Saturday, August 30, 2008

Been reading Angela's Ashes thought it was a holocaust story turned out to be a memoir about a boy named Frankie grew up poor in Ireland around the time of world war II. How can anyone live on tea and fried bread three of his siblings starved to death didn't make it until the age of three. Frankie must have made it somehow grew up to write the book. Here in Israel too much poverty one third of all children with growling stomachs when they go to bed wake up in the morning and nothing in the frig. No food patches on their clothes shame in their hearts.


They don't know no shame in not having G-d gives to each of us our own. Those who have think it's theirs we fill our stomachs eat too much don't think about who lack. We overeat our stomachs full our neshamas gasping growling nothing to put in.

Sitting on chair with hand outstretched their eyes beseech guilty we reach for a coin. Avoid the eyes drop in the money don't see the arm attached to a body like you and me. Does G-d drop gifts and walk away not wait and worry and soothe. He sits besides us gives and gives and gives smiles hugs and comforts shows us how.

I learn struggle to understand nothing mine. Share the gifts food money smile shake the hand look into their eyes. Fill my neshama stomachs don't need much hearts yearning. Make Him proud.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Did I ever mention how beautiful it is in Jerusalem after dark? Tonight I worked until 8:45. When I walked out of the building, there was a wonderfully cool breeze blowing. Walking through the back streets of Bais Yisroel, a pretty hareidi (religious) neighborhood, I saw many people out in the streets: groups of girls with their heads bent together, giggling and talking as they walked; young men and boys striding purposefully, husbands sitting or standing outside their back doors speaking loudly into their cell phones as their arms gesticulated wildly; young mothers pushing baby strollers, pre-adolescents playing on the sidewalks. As I wound my way onto the bustling street of Shmuel Hanavi, I saw that many of the shops along the street were still open for business at this late hour. Some were closing up, but the aromas of falafel and pizza from every third doorway was still in the air. Here, too, the sidewalks were bustling with people and there was a constant stream of traffic in both directions.

I approached a bus stop where I frequently wait for a connecting bus to the one that will take me home. Normally, in the heat of the day I wait fruitlessly for a #2 or a #10 that never come in time to get me to where I need to go when I need to get there. This time, however, the #10 pulled up just as I was sauntering past. Even though I knew my bus home wouldn't be leaving the takanah merkazit until 9:15 and would take at least ten minutes to get to the bus stop I would be waiting at, I still jumped on the #10 and arrived at my destination two minutes later. Taking a chance, I called David at home and asked him to look up the bus schedule for me. I knew that they had changed some of the times and added more frequent bus service recently and Baruch Hashem! A 9 PM bus had been added. Within a few minutes a nearly empty 143 pulled up to take me home.

Once we get past the machson (checkpoint) at Pisgat Ze'ev, the driver turns off the inner lights of the bus, and once again I marvel at the clear, starry skies (that we have
every single night from early Spring until late Autumn). There are so many sparkling lights from the different communities on all the hilltops as we wend our way home. It's hard to believe that so many people live out here in the desert hills north of Yerushalayim. Wherever I might be living in this Land, I will always believe that it's the most beautiful place in the world. And I will always be grateful to my Creator for blessing me with the schus (merit) to live here.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I neglected to mention that David's blog is located at www.noshwithfriends.com. He's just starting out, but I think his first (real) post is pretty good!
Surprise! I'm already back again. It's late motzei Shabbat and I have a little more energy than I did yesterday before Shabbos started. After two days of running to the bathroom with the "d" word, and running a slight fever on and off, I feel much better. It might have helped that Miryam and Rachel showed up this afternoon and we played about 3 hours of mahj!

So there's a lot of excitement in the air in my neck of the woods. I can't really say what it is yet but suffice it to say that someone's son we know is about to propose to someone's daughter we know. Everyone knows it but the soon-to-be-kallah (bride). The soon-to-be chosson (groom) went to the girl's parents and actually asked their permission! As if everyone didn't already know that it was just a matter of time. So now two families that we're friends with are going to be related and everybody is happy (including Miryam who will have a new grandson-in-law). Okay, enough said. Or maybe too much.

Getting back to the topic at the end of yesterday's post - last week a family on the yishuv sponsored Rabbi Pinchas Winston to come speak. There were about 25 of us who went to hear him (this was the evening before the Bloggers Convention - we actually went out two nights in a row!). If you've never read any of Rav Winston's books or heard him speak, he's absolutely amazing. His new book Geulah B'Rachamim is a MUST READ for every Jew. It's published by Shaar Nun Publishers and it's a small but powerful paperback.

