Thursday, March 31, 2005

Can’t write

Just can’t.

I did my workshop.

30 women.

Very positive feedback.

Hopeful job opportunities.

But can’t write.

Afraid of what I might say ---




Our landlord came over tonight and in very bad hebrew we asked to extend our lease one more year.

Poor guy - he wants to sell so badly.

We ARE NOT buying this house!

But we are renting ONE MORE YEAR.

The saga continues...

Monday, March 28, 2005


Since I am not allowed to write details anymore I have succumbed to online voice therapy!!!


That's code for, "Argh!"


BTW, if today is March 28, then it is the birthday of my prom date/star of Ms. Saigon from years gone by. Happy Birthday Matthew - from Israel to Hawaii!

Family Meeting

We sat down with the three "big kids" last night - ELY had passed out on the couch, so she was there physically - to talk about what was going on in our family today.

WE tried to explain a little about money and how savings and banks work. We tried to explain how we really want what's best for our family.

We tried to tell them that we know they are happy here and do not want to move, but house prices are way above our spending limit here.

We tried to explain how, if we stayed here, we would not be able to live like alot of their friends live - with trips to the states all the time, fancy vacations, lots of clothes, etc.

WE tried to make it clear that we thought they were great kids and they have trusted us up until now to make the right decisions for them, and we would continue to trry to do so.

I think our words were received well (except for maybe NED who just wanted it to end so she could go to her sleep-over!!)

I wanted to be open and honest with the kids. No secrets. If the unknown and anxiety was killing me, I could only assume they were feeling it also.

It's a frustrating process. I worry and need to know what is happening more than Ari. We deal with situations completely differently. (I won't say anymore than that for here and now...)

I really want and NEED this phase to end soon!

Friday, March 25, 2005

Grumpy and still going…

I get grumpy and moody when I don’t get my way.

I get angry and feel unappreciated.

My kids just drop and go. Ever heard of that phenomenon?

“Drop and Go”

It’s the big kids version of “Seek and Destroy”, the common phenomenon of 1-2 year olds.

But I don’t have little kids anymore. Except for Ely who thinks she’s a big kid (until she needs me to wipe her tushy), I have teenagers who drop whatever they had in their hands wherever they are and go. Go onto the next thing or walk out the door or forget what they were doing or just don’t care.

I pick up shoes 20 times a day and put them on the steps. I pick up ponytail holders and socks and peices of paper that no one else seems to see - even though they are stepping over them or even ON them!

I’ve been in the kitchen all day cooking and baking. I have asked my children (the girls only, because DB only came home tonight after 11 PM) to straighten up the house, clear off the table so we can set it, put their things away.

When I came out of the kitchen, what do you think I saw? Everything! Everything exactly where they had left it – half a table cleared off, stuff all over the house, their backpacks sitting on the steps even though they walked up the steps ten times today.

As you can probably tell, I’m frustrated and tired and feeling unappreciated and taken for granted.

I’m anxious about my workshop next week and haven’t had much time to get my thoughts together. I’ve been reading my old notes and textbooks. I know I used to know this stuff, it’s just been so long. I don’t want to make a fool out of myself and I don’t want to embarrass the organization. Anxiety!

So when I need everyone else to be organized and put together and clean (and perfect) for me because I can’t seem to get it together myself, I get angry. I’m angry at me, but I take it out on them!

IMPORTANT NOTE: I really have great kids. I work them like crazy. When their friends are out riding their bikes on Friday, my kids are helping me get ready for Shabbat.

So I really can’t complain.

I just need to tonight.

Blah blah blah – OK?

Full plate, but that’s always been my life –

Shabbat Shalom and Purim Sameach!

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Purim is in the air

The Jewish holiday of Purim is in full swing here in the Holy Land.

I just came from the supermarket where people are buying gifts of food, baskets to put the food in and cellophane and ribbon to tie it all up. Wine is on sale, every size and shape of bottle. Costumes galore adorn every shop and hamantashen (triangle shaped cookies filled with fruit or nuts) are the hottest sale.

