The first six months of a baby’s life are marked with milestone after milestone, challenge after challenge, discovery after discovery. Within the first few months, a baby will coo, cry, learn to hold her head up without support. She will make eye contact and learn to focus. She’ll discover her fingers and feet and toes. Soon, at around four months or so, the baby will start to crawl. She’ll wander around on all fours curiously and mischievously explore her surroundings. She’ll bump into things, she’ll fall, she’ll laugh, she’ll cry.
Our first six months here in Israel, marked this past Wednesday, has been very much like that of a newborn. When we embarked on this ‘adventure,’ we did so with enthusiasm, excitement, and trepidation. We’ve had our share of trials and tribulations, our successes and failures. We’ve experienced the wonder and joy of aliyah like when we landed and were greeted with such warmth and excitement from family. And we’ve felt the frustrations that go along with aliyah, like the longing for family and friends. We’ve had those moments when we’ve achieved or learned something new, like, feeling comfortable buying our bus tickets, or mastering shopping in the supermarket. We’ve focused on Ulpan, school, work. We’ve discovered anew, characteristics of ourselves we didn’t know we had. We’ve embarked on new adventures like purchasing a home, the Israeli way, speaking in Hebrew in front of the class. We’ve fallen and gotten up. These months have been quite a whirlwind of activity.
The Melava Malka we had with Meyer and Tova’s cousins was great fun…good food and company. Tova and Gary enjoyed a wonderful visit here with us, but unfortunately, the weather was less than cooperative. Downpours of rain, wind and cold. But they enjoyed nevertheless. Meyer enjoyed a (rainy) day of touring with them to Kever Rachel and southern wall excavations, and Eitan and Josh really enjoyed seeing each other. Last Shabbat we had a Kiddush here for Tova and invited a neighbor down the street who went to high school here in Israel with Tova. It was great seeing them reminisce about their high school experiences and it was fun for us to see their pictures…oh, those 70’s Israeli clothes. So funny. Well fun came to an end, as Tova and family left last Saturday night. We really miss them.
The past week was relatively uneventful and was a little sad for me. Today is my father’s Yahrtzeit, and last Friday was the English anniversary date. It never gets better. Time doesn’t heal. My father died on a Friday also, so this year, I’m feeling a double whammy. And not being in NY to visit his grave, even though I went the day before our aliyah, and though NY is covered in snow and I probably wouldn’t have gone today anyway, it still pains me that I can’t be by his grave. I’ve had the comfort of Meyer, and my mom and sister. We’ve spent a lot of phone time recalling the memories, recalling the great man he was, a man so full of life. I miss his big bear hugs, his smile and his laugh. We share this Yahrtzeit with our cousins here in Israel whose mother, my father’s sister, died a number of years after him, but on the same date. They were close in life so it was only fitting that they share the same Yahrtzeit. It’s comforting in some respect. I spoke to my cousins today and they know how I feel. We share the longing and can comfort each other. I miss my Daddy so very much.
Anyway, enough sadness. This past Wednesday, I spoke in my Ulpan class in Hebrew of course, about the trip I took with my mother and sister seven years ago to Lithuania and Poland, tracing my mother’s roots. Telling this story over in English I can do, but in Hebrew, well, that was a tremendous challenge which required hours of preparation. I spoke with my aunt from Pittsburgh when she was here, spoke of course in length with mom, read the diary I kept while traveling, and somehow, with Meyer’s help, I was able to put it all together and relay to the class the most amazing, awe inspiring, uplifting, story of courage and determination survival. My grandmother, for whom Michal is named, was the reason we in our family are all here today. I somehow was able to relay to the class her story, and relayed the experiences of our very emotional trip and there weren’t very many dry eyes in the class. I definitely need more practice speaking Hebrew, but it was a learning experience.
We did have some West Hempstead visitors, the Sobins, which of course is always wonderful.
Well, time to sign off now as Shabbat is approaching. Wishing you all a warm Shabbat Shalom. Here, we are having an unseasonably warm week, with temperatures in the 70’s and 80’s. Bliss.
Oh, before I sign off, I don’t know if you all heard of the tragic, senseless, murder this week of a chayal from the shomron. He was murdered by a Palestinian policeman. These are police trained by the EU, in Jordan. Israel removes road blocks on main highways to allow freedom of movement for Palestinian people, and we are deluged with nonsense like this. My hope is that God avenges this chayal’s blood in a clear and succinct way and that He fortifies our leaders ‘sechel’ and fortitude and conviction for what is right.
Shabbat Shalom. Missing you all,