Rav Winston says that the time of geulah (redemption) is very close. He says the geulah can come b'rachamim (with compassion or mercy) or by a very terrible war called the war of Gog v'Magog where very many people will die. He said that no matter how many mitzvot we have accumulated, in the latter scenario they will not save us as individuals. But - we as the Jewish people have the power to bring the geulah b'rachamim! All it takes is a change of heart! There are many places in our teachings that tell us we have to yearn for redemption. We don't have to necessarily make aliyah. but we have to want the land more than we want our expensive and comfortable cars and homes and clothes and status. He says that the Jews in chutz l'aretz (outside the land of Israel) are sometimes so far away from Yiddishkeit that they don't even know they should be yearning! I know I'm not doing his talk justice - please buy this book and read it for yourselves. It's 60 lessons (one short page a day) for turning around what could be a terrible and frightening war for ALL OF US.

Okay, tomorrow is the start of a new week so I need to get to bed. Hopefully I'll be up to going to Curves tomorrow morning, and then get to work by 1 (tomorrow's my late night). Have a wonderful week!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Jewish bloggers everywhere - unite! That was the feeling Wednesday night at the first International Jewish Bloggers Convention held at the Nefesh B'Nefesh office in Givat Shaul. Although the convention lasted only a few short hours, it packed a punch heard the world over (well, maybe not the entire world but a good part of the western side of it). There were 201 live partcipants and we were told there were 1000 more linked to a live web feed. I say 201 because they announced that there were 200 and we managed to get them to allow David in even though they didn't have his registration.

David is a blogger? you ask in amazement. Why have we never heard of this phenomenom before? The answer is that, although he professes to be the owner of three such sites, he has as yet only written one post for one blog. Sad, but true. Although, this very moment as we speak my DH (that's blog talk for "Dear Husband") (I don't know any of the other shorthand initials so don't be so impressed) (I learned that from my friend, Shifra from reading it on her blog and asking her what it meant) (I should get back to the original subject), my DH is right now writing his second ever blog post.

Okay, now back to the original original topic. David left work and hopped on a #35 bus while I walked a long, hot way down Shmuel Hanavi Street and picked up the #11 (which had no air conditioning even though it was 87ยบ). We ended up getting to the same bus stop on Kanfei Nesharim within two minutes of each other! From there we walked the few blocks to the convention. David's name was not on the registration list even though I had emailed back to the person who confirmed my registration that he also wanted to come. After a lot of hemming and hawing, and having the person in charge tell us that registration was closed and there really wasn't any room, etc., etc., we just stood our ground and very politely reiterated that we had come a long way in the traffic and were both interested in participating, etc., etc. We've come a long way, baby! We felt like true Israelis when they conceded that they could probably fit one more person.

The convention was amazing! You can see the video on the Nefesh website: www.nefeshbnefesh.org and then click on the blogger convention on the right side. I had a private interview at about 9 1/2 minutes into the video. {Please note that the screen is wide, so objects are much smaller than they appear} Once the video starts playing, DO NOT move your cursor or you'll lose the picture (at least that's what happened to me). If you lose the picture, minimize the screen and then open again. Jacob Richman, who takes lots of pictures at Nefesh events, has posted pictures at of the event at:

http://www.jr.co.il/pictures/israel/jerusalem/2008/jer173.htm

We're in pictures 2024, 2030, 2032, 2064, and 2068. (I'm typing this post in something called ScribeFire and I have no idea how to use it, so the font and font size keeps changing on me.)

I'm writing this now on erev Shabbos and I can't even think straight any more. I'm running a fever and I don't feel so hot (actually, I feel very hot); we had to disinvite Miryam and Shaya for Shabbos. But we were sharing the cooking, so I've still had to make my stuff and David will take their share over before candle-lighting and get our share of what they cooked. David is in the kitchen now making the curry chicken - Yudit at work gave me this very easy recipe and we made it a few weeks ago - so yummy! And so easy! David was going to BBQ chicken for tomorrow's lunch, but we decided to just make all the chicken the same in the interest of simplicity. I feel bad that he's working so hard on his only day off (besides Shabbat), but I'm thankful that he's doing it.

There's SO much more to tell you about the convention, but more importantly, about the talk we heard by Pinchas Winston the night before. It's imperative that I pass on that information, but unfortunately my popsicle is melting all over me and it's difficult typing with one hand so it will have to wait until after Shabbat. May you all be blessed with Shabbos joy and rest (and mahj, if you get a chance!).