning ulpan [to learn Hebrew] in Jerusalem. We were fortunate that the kibbutz allowed us to keep our jobs and just work afternoons.


Three months after we made aliyah, we celebrated Eli-Chaim’s bar mitzvah at the Kotel. This was his dream.


Kibbutz life was interesting. Nothing that us city folk had ever experienced.  One morning, when my son woke up, there was a cow looking at him through the window. Seems, the barn was left open and the cows escaped. 


When Eli-Chaim was 6 years old, he asked my husband if he could get a dog. Avraham told him that we weren’t allowed dogs in the apartment but if we ever moved to a farm he would get him a dog.  How little did he know his words would come back to bite him.


A neighbour had a pregnant dog and Eli-Chaim asked her if he could have a puppy. She told him that he should ask one of his parents to come and see her and say it was okay.


That evening, when Avraham came home from work, Eli-Chaim said to him, “do you remember when I wanted a dog and you said if we ever move to a farm, you would get me one. Well the kibbutz is a big farm and I know where I can get a puppy.” Staying true to his word, Avraham went and said okay and a couple of months later little Rocky, a gentle, black long haired mutt became part of our family for 15 years until he died.


Six years later: We moved to Modi’in. 


Life was different in Modi’in. We rented a very nice new apartment but because the area was so new, the shopping centers they have today were just farm land. Modi’in was known as the city of the future and had gorgeous parks and green spaces. 


Avraham kept his job on the kibbutz and commuted everyday and I worked at an after school center teaching English. When it closed, I started tutoring at home teaching English as a second language and ran an enrichment program for native speakers. ‘English with Miriam’ was born.


We lived in Modi’in for 4 years.


Going South: first to Netivot. We were five minutes from Devorah and Hagai and more grandchildren.


Netivot is a wonderful place to raise a family. The city and residents are hamish [warm]. We enjoyed the seven years we lived there. We had all that we needed at our fingertips.


Five years ago we moved to Yishuv Ma’agalim where Devorah and Hagai and 7 of our grandchildren live.


Once again we are experiencing a different way of life. We are Ashkenazi. This yishuv is Sephardic made up of mostly Tunisians and Moroccans, The main shul [synagogue] is B’nei Akiva Sephardic and the small shul is Moroccan. Over the years we have learned about the different traditional customs.


Once again, the residents were very accepting of us and a little curious of my husband's Ashkenazi English / Hebrew siddur. 


There are 400 families and most people seem to know we are Devorah’s parents. Even people who live in the next moshav, will stop and give us a ride and ask me “how’s Devorah?”

Jews from all over the world make aliyah. Coming from Canada like we do or the United States, living in Israel is unique. Over the twenty-two years we have lived though many IDF operations and wars. 


There was the second intifada, when the suicide arabs bombers were blowing up buses, restaurants, anything that maimed and killed Israelis in the name of allah. My son was in Jerusalem when there was a terror attack at Ben Yehuda and suffered from shock.  


There was the second Lebanese war. The residents of the North were bombarded with missiles.


We live in the south, 9 km. from Gaza. We are Canadians, what do we know about war? Well, we have learned the different sounds war makes.The sounds of drones, tank fire, helicopters, jets, gun fire, wailing of the in-coming missile siren and rockets exploding. 


We have experienced 4 wars and IDF operations since we moved to the South. When the siren wails, we have 15 seconds to seek safety. We have had Grad missiles fired at our yishuv. Some exploding not far from where we lived.  


Rockets have exploded on the road where my grandchildren’s school bus travels to take them to school. I have seen my grandchildren being afraid to go to the park across the street from their house, because of rockets. Some of my grandchildren learn in bomb proof classrooms. Our youngest grandson was born during a rocket attack. His first sound in this world was the siren ringing and rockets exploding.


During the past 22 years we had much nachas and simchat in your lives. When we made aliyah we had 3 grandchildren. We have seen 10 more Sabra grandchildren born. We have celebrated bar and bat mitzvahs. We have watched our little grandchildren become young adults, attending and graduating from yeshiva and ulpana. Three of our grandsons have served or are serving now in the IDF. Another grandson is learning in Hesdar. Our oldest granddaughter served in Sherut Leumi [national service]. We had the honour of watching her get married and now we await for our first great-grandchild. 


Israel, is the land of my heart and home. We have been truly blessed.


That’s all for now.

Feel free to comment and share.
Miriam     

Thursday, December 3, 2015

So Much Pain Because the Dog Ran Out of His Yard...