This year I have decided, due to lack of funds and a crazy week before and after the holiday, to keep my mashloach manot (gifts for the meal) very simple. I am making a potato kugel and delivering it to two friends with a bottle of wine. That’s it! No themed bags or junk to fill a basket. I attended a class where we learned that mishloach manot is supposed to be two different kinds of food (not necessarily two brochot) and they should be used for the seudah(festive meal). Simple, and useful. My favorite way!

Our family costumes are taken care of – although I think DB is too cool this year to dress up. Ely has a princess costume I bought in the States around Halloween. NED is going to be an American Snob (I can’t wait to see what THAT looks like!), MB is Minnie Mouse and for Ari I bought a blow up maid costume. I usually put on a crazy wig and hat. All in good fun…

We will be having two families for the seudah on Friday. All of our last years’ attendees took other offers, because we didn’t invite them soon enough. The best were our Purim meals in Boston! We are still making our way here.

Purim is a fun time for children and men. For women, it’s a spectator holiday. But that’s okay with me. I get to cook and have guests (not to mention eat!). And I enjoy watching my children have a good time.

If I don’t write again until then,

Happy Purim to all.

Shai's funeral

The following is a copy of the email I sent to about 30 family and friends in the States after the funeral yesterday. It was just easier for me to copy it here than to rewrite the whole experience.

D is my second cousin. Her grandmother, whom I am named for, and my grandfather were brother and sister. She married Shai 9 years ago and had triplets a little over 3 years ago.

I was only introduced to D at NED's Bat Mitzvah 4 months ago and in many ways I feel as if I have known her my whole life. I am so excited to have more family here in Israel!!

Here's the letter and I promise to move away from the death topic...soon.

Once again, Hello family and friends:
I had not intended to write again so soon, but D has asked me to write about today and the goings on over the last several days.

Today was the very sad and tragic funeral of Shai ben Uri V’Batsheva, husband of our very strong and brave D.

After I left D with Shai last Thursday, it seems he spiked a fever and needed heavy doses of medication to keep him comfortable. In simple terms he went to sleep and never really woke up. The family was with Shai all Shabbat and D joined them later in the day as she was with the girls. When she arrived at the hospital Shabbat afternoon, Shai was still sleeping. D very beautifully described Shai’s last breath and her thankfulness in being there.

It was decided by the family that the funeral would take place today and shiva would be at Shai’s mother’s home. My husband and I drove to D’s home today at noon. Several other friends came to be with her before we all went to the funeral together. I know D felt loved and supported by us and her friends and I felt much more reassured that there are people who care about her, who live in Israel.

The funeral was very crowded. It was a graveside service with hundreds of people from of all walks of life, from every aspect of Shai’s life. (Unfortunately we forgot our camera, so I am not able to send any pictures! So sorry!) D spoke in English from her heart. She spoke beautifully about her life with Shai and the memories she will carry with her. Several others spoke in Hebrew – the mayor of Kfar Saba, and two childhood friends of Shai’s. You might be interested to know that the IDF Chief of Staff Lt. General Moshe Ya’alon was standing right in front of Ari and I. (And was surrounded by security guards, who were very serious looking!) His presence was to honor the sacrifices the family men have made to the Land of Israel.

My heart went out to Uri, Shai’s father, when he said the kaddish (memorial prayer). As complicated as the family dynamics are for D, the loss Shai’s family has endured is beyond what any family should have to face. I hope Shai’s family does not negate, though, the horrible loss this has been for D and her girls as well!

D brought the girls to the funeral. For the most part they were not a problem. D has several friends and family members from Shai’s family who the girls know and are willing to go to. Of course they were very clingy to D, but she juggled them like a pro!

After the funeral ended, I was sitting with one of the triplets on a bench. I’m not sure if someone asked her, but I heard her tell someone, “Abba leych l’shamayim” (Daddy went to heaven). D has been very open with her daughters. She gives them only as much as they ask or need to know. They are extremely loved and loving by and towards D. D was very clear that she would attend the shiva at Shai’s mother, but would leave to pick up the girls from gan at 3:30 and bring them back to the shiva house. She would then leave again at 7:30-8 to go home and put the girls to sleep. D very much wants and needs to keep the girls on a schedule.

After this week of shiva is over, the reality will begin to sink in for her and she will certainly need her family around her.

She thanks everyone for their love and apologizes if she is not able to call or speak to you right away.

I hope this helps you to feel connected here. I will continue to keep you updated as needed.

