David just read my last blog and pointed out to me that it was Saddam Hussein and NOT Nebechudnezzer who spent $600 million to re-create Babylon in Iraq. Guess I don't proofread my blogs so well. I didn't mean to confuse anyone who might be easily confused (like me, if I were reading it in someone else's blog...).
Oh, well, while I'm here I may as well write a few words. I still have some homework to do but it can wait a little while. It looks like I'll have to look up quite a few words to answer the questions about the 3 paragraphs we read about Anne Frank's life. The Holocaust is actually commemorated here on the 10th of Tevet as opposed to celebrating it on Yom Hashoa out there in chutz l'aretz sometime in April or May. Shelley in our ulpan class described the production yesterday that her son's school put on, and how proud she was to be living in Israel and to be such an integral part of the Jewish people. All the children held hands and sang about the million children who were murdered during World War II, and Shelley said it was very moving and all the parents were crying.
I spent a lot of time doing that myself today. Without going into detail, someone I care very much about back in the states is having a really rough time and there's nothing I can do or say to help. David actually called me before the hefseka (break) in ulpan and told me to head out to a bus stop. We took the bus into Yerushalayim and spent some time at the kotel, davening. I haven't been there in awhile and I really poured my heart out to Hashem. For some reason, there were thousands of tourists (more or less) there today, and several very loud Sephardi bar mitzvahs - the place was packed. It was actually nice to see so many people there. We walked through the Old City and out the Jaffa Gate up Yaffo Street when we were finished. There's so much construction going on - as we stood outside the gate I counted at least 10 cranes where new buildings were going up. David and I had a nice lunch together before heading home.
Poor Emma. When I came in the door, the first thing I noticed was the phone by the kitchen on the floor. And Emma wasn't waiting at the door, shaking with happiness and wagging her tail a hundred miles an hour to greet me. I called her but she didn't come. David had closed two of the bedroom doors and the bathroom doors, so I went into our bedroom (the only open room outside of the kitchen and salon, and after a minute, Emma crept out from under the bed with her tail between her legs. I suspect she had pulled on the phone cord and the phone had fallen on her, or else when she pulled it down it made a loud noise and scared her. As soon as I got her outside, she was so happy, she went spastic - running so fast in circles and all around the park I could barely follow her with my eyes. She keeps things lively.
David went to a shul this evening that we've only davened at a time or two to try it out. They have a new evening learning program and he came home really happy and excited about it. You would think with all the many shuls around here that it would be easy finding a place for yourself, but many people have trouble finding exactly the atmosphere they're looking for, whether it's davening or learning. I've been wanting David to get back into some Torah learning, and I know he wanted the same thing. Now he feels like he's finally found what he's looking for. There are lots of learning opportunities available, even a class on How To Learn Gemara, which David has been asking Hashem for for a long time. The rabbi who organized the program (who just made aliyah from LA in September), sat and spoke with him for 45 minutes about an individualized program for him. What a difference it makes when someone takes an interest in what you need!
David also ran into someone this morning in shul who works for a company he'd really like to work for. This guy was very positive about helping him find something, and even suggested that David ride the train with him one day soon to the company in Ramat Gan (outside Tel Aviv) and he could introduce him to some people. It might be just the way to get a foot in the door. The learning and the parnassah are two major things that David's been davening for lately, and it seems to be finally coming together.
Why is it that for some of us, good things just keep happening, and for others - it seems just the opposite? I spoke with another good friend this evening from St. Louis, and she's another person having a hard time. It hurts so much to hear about the challenges in other peoples' lives: the loneliness, the unhappiness, the fears. I guess we just have to keep turning to the Ribbono Shel Olam. If only we knew when we were younger that in later years we'd want to turn the clock back and do things so differently - maybe we'd live our lives differently when we're younger. Then it wouldn't take everything we've got when we're older trying to fix what we messed up in the first place. But, then again; that's what life is all about. Learning and fixing and changing and hopefully growing from it all. He sure likes to test us, doesn't He?