בס''ד
We dog owners love our four legged furry pets. And as pet owners we know we have a responsibility to our pets:
-vaccinations
-medical care
-healthy food
-safe environment
-walking with a leash

We also have a responsibility to our neighbors and neighborhood:
-cleaning up after our dog
-not allowing our dog to run free
-not allowing our dog to jump and bite.

So why am I posting this blog? Most dog owners know their responsibility and are very responsible.

Last week, early in the morning, I went to take our Jack A Bee dog Patches for her morning walk. Patches always walks with a leash.

We were 5 steps from our house when a neighbor’s Belgian Shepherd ran from his yard and dashed down the street directly to us at full speed.

I started to scream, Patches pulled and jumped. The shepherd flew at her, banging into me. I lost my balance, fell down on the street and the dog pinned Patches flat on the street.

Patches did not have a chance to defend herself. Patches weighs around 20 kilos, the shepherd was double her size.

Fortunately, because we were outside my house, my husband heard me screaming and came running. Patches wears a harness and the Shepherd was holding onto the harness so tight that my husband could not pull her paws off the harness to release Patches.

Finally the dog’s owner came to help.  It took the two men to release the dog’s paws and free Patches.

He took his dog home, and Avraham and a neighbor who came out to see why I was screaming, helped me stand up. 

My heart was beating so fast. Truthfully, I don’t remember how I walked the few steps into my house.

Avraham went to examine Patches and my son led me to a chair. When I couldn’t sit down easily, I knew I was in trouble.

Our Injuries:

Patches:  Avraham examined her from head to toe and found no scratches or bites.

Me:  I wasn’t so fortunate. My knees were swollen and one knee was bleeding profusely. [It didn’t stop bleeding until the hospital treated it] My legs were also swollen and very bruised. Four knuckles on one hand had been scraped on the pavement and were painful to move.

When I tried to stand up, I couldn’t put any weight on my legs. I thought they were broken.  But my biggest concern was my heart.

While sitting on the chair, I had a hard time breathing and became very dizzy. 

Many of you know, I had a major heart attack last April and although I’m doing well, I’m still recovering.

My husband called a taxi and we went to Clalit [medical center]. [My son told me that Patches sat in the window and cried all the time I was gone]

The nurse saw me immediately. And after checking my blood pressure she called the doctor.

He ordered an electrocardiogram, and when he read the results, he said there were some changes that he didn’t like and told the nurse to call an ambulance for the hospital.

MDA [the paramedics] were wonderful. They hooked me up just in case I had a heart attack in the ambulance. They were ready for any emergency.

Soroka Medical Center in Beer Sheva is a very busy hospital. Their emergency room is always packed.

When I arrived at the emergency, I was attended to immediately. Since I didn’t have any chest pains, they sent me to the orthopedic section first.

Within 5 minutes, a nurse came, took my vitals and said the doctor would be in shortly. Two minutes later, 2 doctors came to see me. 

They examined my legs, and sent me for x-rays. The results were good..no broken bones.

In the meantime, the cardiologist was examining my EKG and reviewing my chart from the heart attack.  He said, my heart was okay, and that the changes that my doctor saw were the result of fear and anxiety.  

The nurse dressed my bleeding knee and wrapped an elastic bandage around my very swollen right leg and I was discharged.

All I wanted was my bed. Patchy, my loyal friend, parked herself beside me and didn’t move.

















8 days later:


I was still in extreme pain with difficulties to walk, sit down or stand up. I decided to go to the doctor just to make sure the pain I was feeling was normal pain.

It wasn’t…My doctor was horrified that I couldn’t stand up unaided and had to ‘jimmy’ myself up. He called the nurse to see if there was an orthopedic doctor in the building, fortunately there was and he called him. The doctor told my doctor to send me for x-rays and then I should come and see him.

The orthopedic doctor was wonderful. When he asked me what happened and I told him about the dog..his comment shocked me.  “Not again!”  Asking him what he meant, he told me that I would be shocked how many people are injured from dogs jumping on them.

He examined my legs very well and said that I have massive swelling which is the cause of the pain. He told me he was checking for fractures, and even though there weren’t any when the hospital checked.  He said sometimes, not often, they see fractures 48 hours later. Thank-G-D no fractures.  And then told me my pain can last up to month and I may need physiotherapy.

All this pain because a dog was able to get out of his yard.

But with all my pain I am also very thankful. The dog did not bite either of us. My heart is strong, no broken bones, and my husband was close by and was able to help me immediately.

That’s all for now
Feel free to comment and share.
Miriam

For your information:
-We notified all proper authorities. If you are attacked by a dog, you must make a police report.
-The dog had been vaccinated.
-The dog owners called to see how I was feeling.