May we meet at celebrations!

Cousin Sarahb

Over 7000...

...and still counting!
Thank you Thank you Thank you

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Death Happened…

I was feeling guilty all Shabbat for not calling and checking in with my cousin before Shabbat. I was distracted with all of my company and preparations and never called.

Tonight, about 2 hours after Shabbat ended, I received the phone call. My cousin called to tell me that her husband had passed away at 6 PM after falling into a coma Thursday.

Baruch Dayan HaEmet. Blessed is the True Judge.

When I left her on Thursday she said to me that she hoped he wouldn’t have to suffer long. And I guess he didn’t. He had fever on Thursday night, and with the help of medication he went to sleep, never to wake up again.

I had explained to my cousin on Thursday what death usually looked like. I told her what I remembered from my Grandma’s death – the final breath, the final burst of life before laying back down and going to sleep forever.

My cousin told me tonight that she is so glad I told her about that. She said that her husband took his final breath, she witnessed it, and it was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen.

She is a strong woman. Much more than I.

MB said she hates when she is saying tehillim (psalms) for sick people and then she doesn’t have to say them anymore. I assured her that it wasn’t that her prayers didn’t work. We knew he wasn’t going to live. I explained that her prayers helped him not to suffer – which he didn’t.

ELY wanted to know if there is food when you get to shamayim (heaven), and when he was coming back to see his girls. It’s harder to explain to a 5 year old. I don’t want her to be afraid.

So tomorrow I go to spend the day with my cousin. She has asked me to be with her before the funeral. I don’t know if I have the strength. Emotionally and mentally, I’m exhausted.

With Purim this week, my presentation next week, DB’s unhappiness in school, NED’s unhappiness in school and our not knowing where we are going to live in 3 months—I’m not sure how I’m going to do it.

But I guess I will.

I will have to.

I will find the strength and somehow make it all happen.

I will have to trust that everything will work out.

In between the tears…

Death happens and life goes on.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Watching death happen

I just came from the hospice unit near Tel Aviv. I went today because my cousin asked me to come. She asked me to bring her some lunch and to be with her while her husband, Shai’s family was at a memorial service all day for Shai’s deceased brother, Dror.

The hospital is not far from my home. I should go be with her more often.

It is a beautiful building. Lots of light and air. Clean rooms and from what I could tell today, the staff was attentive and gentle.

My cousin is strong. She is very open about her husband dying. She speaks of it, wants to understand what will happen next, is planning for her future. She has three-year-old triplets who she is trying to help through this as well. They are not sleeping at night, so neither is she.

There is not much anyone can do. I can make meals for her and I can keep her company at the hospital. She very much wants to keep her girls on a schedule and be with them at home, rather than at the hospital all day.

Watching death. As I watched Shai breathe today I was reminded of my Grandmother’s final hours. Although Shai was in and out of awake ness today, when he slept (which was most of the morning) his breathing was very labored. I remember Grama, puttering her lips, trying to breathe.

When Shai was awake, he would smile. His words were barely audible. His cousin came to visit and gave him a shave. Diana fed him a couple spoonfuls of yogurt.

The body just stops functioning.

Just so sad.

So sad…

Watching death happen.

Please pray -- Shai ben Batsheva.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Today is Tuesday.
Today is my paternal grandparents' 70th wedding anniversary.
70 years with the same person.

I can't even imagine.
The tension is so thick here.
Every day feels like 70 years
Ok, so I exaggerate a little -- a little

Is this the aliyah blues everyone told us about?
The one that hits in the second year?

I'm having a hard time holding it all together.
I went over to my Israeli neighbor to try to tell him to come fix the bathtub he never finished repairing. I spoke to the wife. When she asked if we were buying or building, I broke down.
So embarrassing! The tears just came - to an almost perfect stranger (We don't communicate much. You know, the language thing.)

Another day gone by and no decision...
I have to hold it together.

I did laundry today.
I sewed a hole in a skirt, a pair of socks and a button on DB's pants.

I explained to NED that I am not screaming at her when I ask her for the third time to put the laundry away.

I say “NO” to MB who wants to cut her skirt shorter so she can hike easier in it.

I give ELY back her Polly Pocket after I had to take it away from her for not agreeing to clean it up yesterday.

