Yom shishi, 27 Sivan 5769.
I'm calling in any markers I have. This is serious.
The Sports Guy (pictured below with his beloved Rav from the Old Country) is down to his very last Gush Katif kipah.
As you can see, the kid is cute, but the kipah is looking just a little bit ratty. It's time for a change.
"Let's go shopping for a few different kipot!" I said cheerfully.
"No thanks, Ema. I like this one." This response is delivered sweetly. No teen "'tude." Who can complain?
The truth is that I started scouring all of the kipah shops in the country as soon as he was down to only one left, because I remember how he was about giving up certain "comfort toys" as a little kid. But I have not been able to find a single Gush Katif kipah (large size, not the little knit doilies -- he doesn't like those either) anywhere in Israel.
"Here, Honey. Here is a kipah your brother gave you, from the IDF. Won't that be a nice occasional substitute, just so I can wash the other one now and then?"
"Sure, Ema. But just until you're done washing it. Thanks!" No soap, pardon the pun.
Now I get a little Ema-'tude on. "Okay, young man. It is very nice that you are comfortable with your 'look.' I've always been proud of you that you kept your peyot when some of the kids your age were making fun of you, and trying to get you to cut them. I like that you wear the kipah you like, even if it isn't like everyone else's. (Besides, I can always find you in a crowd.) But it's getting beat-looking. Couldn't we shop for another nice, big, orange kipah?"
Now he looks a little thoughtful. And my fourteen-year-old gives me a lesson in purpose, and in dedication.
"Ema, it's not about the orange, or that it's kipah serugah. I don't want to stop wearing it until we get it back."
The future peace at Chez Mizrachi may depend on it.
Thanks for listening. And may Sports Guy's determination pay off. May we share the good news of the rebuilt Gush Katif, speedily and in our days.
Gush Katif: a group of Jewish communities begun over 40 years ago on the empty sand dunes of Gaza. In those days, the Arabs welcomed the Jews there, wondering why they would want to build homes on such "godforsaken land." Four years ago, these beautiful communities were destroyed, and the land upon which they were built was made Judenrein.
Peyot: the long (or short) sidelocks worn by many Torah-observant Jews
Kipah serugah: a knitted kipah -- in Israel, very symbolic politically