From the SPCA Israel:
Rabies Vaccinations: an obligatory vaccine for all dogs when they are 3 months old, against the rabies disease which is contagious also to humans. The vaccination is given once a year. With the first rabies vaccine it is obligatory to inject an electronic chip into the dog, which is done only once in the dog's life. 

The Ministry of Agriculture is responsible for veterinary services in Israel. They told me that it is against the law for dogs to be unleashed on public streets and land. 

Violent breeds must be muzzled when outside. 

There are heavy fines for:
-an unleashed dog 
-no registration and electronic chip 
-not giving the rabies vaccine 

Let the Animals Live told me that their legal department said fines varies from municipality to municipality running between from 250 nis to 750 nis and a dog that isn’t vaccinated can be impounded.

If you have a dog that you can’t care for anymore, please do not abandon it. Bring your pet to a shelter. Israel has several. SPCA, Let the Animals Live, Rescue Me! Each has a web site.

The ministry posted this article about a court case against a man who cruelly abandoned his dog. 

http://www.moag.gov.il/agri/English/Ministrys+Units/Spokesmanship+and+Publicity+Department/publications/abandonment_of_a_dog.htm

This was the penalty for abandonment imposed by the court. The maximum penalty in the law for the offense of animal abandonment is a year’s imprisonment or a fine of NIS 76,500.

If you have any questions about pet regulations and laws in your area, contact the moetza [regional council ].

Monday, November 9, 2015

Enough!

בס''ד
As I update my tehillim list of Israelis wounded from arab terror attacks my only thought is..why is this list is getting longer and longer. Why isn’t anyone doing more to put an end to arab terror for once and for all?

ENOUGH! 

In an article on Israel National News  MDA workers saved the lives of 159 people who were wounded in car attacks, stabbings, and shootings. Of these, 21 were severely wounded, 5 moderately-to-severely, 22 moderately, and 111 lightly wounded. These numbers include 51 people who were injured in rock attacks. Another 72 people have been treated for trauma. 

A young Border Police Officer, 19 years old, wounded last week in a car ramming attack at Tzomet Halhoul near Hevron, died last night from his injuries. He is the 12th fatality since October when this round of terror started.. May his blood be avenged!.  

This brings the death toll to 12. 

I know that the world revolves around politics and concessions are made all the time.  I always thought elected leaders and their government are supposed to protect their citizens. This is their first responsibility.  

We have a ‘right wing’ government, a very strong army and still the terror continues day in and day out.

We are treating terrorists with kid gloves. True, the IDF now has orders to shoot to kill terrorist when they commit a terror act and many terrorists have been killed or seriously injured. Even this is not deterring the terrorists.

Lately, we have seen many women terrorists.  Why? Because male terrorists are really cowards. They use their wives, sisters and even grandmothers as human shields. They plan the attacks, teach their women how to perform and then send her out to do a terror attack and be killed by the IDF. All the while they ‘hide behind the woman’s skirt’ and collect the bundle of money.

We need our courts to protect Israelis, not the terrorists. Terrorist's homes must be destroyed immediately. Social government benefits must be stopped. Arab movement within the country must be curtailed, even for those with Israeli identity papers. 

I want our government not to care about what the world says. I want them to apply sovereignty in Yehuda and Shomron. Let the world know this land is our land not arab land.  And if the world wants to scream at us, so be it. 

I’m not a political maven and I don’t pretend to have the answer. All I have are my prayers.

I’m a wife, a mother and a safta of 13 precious Sabra grandchildren and I worry about their future.

I pray that Hashem give our leaders the wisdom and the strength to protect our nation. May He watch over all our chayalim and chayalot and keep them safe.

That’s all for now. Feel free to comment and share.

Miriam   

Friday, October 23, 2015

Longing For a Quiet Day..

בס''ד
Those of you who live in Chutz L’Aretz [outside of Israel] and are keeping up with the news from Israel, are aware that there has been many serious arab terror attacks not just in Yehuda and Shomron but also in Tel Aviv, Raanana, Beer Sheva, Bet Shemesh, Afula and Jerusalem all Israeli cities.

The arabs have different methods of attacking Israelis. They stab with very sharp knives, hoping to cause maximum injuries or death, they ram their cars into pedestrians waiting at bus stops, they shoot, throw boulders and molotov firebombs at passing cars, they infiltrate into kibbutzim  and yishuvim and of course don’t forget rockets and missiles fired at the south.

Terrorist are getting younger and younger. Thirteen, fifteen, seventeen and up these children are emotionally abused by family, teachers and clerics from birth until adulthood. They are brainwashed to hate Jews and Israelis.

In kindergarten, they sing and do plays about killing Jews. They have a dress-up corner and pretend they are Hamas fighters. The summer is spent in Terror Camp, with more brainwashing learning how to kill.