And DB? He just came home after a two-day tiyul (hike). He doesn’t want to go back to school when he’s supposed to tomorrow.

I am the meanest mom on the block!

Made some phone calls about potential work. Sent out another resume. That’s something positive, right?

Will tomorrow be the day we make a decision?

Another day.

Another day.

Another day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

It's only the beginning

I'm not a political person.
Most of politics I don't understand.
But this I understand:
(taken from Arutz Sheva)

“The precision and organization of the more than a hundred people who took part in this was incredible,” one participant told Arutz-7. “We were in the street for about 30 minutes before any police or press even arrived.”

The protester, a non-observant Jew, said that he was alarmed at the fact that news photographers and cameramen refused to take pictures of him because he was not wearing a kippah (skull cap), focusing instead on protesters who were visibly religious. “I think the aspect of this protest most obscured by the media is that it crossed boundaries. Even drivers, stuck in traffic, got out of their car and bodily protected protesters from police brutality.”

The protesters were disciplined and didn’t lose their cool, he said. “There was not a shred of violence on the part of the protesters, who had agreed amongst themselves in advance to disburse once the police arrived.”

I know where this happened, it's not far from my home. I'm glad I was not in the backup, but would have supported it if I were!

What is going to happen to our Jewish home?

Does it really matter where we will be living in another 10 years? Will it even last that long?

I believe in the chosen people and the chosen land. But I am afraid...

My home cannot be given away.

P.S. With all the things on my mind these days, this is the least of them. But I was reading Arutz Sheva, and since everything else in my life just weighs too heavily to write about, this was the easiest. Everything feels heavy these days...

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Shabbat in review

I was not in the mood this week. I did not want to cook and I did not want company.

I did both!

Seven seminary girls plus one of MB’s friends from school.

I made them all eat elsewhere Friday night as we were invited out for the meal.

Shabbat allows us to visit with friends and people we would otherwise not make the time to see. We share a meal or two with them and talk about our lives and commonalities.

Friday night we ate by a family who made aliyah 6 months after us – in the middle of the school year. They brought their son, an instant friend for DB. For that we are very thankful!

I found myself full of envy, though. This family came after us, and not only is the wife already working, but they bought, built and have moved into a beautiful new home on the yishuv. How come some people can figure out what they want, make the decision and just do it? And others of us are still stuck not knowing? It left me feeling very frustrated. Her kitchen was spacious and gorgeous! They are settled and comfortable.

What’s wrong with us?

I digress…

On the walk back home after dinner, Ari stopped at a Shalom Zochar (A Friday night celebration when a new baby boy is born.) I was too tired, and just wanted to be home in my cluttered, disorganized, tiny kitchened house---to pout. So I pulled my anti-social self and brought ELY home. And for the first time I fell asleep on a Friday night before my kids came home.
I awoke Saturday morning with a headache that did not leave me all day. Even my kids were telling me to smile. I just wanted to be in bed – NOT playing hostess. But play hostess I did.

MB took ELY to a friend’s house after lunch and I slept for two hours. I did not want to get up, but dragged myself out of bed and once again served the third Shabbat meal. More food and more hostessing…

For the first time in a long time I was relieved for Shabbat to be over.

Next week will be more girls. I hope I am more in the mood and headache free. What are these headaches about? I wonder…

Back to life this week. Gosh, I hope we can make a decision we are happy with. I am so afraid of upsetting my kids if we have to move. They are happy here, but we just can’t afford to stay. And if there is a better school for DB in another area, then we need to move. Ugh!

Shavuah Tov. I hope YOUR week is happy!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005


Up and Down

In and Out

Around and Around


In and Out

Going and Coming Back

Around and Around

Safe and Sound

My feelings and Your feelings

Pain and Anger

Hate and Disgust

Hurt and Tears

Happy and Sad

Confused and Unknown


Confused and Unknown…


Pain of the unknown

And Love.

yes, Love.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Abba has landed...

...a day early!

Due, thankfully, to canceled meetings on Monday, Ari was able to fly home Sunday night.

And with no complaints from his family!

Ely is happy because Abba brought back a new Polly Pocket with a car.

NED is happy because he brought back 2 new shirts from Old Navy and a sweatshirt from the Baseball Hall of Fame.