Warning..the next two videos are nauseating. 

Tell me, if this is normal? Young arab men are asked what they want to do to Jews.

Or this?
"I want to stab a Jew", a young preschool girl tells her father. And he answers her, "Allah willing, my dear."

Last week, a thirteen year old arab and his fifteen year old cousin stabbed a thirteen year old Jewish boy driving his bike. The boy is supposed to have his bar-mitzvah next month. Today he lies in a hospital bed still critical.

And the terrorist..the 13 year old was run over by a citizen when he was fleeing. He was taken to Hadassa Ein Karen hospital in Jerusalem, where he received superb care. His 15 year old cousin was captured by the IDF.

Oh, by the way this is the boy that Abbas said was murdered in cold blood.

Does he look dead to you? He looks pretty much alive to me. 

And the other morning, another 15 year old arab girl tried to infiltrate into a yishuv in the Shomron. 

Fortunately, our IDF chayalim were able to stop her before she caused any injuries.

We had a serious attack at the Central Bus Station in Beer Sheva where a young soldier was murdered and 10 were injured..

A man from Kiryat Arba was murdered after his car was stoned with boulders. For some reason he got out of the car and was ambushed by a truck who ran back and forth over him.

Today [Thursday], two terrorists in Ramat Bet Shemesh tried to get onto a school bus filled with children. The driver didn’t let them on and drove away.  Being persistent, they then tried to get onto a second bus. The driver once again drove away. They then tried to enter a shul [synagogue] where they stabbed a young man as the police were arriving. The police shot them.

We have had many IDF chayalim and chayalot [soldiers] shot, stabbed or run over while protecting us. Some are now stable and others are still in critical condition.

These terror attacks I have mentioned are just the tip of the list. Mentioning all would fill many pages.

*Tova Goldman posted an excellent blog on the Times of Israel called Terror is Personal Have a look!

Reading the blog, Tova's words struck me. Terror is personal. My married daughters go to work every morning, their children go to school or college. They are out and about living their lives and Arabs are everywhere. 

On Tuesday, there was terror attack in Gush Etzion [near Jerusalem] 5 minutes from where my daughter lives and works. The attack happened at the time when she leaves work.

The first time I called her she didn’t answer, nor the second time. Where was she? My heart was beating so fast. Five minutes later, she called and said she and my grandson were okay. Why didn’t she answer, because she was looking for her son who passes this corner around this time. 

My other daughter told me today that when she goes to work, she has to pass several bus loads of arabs who work on construction sites in Netivot and are waiting to be picked up. 

I shudder to think, any one of these arabs could sneak away and G-D forbid do a terrorist attack in the city. 

And don’t get me started on missiles. My husband, son and I live on the same yishuv 9kms from Gaza. [about 5 ½ miles] as our daughter, son-in-law and their 7 children.

Three of their children go to school 2 km from Gaza. Missiles have exploded on the road their school bus takes and in their schoolyard. Several years ago, a school bus travelling this road was hit by a missile and a teenage boy was killed.

The missile fired Wednesday evening, exploded not far from their school. 

Other granddaughters go to the Ulpana in Sderot. Sderot has seen thousands of rockets over the years. Our youngest grandson goes to gan [kindergarten] on our yishuv. Missiles have exploded on and near our yishuv.

We have grandchildren in school and yeshiva in Gush Etzion, where there have been many terror attacks.

And so you see the terror attacks are really personal.

When is this round of terror going to end? That’s the question of the day.

May all the injured have a refuah shelaima [speedy recovery].

That’s all for now.  Feel free to comment and share.
Miriam 

*Thank-you Bracha Goldman for giving me permission to mention Tova.

Postscript: As of today, October 25th. MDA has summarized the ongoing wave of terror by noting that 10 people have been murdered and 127 injured. Of the wounded victims, 14 were badly injured, 19 moderately wounded, and 94 lightly wounded. In addition, 65 people were treated for trauma.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Arab Terror in my Country

בס''ד
“Aren’t you afraid to live in Israel” is the most common question I get these days from my friends on Facebook who live in Chutz L'Aretz [outside of Israel].

They continue, “It’s so dangerous, the Arabs want to kill you. Aren’t you afraid to go outside. What about your grandchildren, aren’t you afraid for them. Why don’t you go back to Canada for awhile.”

My answer to each question is the same. “We are not afraid. Israel is our homeland. Twenty-one years ago, my husband, son and I came home from Canada [our daughter’s came a few years earlier to attend a one year seminary program, fell in love with the country and didn’t come back to Canada] and we will never allow anyone to chase us out of our homeland.

We have faith in Hashem that He will protect us and we have faith in our army, the IDF, who serve our country with pride and honour.” Presently, we have a grandson serving in a tank unit. Two other grandsons have finished their services and are now reservists. 

I pray that Hashem will watch over each and every chayal and chayalot [soldiers] and keep them safe.

My family and I have lived in the Negev, in the South for the past ten years. We live 9km [about 5 ½ miles] from Gaza. We have been the recipient of many Grad Missiles. Some exploding not far from our home.

We hear IAF jets and helicopters pretty regularly, the drone buzzes in our ear for hours. We hear the booms from Gaza and we hear our IDF responding when an arab tries to infiltrate the security fence and get into one of the border kibbutzim.

Truth be told, we love the South and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

We haven’t any special self defense training. We follow the instructions of our army and Pikud H'Oref [Israel Home front].

We don’t allow Hamas terror to keep us from doing what we need to do. We take taxis, buses and tremp [hitchhike].

We keep our eyes and ears open and on occasion have called the police when we saw a large package left unattended. 

Fortunately, each package was not a bomb. The police told us they would rather be called for nothing, than allow a package to blow and cause possible injuries.

Many years ago, when we lived not far from Jerusalem, my then 17 year old son was in a terror attack on the Ben Yehuda promenade in Jerusalem. He lost a friend that day and had glass slivers in his neck.

The next day, he told me that he wanted to go back to the terror site. He said that Jerusalem is our city and if I’m afraid to go to Jerusalem, the terrorist win. He was right, we let him go.

As I post this blog, Jerusalem has seen three serious arab terror attacks in the past couple of hours. 

Innocent Israelis, going about their business stabbed and or shot. Why you ask? Because they are Jews and Israelis. One 13 year old boy was riding his bike when the terrorist attacked him. He is now fighting for his life. Is this normal?

We have a democratically elected government and I pray that Hashem gives them the wisdom and strength to use a strong hand to end this terror, whatever that may entail and not worry about the outside world, what Obama will say, the UN [Useless Nations], or the EU. 

We have every right to defend ourselves like every other country in the world would do. No government anywhere would allow their citizens to be under attack day and night.

That’s all for now. Feel free to comment and share.

Miriam 

Postscript:

Tuesday, October 13th 2:00 p.m.
Today has been a horrible day.I just posted on my Face book page the following.

Baruch Dayan Emet
Refuah Shelayma to the injured
Hashem we need you!
5 attacks this morning
3 Jews murdered
27 wounded
When is this terror going to stop!   

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Miracle of Life...

בס''ד
Posting a blog was not on my agenda for today. As I was cooking for Shabbat and thinking about the chagim, I felt I had to put 'pen to paper' so to speak and post.

As we have done the past four years since moving to Ma’agalim, we davened [prayed] for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur at the Chabad house on our Yishuv.

Rav Lior Malka and his Rebbetzin Denise are warm and caring people, who have lived in Ma’agalim for many years. 

For Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur they open their home and organize an Ashkenazi minyan. Their hospitality makes you feel very welcomed. 

The two Batei Knissiot [synagogues]  in Ma’agalim both have a Sephardic minyan.

I have always loved the chagim but this year Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur proved to be even more meaningful to me. Many times I was deep in thought. The tefillah [prayers] took on so much meaning, especially Unetaneh Tokef.

On Rosh Hashanah it is written, and on Yom Kippur it is sealed.
How many will pass and how many will be created?
Who will live and who will die?
Who in their time, and who not their time?
Who by fire and who by water?
Who by sword and who by beast?
Who by hunger and who by thirst?
Who by earthquake and who by drowning?
Who by strangling and who by stoning?
Who will rest and who will wander?
Who will be safe and who will be torn?
Who will be calm and who will be tormented?
Who will become poor and who will get rich?
Who will be made humble and who will be raised up?

But teshuvah [repentance] and tefillah [prayer] and tzedakah [charity] avert the severity of the decree.

This moving tefilliah, brought tears down my cheeks. Erev Pesach, after my serious heart attack the doctor told me he wasn’t sure I would recover. I almost died that day. My doctors were Hashem’s messengers and Hashem healed me and gave me Bracha of life. I will be forever grateful.

I found this moving rendition sung by a Chabad chazzan. At the end he explains in English the meaning and how this prayer became such an important part of the davening.  Unetane Tokef

We take life for granted. We get up in the morning, go about our business, whether to school, work and or just loafing around and not give it a second thought. At the end of the day we go to sleep and next morning, start the cycle again.

But when serious illness strikes and life becomes upside down, we see things differently. Things we have taken for granted, we realize only happen because of The Hand of Hashem.