MB is happy because Abba brought back Oreo cookies and a sweatshirt from the Baseball Hall of Fame.

DB will be happy because Abba brought back a whole bunch of Red Sox and Patriots paraphenelia and a new pair of basketball shorts.

And I'm happy because my husband is home!!

I look forward to Shabbat when we will be together (with 5 other seminary girls) as a family!

Thank you, G-d, for sending my husband home safely to me.

Now go make it a happy day...

Monday, March 07, 2005

Six months of blog writing

I looked back to see when I wrote my first blog post and saw that it was September 6, 2004.

Today is an anniversary of sorts.

And to celebrate, I cleaned out and reorganized my sock and underwear drawer!

No joke! A good friend and fellow olah (immigrant) called me this morning to “kvetch” about her inability to get organized. She knew I would understand, and although I couldn’t offer much advice, I could commiserate!

We kvetched about all those other “perfect” moms and homemakers out there that we hate! OK - not HATE really, but are very jealous of.

Why is it that some women can just get up after they eat dinner, wash the dishes, put them away, clean off the table and still be smiling? Why is it so much easier for some women, and for others, like my friend and myself, it’s so difficult. We feel bad that we can’t teach our kids the tools. Our rooms are a messy and cluttered and so we can’t get angry with our children for their messy rooms.

My friend and I decided it couldn’t be how we were raised, because I grew up with a very organized perfectionist mother and she grew up with a cluttered packrat.

It’s not like we are both working full time and don’t have the time or energy, either.

Is it because we’re lazy? Don’t care? Can’t be bothered? Have other priorities? Or because we just don’t know how?

Last week I went to the grocery store on Sunday and on Wednesday, the groceries were still sitting in the hallway in the bags. Isn’t something wrong with that?

It’s very frustrating and at times deeply embarrassing.

I can put together 6 meals for 24 people a meal (our Sukkot guest list count last year), I can organize great parties too, but I can’t keep the cabinets in my pantry or my counter tops or bookshelves from getting cluttered and disorganized.

So I decided, in my friend’s honor, and honestly because I couldn’t find the brown hat I wanted to wear today, to organize my sock and underwear drawer. And if I get nothing else done all day, I will feel accomplished because my drawers look awesome! (But the brown hat is still missing!?)

And now because I have been writing publicly for 6 months I can share with you something personal like that…

Go me!

But HELP!!!! I'm drowning in clutter....

Friday, March 04, 2005

For the record...

...I miss my husband!

Should Be

I know I SHOULD BE....looking for a job. (Although I did update my resume and send it out to one potential employer yesterday! Go ME!)

I know I SHOULD BE....exercising.

I know I SHOULD BE....losing weight by eating properly.

I know I SHOULD my house or organizing a shelf somewhere.

I know I SHOULD BE....preparing for my workshop I'm giving in 3 weeks.

I know I SHOULD BE....doing a myriad of other more accomplished things.

INSTEAD I chose to spend my day having brunch with a valued friend and getting the best manicure yet, in Israel (I might, of course, have to give up buying and eating chocolate in order to afford a weekly manicure, though!)

As Mom always says, "We all make choices."

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Over 6100 reads...

...And the sun is shining warm and bright. It's a glorious day outside!

Not everything in the world is bad!!!

A Sweet Ely Moment

I was driving Ely to gan this morning and thinking/worrying, as I do every morning (noon and night), about where we are going to be living in 4 months. I passed two new olim out for their morning exercise walk (which I should be doing), saw the way they were dressed, thought about what very wonderful people I have found them to be, then thought even more about where we fit in as a family here.

I passed the lot of land that is for sale and thought, ”Should we just do it? Maybe I could sell some of the expensive jewelry Ari has bought me over the years that I don’t wear anymore. Maybe there just isn’t that “perfect” place and our kids are so happy. Why mess with a good thing? I’ll just have to readjust my thinking and expectations?”