May this new year 5776, be a year filled with good health and all who are sick be cured.

We now are getting ready for the next [holiday] Sukkot. Seven days of joy ending with Simchat Torah [receiving the Torah]. We will shake the *lulov and *etrog, eat in our *succah and share happy times with family and friends. 

Enjoy, Enjoy, Enjoy!

Shana Tovah.

That’s all for now. Feel free to comment and share.
Miriam

Lulav and Etrog       
Succah   

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Where Did the Years Go?

בס''ד
Shavua Tov!

This Shabbat, was my father Louis Small [Eliezer David ben Chana v’Yitzchak] HaKohen a"H 35th yarhtzeit and in his memory I would like to dedicate this blog to him. My father left us and this world on September 9th, 1980 / 28th Elul 5740.

My dad was a wonderful man. He was a great husband, a super father and a loving grandfather. He was kind. He was good natured and he really cared about the next person. He would give you the shirt off his back, if that was what you needed.

Our family was the most important part of his life.

My father cared about the community we lived in. He spent countless hours working on fund raisers for the young shul[synagogue] [Young Israel of Chomedey] that our community wanted to build.

My father was a food chemist and would love to look at new products on the shelves in grocery stores.

When my brother and I were children, he was always there for us. No matter the situation. He would do anything for his children.

My dad would speak softly, but directly to us, never down at us. When I had a problem we would go for a walk or a drive in the country and talk all the way. He made every problem seem not so bad.

My dad and I did the dishes together every evening. He would ask me about my day in school. I cherished those few minutes. My dad taught me to work ‘clean’ and always have a clean kitchen.

My daddy would help me with my homework. One time, when I was ten years old, I had a geography project from school. I had to make a scrapbook about each province in Canada and write what it was known for. Now I had weeks to get this project done, but I procrastinated and before I knew it the project was due. I had information only on one province.

It was late at night and I couldn't sleep. I was so worried about the trouble I was in. At ten o'clock in the evening, I finally told my parents my problem. My father was really upset with me, but he told me that he would try and help me out and that I should go to sleep. 

A few minutes later he was out of the house and drove to the train station. Since we lived in Montreal, The Canadian National Railways had a very large station underneath the Queen Elizabeth Hotel that was opened all the time. My father was able to get me great information on every province. 

Five o'clock in the morning, he woke me up and said, "here is your information, now get to work." I worked like I never worked in my life. By eight thirty, when I had to go to school, my project was more than half finished. I told my teacher that I would hand in my project after lunch.

In those days, we came home for lunch. I finished my project while munching on a sandwich. I couldn't believe it. My project was completed. I thanked my father a million times for getting me the information that I needed. I promised him that I would never procrastinate again. To this very day, I never procrastinate.

And when I was a Kallah [bride], he came to me just before the badeken and asked me if I was sure Avraham was the man I wanted to spend my life with. When I told you I was sure, he and my Mom a”H made us a real prince and princess wedding.

I still remember when Avraham called my Dad in the middle of the night to say I was in labour and asked him to drive me to the hospital because he was too nervous to drive.

And when his first grandchild was born, he was the proudest Zeidi  [grandfather] in the world.  

Daddy, even though so many years have passed, I remember our last days together, as if it were just today. It was Moetzi Shabbos, the night of Selichot. For some reason I just felt the need to cook for Yom Tov [holidays]. I went to Selichot, and when I came home I just couldn't go to bed, so I cooked all night. 

Eight o'clock Sunday morning Mommy called and said that you had a heart attack during the night and that I should come to Montreal. I told her I would get the next flight out. I then understood what I was feeling all night. By Sunday afternoon, I was at your bedside. Yitzchak arrived from Detroit a couple of hours later. We spent as much time as the hospital would allow us to visit with you and talk to your doctors. 

Tuesday morning you told Mommy that you wanted to speak to each of us alone. You somehow knew you were dying, but you didn't say so. You told me to go home and be with my family for Yom Tov. Yom Tov was Wednesday night. When I protested that my family was in good hands, you told me not to argue, and that I could come back after Yom Tov. What I didn't realize was that you were saying good-bye.

With a heavy heart, Yitzchak and I returned to our respective homes. From Montreal to Hamilton the flight is a little over an hour. I arrived in Hamilton in time to go and pick up the girls from school.

As we entered the hall of our apartment building, I could hear the phone ringing. It was Mommy, saying that you had just passed away. Two hours later, Yitzchak and I were on our way back to Montreal.

My father's funeral was the next day, Erev Rosh Hashana. We sat shiva for 1 hour and in that hour I heard so many stories from people I didn’t know about his generosity and how he quietly helped so many people. 

Daddy, I know you and Mommy are watching over us from above. I want you both to know that your grandchildren have all grown up to be wonderful parents. Baruch Hashem, you have over fifty plus great-grandchildren. 

We all love you and miss you!

I would like to wish everyone Shana Tovah Ktivah V'Chatima Tovah . May this new year be a year full of Brachot, good health, happiness and nachas.

That's all for  now. Feel free to share and comment.
Miriam   

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Coffee Talk Ladies and our Face 2 Face.

בס''ד
This is just a short blog to tell you about our get together we had last night.

About 4 or 5 years ago, several early risers would greet each other every morning with a good morning wish and shared a virtual cup of coffee. And so ‘The Coffee Talk ladies’ Facebook group was born. The idea was conceived by Chaya  O………… Thank-you Chaya for your terrific idea.

We are a private group of 36 ladies, mostly olim who have been in Israel from anywhere from a couple of years to 45 years.

On our page we have discussions. We discuss everything from women’s issues, to recipes, to politics to religious matters. We share family photos, post links to important shuirim, articles and blogs. We have several excellent bloggers. 

Our group is a real sisterhood. When someone needs tehillim or prayers said, they post the name and know tehillim and prayers will be said. 

Today, the women from Jerusalem, Bet Shemesh, Beer Sheva, Ramat Gan, [Netivot and Ma’agalim locals] travelled to the Southern city of Netivot.

Most of the women who joined this group were strangers but it didn’t take long before we became ‘friends’. A suggestion was made to meet Face 2 Face. 

Our first meeting was brunch in Yerushalayim. We have also met in Shilo, the home of the Mishkan, and to show support to the south with all the rockets and missiles being fired, the ladies came to Netivot for lunch. We have been to Netanya and this time again in Netivot. 

Part of the group met at the home of Esther R......., who accompanied the ladies to the grave site of the Baba Sali, who was the leading Moroccan Sephardi Rabbi and Kabbalist, where the women said Tehillim.  

We then all met up at a cafe for supper.  It was very nice seeing everyone again and catching up. The time passed quickly, our Face 2 Face was over and a wonderful time was had by all.  

To the ladies who couldn't make our gathering, we missed you and hope to see you next time.
___________________________
As a side note, I would like to tell you about my newest blog / newsletter Patchy’s World, featuring pet information, interesting articles, photos and much more. If you have a chance, have a look and feel free to comment and share.  Patchy's World!

That's all for now.

Miriam   

Monday, July 13, 2015

Avenging The Slaughter of the Innocent.

בס''ד
In the wee hours of tomorrow morning, my grandson Gilad and his classmates will embark on their emotional eight day trip to Poland to tour the concentration camps and visit the cities and ghettos where Jews lived and were slaughtered by the Nazis.

The boys have been well prepared. Last year in their Shoah [Holocaust] studies they visited *Yad Vashem, meet survivors, and learnt all about the atrocities before and during World War II. 

*Yad Vashem (Hebrew: יָד וַשֵׁם) is Israel's official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, established in 1953 through the Yad Vashem Law passed by the Knesset, Israel's parliament.

Yad Vashem is located on the western slope of Mount Herzl on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem and adjacent to the Jerusalem Forest.. The memorial consists of a 180-dunam (18.0 ha; 44.5-acre) complex containing the Holocaust History Museum, memorial sites such as the Children's Memorial and the Hall of Remembrance. 

Museum of Holocaust Art, sculptures, outdoor commemorative sites such as the Valley of the Communities, a synagogue, a research institute with archives, a library, a publishing house, and an educational center.
Yad Vashem

Once in Poland, the boys protected by Israeli security agents, have been instructed to be proud Jews. They were told to wear their kipot with pride and those who keep their tzitzit out should continue to do so.

Their first stop will be Treblinka. [Treblinka  was an extermination camp, built by the Nazis, located near the village of  Treblinka north-east of Warsaw in what is now the Masovian Voivodeship. The camp operated between 23 July 1942 and 19 October 1943 as part of Operation Reinhard, the most deadly phase of the Final Solution]
Treblinka

Shabbat will be spent in Lodz, which is the third-largest city in Poland. Located in the central part of the country, Prior to World War II Lodz’s Jewish community numbered around 233,000 and accounted for one-third of the city's total population.

It was easy to distinguish between non-Jew and Jew because on November 16, 1939 the nazi’s had ordered Jews to wear an armband on their right arm. The armband was the precursor to the yellow Star of David badge which was soon to follow on December 12, 1939.