I think and I think. I get upset. I think about eating chocolate. And I think some more. My body aches all the time now and every time I turn my head it sounds like there are rocks in the back of my neck. Don’t know how much longer I can take this unknowing…

This all happens, you should know, in a period of about 3 minutes! As I pull into the parking lot of Ely’s gan, I snap out of my thoughts and wish her a fun day. She unstraps herself from her seatbelt, opens the door herself, and climbs out of the car. I open my door so she can give me a kiss and she runs through the gate of the gan. She is so cute today. She looks like a little girl today – no more baby. “I look pretty today, don’t I Imma?” “You look pretty everyday, Ely” I reassure her.

As Ely runs in, she turns and waves and yells out, “Bye Imma” with the biggest sweetest smile a mother who is trying to hold it together can bear! I smile and am thankful for my little girl! Such sweet innocence in a world of doubts and unknowns.

I am thankful!

Now, to get on with my day….

Hopefully without any chocolate

My frustrating day

Ready for this?

10:00 am – Met with MB’s principal to discuss MB and changes we would like to see in the school. For the most part we a very happy with her education there. We would like to see a little bit more “torani” (religious) flavor added to the curriculum. The principal is very professional and was totally open to hearing my ideas. The best part is that she spoke English!!

10:45 am – I was supposed to be meeting a friend at a coffee shop in Bet Shemesh, but realize I forgot my cell phone at home. I race home, pick up the cell phone, which I left on my bed, and raced back to Bet Shemesh (50 minutes roundtrip). AGGRAVATING!

11:35 am – I meet with my new friend whom I met through NEFESH. She wants to pick my brain about stuff going on in her personal life. Why me? I think she was an angel sent from G-d. It was like speaking to a mirror. I've struggled through some – but not all – of what she is going through. My experience can help her, but not fix it. She thanks me and we part ways.

12:45 pm – I call my friend in Ramat Bet Shemesh, she’s about to do carpool. So I can’t go hang out with her. I call my other friend in Bet Shemesh. She’s home. I pop over for a hug and a quick catch-up on our lives.

1:30 pm - I drive into Jerusalem. My meeting doesn’t start until 5 pm. What am I going to do until then? I could go to the kotel, which is probably what I should have done! Instead, I park in my favorite parking garage near Machene Yehuda (they raised their price to 6 NIS/hour from 5 NIS/hour!). I climb the steps out of the parking garage and start to walk towards King George Street. Where am I going? Not meeting anyone. Nothing really to do. Maybe I need a new brown hat? Maybe I need a new purse? Maybe I need a new skirt? I walk into one store and then another. I find nothing. And I begin to get depressed over having to walk around alone. With nothing to do. I mosey down to my favorite restaurant in Jerusalem – Village Green - and spend way too much money on a late lunch/early dinner for myself. YUM! I wish I could eat that healthy all the time! I wish someone would cook healthy for me all the time. I wouldn’t need chocolate if I had healthy food like that around me all the time. I think about getting a job cooking there. It was just a thought. As I am sitting outside the restaurant all alone – purposely facing away from the foot traffic on the street – Ari calls me from snowy/blizzarding Upstate New York. He keeps me company as I eat, and I feel better.

Two things happened while in the city that really bothered me. First as I was trying to make a u-turn to pull in to the parking lot, the guy behind me got so impatient he pulled out in front of me and cut me off. I honked. I honked more. I was so upset by his impatience and total chutzpah! I wanted to say so many things to him and if I would’ve had the language, I would have stopped my car, gotten out and said them! I don’t get the mentality that everyone else has somewhere to be before me?! FRUSTRATED!

The second thing that happened was a beggar looking for money stopped me on the street when I was on the phone with MB giving her directions of what to make for dinner. He stood there waiting for me to finish and when I gave him one of the dollars someone gave me in the states to give to charity, he asked for more. I hate when they do that!

As I walked to my car, a woman walking towards me stopped at a newly blooming tree and smelled the blossoms. For some reason, that made me smile.

5:15 pm – I am late for my meeting, but they are late in getting started. The meeting was called for local rabbis, educators, and mental health providers to begin a taskforce addressing the unfortunate situation of “in-risk” (they are no loner at-risk, they are IN it!) teens. Because I am on the NEFESH planning committee here, I was invited to attend. I knew there would be a lot of Hebrew, but I was told to come anyhow, someone would translate.