The community was entirely wiped out in the Shoah. By the end of the war, the city and its environs had lost approximately 420,000 of its pre-war inhabitants, including approximately 300,000 Polish Jews 120,000 other Poles.
Lodz  

Their last stop will be in Auschwitz. Auschwitz concentration camp  was a network of German nazi concentration  and extermination camps built and operated by the Third Reich in Polish areas annexed by nazi Germany during World War II. It consisted of Auschwitz I (the original camp), Auschwitz II–Birkenau (a combination concentration/extermination camp), Auschwitz 111-Monowitz (a labor camp to staff an IG Farben factory), and 45 satellite camps.
Auschwitz

My great-grandparents and my husband’s mother’s parents and other family members on both sides of our family were murdered during pogroms between WW1 and WW2. Their crime..they were Jews.

Gilad and our older grandson Yoni, who visited the camps about 6 years ago, are avenging the murder of the innocent. Both boys are ben Torah and they are telling the Nazis we won, you lost. We live in Eretz Yisrael.

At each camp, Kaddish will be said and the names of slaughtered remembered. 

A cousin of mine found the names of her family members murdered in the Shoah through a search through the archives of Yad Vashem. Gilad will have their names remember in kaddish and tehillim.

Returning to Israel, their emotional trips ends at the Kotel in Yerushayalim. The boys will daven, sing, dance and understand the privilege they have living in our Jewish homeland.

Am Yisrael Chai! 

That’s all for now.
Feel free to comment and share
Miriam   

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Wonderful 'Settlers' of the Negev...

בס''ד

The Golden Age or The Third Generation are fancy titles referring to anyone over 60. In plain language senior citizens.

Becoming a Golden Ager is a very special Bracha.  It is not something we should take for granted. Being able to see our children grown-up, becoming parents themselves and living productive lives brings joy to our hearts. 

And grandchildren and great-grandchildren….the joy is a blog all by itself. 

Being over 60, I was invited to join our moetza, Sdot Negev [regional council] seniors group. The group offers friendships, creative activities, jewelry making, ceramics, painting, music, Torah shiurim and outings. There is an exercise class, two delicious meals are served and door to door mini bus service.

I have always been interested in ceramics and jewelry making and so I decided to give it a try. And so bright and early yesterday morning at 8:15 the mini bus picked me up and I was on my way.

Arriving at the moadon [community building], I was greeted by Shira a very sweet counselor who showed me around. When Shira introduced me to some of the women who had already arrived and told them that I speak English, immediately one lady said, I want to learn English, then another and another.  

I joined the table of ladies and we spoke a little about ourselves, me murdering Hebrew and they breaking their teeth to speak English. Somehow, we understood each other. 

Coffee and then breakfast was served and the other staff who co-ordinate this program came to introduce themselves and say hello to me. Everyone was so very warm and friendly. I felt very comfortable.

As I looked around the room, I felt in awe. Here were the real settlers of the Negev.

Sitting with me were men and women who were born in Israel many, many years before the modern state was recognized. Others were olim from Morocco, Tunisia, Yemen, Iraq, Iran and Egypt. They left their birth home, most being kicked out by cruel arab governments who stole their land and property and they traveled by boat  and settled in Eretz Yisrael.

There any many heroic and terrifying stories of how these brave people escaped with just the clothes on their back.

Our early government’s history of receiving these olim is not a nice story. The treatment they received by the elites was shameful. They were treated as second class citizens and sent to live in a barren and desolate area known as the Negev.

The olim brought with them their traditions, their food, their music, their Rabbanim and above all, their love for Eretz Yisrael, the Jewish homeland. They raised families. Having ten, eleven, twelve and thirteen children was not unusual. Everyone had their chores.

They went about settling the land. Not having the modern farming tools that we have today, they worked with their hands from sunrise to sunset. They plowed and planted fields, started kibbutzim and moshavim. They built homes, cheders  [religious schools], schools, Beit Knessets [synagogues]. They became businessmen and tradesmen. They welcomed guests with a warm Shalom Aleichem, a kiss on the cheeks, and food. 

With a Bracha from Hashem, the settlers of the Negev did the impossible. They settled the Negev, this dry sandy, barren, desolate land was blooming. Green, green land with fields and fields of wheat and vegetables as far as the eye can see. The sweet smells of fruit orchards and flower gardens permeate the air. 

From small farming communities, developmental towns and cities were built. People from other areas of Israel were moving to the Negev.

As I look around at all the seniors in the room I have the utmost respect for them and want to say thank-you. Thank-you for your hard work in settling our land.  The Negev has been my families home for the past 10 years.. Thank-you for making the Negev a wonderful place to call home.

That’s all for now.
Feel free to comment and share.
Miriam