HELPLESS AND STUPID AND EMBARRASSED is how I would describe the experience! I sat in that conference room with very experienced and professional people. Not only could I not follow the conversation, but I could not even add what I know would have been worthwhile comments and ideas. I know kids! I know what’s in their guts. I could really be helpful, but I can’t speak or understand the damn language! When I finally decided to add something, the woman sitting next to me said, “Yeah, that’s what the Rabbi said before.” Uugghhh!

In the middle of the meeting an irate woman came into the conference room asking whose car was blocking her car in the parking lot. When I said it was mine, she began screaming at me, and I couldn’t even defend myself. I couldn’t get the words out. HUMILIATED in front of all those “big people”.

Needless to say, I am feeling pretty yucky tonight. The good news is that there was a message on my voice mail that my fabulous ulpan teacher from ulpan aleph is starting an ulpan bet class next week. The hours stink (5 – 8 pm) but it’s only two nights a week. I guess it is a sign! I have to learn Hebrew!

I stayed up late tonight because I was supposed to get a call from an old NCSYer who is finally getting married and asked me to learn the laws of family purity with her over the phone. She was supposed to call an hour and a half ago. I don’t have her number. I had a feeling she wouldn’t call.

It just wasn’t my favorite day.

Thankfully, I came home to my girls’ hugs and snuggles. I miss not having male energy in the house! It really is something missing. As woman, though, we are a strong group!

Here I am – venting, big time!

I have eaten my ice cream – time for sleep.

P.S. Happy Birthday to my Mommy (yesterday)! I appreciate you!

P.P.S. Thank you for the help with learning how to get emails from my comment box. Totally cool!

P.P.P.S. Anonymous, I am not offended by your comments. I appreciate your candidness and honesty about the whole topic. Don’t sweat it!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Anonymous makes a point

I have been thinking a lot about the issue of shopping in America and bringing suitcases full of seemingly “needed” items back to Israel.

Then I received a comment from someone named “Anonymous” on my post about packing anxiety. My first reaction was to get offended by this stranger suggesting how I should change. But then I realized that he or she has really just validated what has been going through my head the last few days.

In fact, I shared these thoughts with a fellow olah (immigrant) today when she called and first apologized for asking if she could ship a pair of sneakers to wherever Ari will be so he can bring them back to Israel for her son.

This is what I shared with her:

First, I have to admit part of this comes from a simple and innocent comment my brother made while we were in the states together. Brother Matt, who also lives here in Israel with his wife and 6 kids, made a comment about whether bringing presents back to Israel for his kids was good chinnuch (education). I told him that of course he should bring things back- as souvenirs from his visit and to show his kids that he thought about them while he was away. His simple comment was, “Do I want them to think, ‘Everything is better in America?’”

That comment got me thinking. And as I continued to unpack today, all the stuff I brought back for my kids, I suddenly realized that maybe he was right. What lesson was I teaching my children?

Until now I have said that even though I can buy Hellmann’s mayonnaise in Israel, it costs three times the price, and if Ari is going back to the states for work once a month, why not have him bring me back some? The same goes for rice vinegar, corn syrup, and Duncan Hines cake mixes. He’s going anyhow; why not bring me back rice and barley that I don’t have to check for bugs? These are conveniences that make life here a little easier.

On the other hand, Anonymous is right. I don’t have to bring back cereals that my kids can do without. They can get used to eating what is here. And I don’t have to get stressed out when I’m there! (Not that I’m planning on going back anytime too soon.) Why do I have to bring back American products that they can really live without?!

I admit that it is a little harder when their father is traveling back and forth every month. It’s a challenge not to make them feel like they are missing out on something there. By making HERE more exciting, they will begin to forget about what was there.

As olim (immigrants) we have to be very careful about the messages we give our children. This issue is so subtle, yet so important if we want our aliyah to be successful. We cannot continue to make the children feel that things are better in America.

Thank you, Anonymous, for helping me get this out of my stuck place. It’s one of the things that has been bothering me since I got back…

By the way,
I wouldn’t have even seen this comment if I hadn’t been procrastinating what I needed to be doing today. I just happened to notice that I had an additional comment on a post I wrote a couple of days ago. So I have a request for all you expert bloggers out there. Is there a way for me to know if I have received a comment without having to go through each post and remember how many comments I had the last time I looked at them? I love blogging for the writing, but I am otherwise computer illiterate! Any help would be appreciated!